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What do garages, updated kitchens, and yard space have in common? None of them are as important to homebuyers as the school district a home is located in, according to research.

While we’re still a few months away from the start of a new school year, for real estate consumers, the time to list or look for a home is now. In a housing market as competitive as the current one, access to accurate school zone data may just be the edge that real estate professionals need.

To learn more about the advantages that school zone information offers, we spoke to Mike Sandoval, professional development manager at Valley MLS in northern Alabama. He shared how their members are leveraging school data in their day-to-day work.

The School Zone Advantage
Valley MLS has access to comprehensive school zone information through their public records/tax data provider.

“Our licensees like it simply because they’re able to get not only public-school information, but access to private schools as well,” says Sandoval. “It’s very helpful for people that want the buyer in a certain school.”

Like most markets around the country, Huntsville and surrounding northern Alabama are experiencing record low levels of inventory and, in addition, the region is “a hotbed for new jobs.” Valley MLS members are increasingly serving relocating buyers and having access to school zone information has been a boon.

One way that Valley MLS members use school zone data is by adding it to a CMA, which they can generate right in the property data platform.

“It’s such a great asset to be able to add that into your CMAs or any type of listing or buyer presentation,” says Sandoval.

Schooling Their Members
Valley MLS launched a new property tax data and map platform just last year, during the heart of the coronavirus pandemic. That meant they had to get their members up to speed on the new software in conditions that were far from normal.

In addition to online training with their property data provider, Valley MLS implements their own educational series called “MLS Tips and Tricks” where they highlight various technology tools that the MLS offers.

“This is especially important for new licensees,” Sandoval says, “because it’s tough; there are a lot of members out there, inventory’s low and the market is just booming. So we’re trying to use every possible application that we have in our MLS to help them.”

Beyond School Data
School zone information is not the only feature within their property tax data platform that Valley MLS members use to compete in a tough market.

“The most popular tools have been just the Simple Property Search and the Property Report,” says Sandoval. “However, we are seeing an increase in the CMA, simply because it is so hard in our market with inventory so low. Agents are looking at any kind of resource to enhance their CMAs and then go out on an appointment. So it’s been a wonderful asset to the agents, especially some of the newer agents.”

Sandoval and Valley MLS use the MLS Tax Suite by CRS Data.

To learn more about MLS Tax Suite, visit CRSData.com/MLS-Tax-Suite. Watch a video tutorial about school zones data and tools through the link.