By Satinder Haer
As you’re house hunting, there are so many factors to simultaneously consider: price, layout, size and condition of the home, just to name a few. In the midst of trying to view and compare different properties against each of these factors, carving out additional time to consider the proximity and quality of local school districts can seem overwhelming. But, taking the time to factor school districts into your home purchase might be more important than you think, even if you don’t have children.
Consider these key reasons to take into account the quality of neighboring school districts as you plan your home purchase.
School ratings impact the price of local home values. Buyers who plan to, or already have kids often use school ratings as a driving criteria in their home searches. Parents are usually willing to spend more on a house to send their children to excellent schools, which drives up the price of homes near public schools with high ratings. Whether you have children or not, buying a home in a neighborhood that feeds into a school with quality ratings costs you more.
The good news about buying in a well-rated school district is your home’s value may be protected from real estate downturns. While the sticker price is usually higher on homes in neighborhoods with quality schools, those homes tend to retain their value. There are no guarantees in the real estate market but families tend to flock toward homes in the best schools districts they can afford, which drives listing prices higher. And if home values are on an upswing, high-rated schools can be the factor that further lifts home prices in the area.
The most obvious reason to factor school ratings into your home purchase is the quality of education your children can receive. It is possible, but usually difficult, to send your kids to a public school other than the one that your housing zone automatically designates. If you want to avoid the application process to get your child admitted into a different school or district, focus your house hunt around the schools you want them to attend. Zoning information should be available at the local school districts’ office or website and your real estate agent may know if they work a lot with families. Use zoning to find homes in neighborhoods that feed into quality schools and meet your other housing must-haves.
As you consider the best location to buy a home, do some research online. School zoning impacts both the quality of education that your children receives, if you have any, and can determine whether or not a home is a smart financial investment. Don’t buy a home in a highly-rated school district if it doesn’t make sense for your budget, but do give the rating of local school districts fair consideration throughout your house hunt.