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Why the School District Should Impact Your Home Search

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By Deanna Lawley

school_districtBuying a home in a good school district can result in resale advantages, offer protection from market fluctuation and provide a great education. Real estate experts in markets across the country share what you should know about a school district’s impact on real estate, whether or not you plan on using the school system.

Determine what you’re looking for in a school district
Before you begin your search, determine how you are looking to benefit from the school district.

According to associate broker Aisha J. Thomas, the most important quality of a good school district is unique to every buyer. “Although test scores and statistics are a great starting point, schools require a closer look. Factors to consider are the environment, active parental participation, teacher credentials/support, offering of core competencies, extracurricular and after-school options. These factors can contribute to a well-rounded education.”

“The quality of the school district is one of the first things home buyers evaluate before making a purchase. Many buyers filter their search by only looking for homes in a certain district,” says agent Jake Cain. “Defining what a ‘good’ school district is varies from one family to the next. While we often think of high test scores, some families may be concerned with their budding athlete playing for a top program and others may place a particular premium on student-to-teacher ratio.”

You don’t need to have children to benefit from buying in a top school district.

“A home located in a good school district carries the benefit of maintaining its value in comparison to lower tiered school systems,” says real estate consultant Linda Brincks. “Even if you do not plan to use the school systems yourself, many buyers (especially relocation buyers) will opt for homes in the top notch school systems when it’s time to sell the in the future.”

Consider the resale value potential
When thinking of the area’s long-term potential, the school district should be a top consideration.

Before you invest in an area you should research as much as possible to determine the factors that could affect your resale ability in the future,” says agent Kristie Zimmerman.

“A school district is a very important factor to consider when buying a home even if you don’t have children, because it can have a dramatic effect on the resale value of the property,” says Thomas. “Properties located in good school districts tend to hold value or even increase in value when the rest of the market has stalled.”

“Parents of young children or individuals without children will look for schools in up-and-coming areas, where the influx of buyers could substantially change the schools, due to the increased enrollment and tax base, while the home prices remain on the lower end,” says Thomas.

“A good school district definitely adds to the value of a property whether you have children or not, however in my experience better school districts are usually located in more upscale neighborhoods, says agent Jim Esposito. “They are safer, offer higher appreciation, will hold value better through market fluctuations.”

Buying without children
Even if you don’t plan on using the schools, the school district should still be an important part of your home hunt.

“It is always a better investment to buy into a top school district,” says real estate professional Carol Huston. “In Los Angeles, properties located in high ranking school districts, which is California’s Academic Performance Index, school districts with scores of 9-10+ always sell at a premium.“

“Real estate values are driven by demand,” says Zimmerman. “The end buyer may make their decision to purchase based solely on a school.”

If you don’t plan on using the school district, it still pays to get involved.

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