If you’re in the market to buy a new home, you undoubtedly have a laundry list of features you can’t live without and those you’re willing to cross of your wish list. Whether you have children or not, one item that shouldn’t be overlooked is the school district where the home is located.
According to the 2010 National Association of REALTORS® profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, one quarter of all homebuyers listed school quality and another 19 percent listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase.
Plus, it’s not just the children who will feel the lasting effects of a school’s reputation, as your home’s value will be affected as well. That’s why people are willing to purchase a smaller home in a good school district and give up other amenities for the sake of the children.
Your real estate agent should know basic information about the school district already, but there’s plenty of data available to help you learn more.
Most real estate sites have data on local schools and show ratings from 1-10 on the overall performance (test results) and then give summaries and some parent comments on actual experiences.
There are also plenty of websites—such as greatschools.org and education.com—that let you search and compare school ratings, stats and teacher information to other schools nearby.
According to the National Association of Elementary School Principals, things parents should examine include the school district’s annual report, budget cuts, the school’s discipline policy, services available at the school, the school’s safety policy and whether there’s an active parent organization.
Don’t be afraid to talk to people in the neighborhood or Google the school itself and see what people are writing about it. Maybe the school is planning a massive budget cut or gang violence has broken out. Conversely, the school may have just added an honors program or unique foreign language classes or is known for its high-quality sports teams.
In addition to researching the school on your own, it might be a good idea to set up a time to visit the school and ask to speak with the principal and some of the teachers. Don’t forget to obtain a copy of the curriculum and the student handbook to look over after the meeting.
You can also attend a Parent-Teacher Association meeting to see what problems might be present within the school district and how the association deals with them.
While gathering this type of information may not be feasible for each home you’re interested in, it’s a good way to know if you’re making the right decision before committing to your dream home.
Even for buyers who don’t have school-age children, good schools can ensure consistent demand for properties—and strong prices. When it comes time to sell, you’ll learn that strong school districts are a top priority for many.
To learn more about choosing the home that’s right for you, contact our office today.
Published with permission from RISMedia.