We had a plastic surgeon come and talk at one of our pre-health meetings recently. Plastic surgeons, like dentistry, still have a lot of sole-owner private practices, and he said something that I hadn't considered much before: When talking about the difficulty in getting business loans fresh out of his fellowship, he encouraged us to do whatever we could to build equity while in school -- owning instead of renting -- so that we would be more likely to get that big business loan right out of school/residency. Has anyone here tried this path? Seems almost impossible, especially if school is downtown. I mean you see all those "get into real estate with no money down" books, but . . . well you know. And if I were to ask my parents for help during my education, would it be unwise to ask for help with a downpayment instead of help with student loans? My impression so far about the whole business loan thing is that, even though they'll finance the whole process, they want to see some cash or equity -- regardless of how much debt you have. All the financial wisdom I've absorbed growing up says 'get out of debt first' so this is an interesting idea to me . . .