Find out what schools service your new home (before you buy it)
Whether you have children or not, researching school districts is a crucial step when buying a new home.
Of all the local neighborhood amenities that can influence a buyer’s decision to purchase a home, proximity to good quality schools is one of the most influential. According to the 2014 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 29% of home buyers listed school quality and 22% listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase. So whether you have kids or not, buying a home in a good school district should be part of your decision making process. Buying a home in a good school district is important for the obvious reason that you want your kids to go the best possible school. If you don’t have kids owning a home in a good school district will be a significant benefit down the road when you decide to sell.
Here are four of the main reasons why the quality of school districts is something that you need to keep in mind when you buy your next home.
Good School District = A Good Neighborhood
A good school district typically equates to a good neighborhood and a good neighborhood tends to be in a good location and when it comes to real estate, the name of the game is location, location, location. A good location usually means safer neighborhoods, more options for dining and entertainment, ease of access to transportation, proximity to urban, beach or vacation areas, and amenities like public parks and services.
Good School District = Home Value Stability
Even in a down market, an excellent school can be the rising tide that lifts all nearby home prices. Living in a good school district can increase your home’s value by over $200,000 according to the Brookings Institution. Homes can go up or down in value based on macro-volatility or local area changes, but a great school district can act as lynchpin for strong values in a given area, and a life preserver when the market is rough.
A Good School District = Higher Selling Price
Investing in real estate carries with it a certain level of risk and never comes with guarantees. While this is true, many would argue that you can minimize some of that risk by buying in a good school district. Plans get altered, situations change, and a move could come sooner than expected, so do everything in your power to make sure you will get a good resale value for your home, and a good school district is one of the best ways to do this. Not only are the values for these homes higher, but these homes tend to take less time to sell when they hit the market. Home buyers should think about resale and building home equity when selecting their new home- even if they do not plan to move in the near future.
A Good School District = The Best Education for Kids
Last but certainly not least are the benefits of a good school district for parents planning to have or who already have school-age children. This is the most obvious reason to buy a home in a good school district; to ensure your kids get the best possible education. For many young couples who have a young child or are planning to have them there is often times a struggle between getting a home that meets their expectations and also providing a quality school system for their family. There are often tough choices that are made because young couples purchasing homes can see a dramatic difference in what their money can buy between a community that has top rated schools vs one that does not. Everybody is different when it comes to schools and the home buying process. Just make sure you give it a considerable amount of thought before ultimately making your final decision.
National Center for Education Statistics
Publishes information on all levels of education, from preschool to graduate school. Read more
A listing of private companies in the U.S. that provide reports on school districts is available on the Open Directory Project. Read More
State and local sources
Many states and local areas also make their school district info available online. Websites of the state departments of education are a good start, along with those of local newspapers. For example:
- GreatSchools: Your community resource to find and share information about schools.
- School Digger: Ranks schools on a 5-star system, and also shows rankings by test scores.
- Education.com: Learn about public and private preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools.
- Private School Review: Learn about private schools, find schools, get admissions tips, and financial aid help.