When searching for a new home, most people consider price, amenities, neighborhood, square footage, and rent in deciding which house to buy. They often forget to add another important aspect of home buying to their research list-school districts. Even if you don’t have school-going children, a school district can impact your standard of living and home value.
What is a School District?
A school district is a special purpose district that operates local public primary and secondary schools in various states.
A good school district will have the following qualities:
- Friendly and capable staff
- New and old teachers
- Student-Centered Values
- Collaborative environment
- High standardized test scores
- After-school programs
How to search for a home in a good school district?
Some of the ways to search for a good school district are:
- Research Online:
Most schools and school districts have informational websites, where you can read about the school and its facilities, as well as school reviews. Websites such as GreatSchools.org, NeighborhoodScout, and the National Center for Education Statistics have compiled ratings of elementary, middle, and high schools in many school districts by zip-code and city-wise.
While searching for a school, keep the following factors in mind:
- School ranking
- Average SAT scores
- College enrollment rates
- Number of school clubs
- Class and district size
- Languages offered
- Student-to-teacher ratio
- Consult your local real estate agent
The local real estate agents have a good understanding of the local school districts and can give an objective opinion/recommendation.
- Talk to other parents
Once you have narrowed down your choices to a couple of school districts, talk to the parent body about their experience to get a general understanding of that school experience.
- Visit the school
Visiting the school will help you get a real picture of the experience. You can finish all your doubts in the meeting and clear out any confusion you have as well.
Why Should You Move to a School District?
There are multiple reasons why you should buy your next home in a school district:
- A good school district is a good neighborhood
The locality will be safe to live in, with multiple places for recreational activities, ease of access to transport facilities, public parks, and close to urban centers.
- Home Value Stability
Property prices can change in value based on macro-volatility, but a good school district can preserve the market value of the house in poor economic conditions as well.
- Higher selling price
Houses in good school districts have a higher demand and are easier to sell. Moreover, even if you don’t move, you are still in a great position to build long-term equity for your home. According to Realtor.com, homes in school districts sell 8 times faster than homes in other districts and take an average of 58 days.
- Good quality education available
Purchasing a house near a high-quality public school may be expensive but it is still cheaper than private schools and boarding schools.
- Low home property taxes
Property taxes are relatively lower in school districts as large businesses and highly-valued properties share the burden of educating children across a large tax base.
However, homes in school districts are relatively more expensive than the national average. They are also larger in size and typical homes in high-scoring districts had 1.5 more rooms than homes in low-scoring ones.
How to get a good deal on a home in a quality school district?
Here are some ways to get a good deal on a home in a good school district:
- Look for areas away from the city center
Districts closer to the city center are more expensive than the ones away from the city center. A study conducted in Massachusetts showed that residents who had a commute of 25 minutes were found to be one grade level above their peers. However, in Sharon, the commute was 38 minutes and the average CGPA was 2.9. Parents who look around in sub-urban areas may find housing in good quality school districts at reasonable prices while maintaining a short commute.
- Look for homes in Off-seasons
You can easily find deals in good school districts in the off-season, as that’s when the least shifting occurs. Look for homes during the school year, preferably in the months between November and February. Homebuyers typically pay the highest premiums in July, August, and September.
According to the NAR 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 25% of home buyers listed school quality and 20% listed proximity to schools as the deciding factors in their home purchase. Therefore, school districts should be on your radar regardless of whether you have kids or not. The right home should be one where you feel comfortable, with a good public school nearby.
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