Whether or not any members of your family will be returning to school this fall, you will most likely notice the change in season: getting up earlier to prepare sack lunches, driving slower through the school zones in your neighborhood, participating in the car pool, or noticing increased traffic in the mornings and afternoons.
Whatever age or stage you are at in life, buying a home in a particular school district can affect you. Buying a home near a good school may be a no-brainer for young families, but middle age, older folks or people who don’t plan on having children should still pay attention to school districts. In a 2014 poll by the National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 22 percent of home buyers listed proximity to schools as a deciding factor in their home purchase and 29 percent were concerned with school quality. Consider the following factors when searching for your new home and school zone.
- What makes a school great? How can you find out more information about the school districts in your new area? Websites like GreatSchools are a good starting point for researching schools and school districts. U.S. News also ranks the best high schools yearly. You can also research test scores and talk to other parents and teachers involved with particular schools and districts.
- Location, location, location. If location is the number one tenet of real estate, a good school district makes a huge difference. Good school zones are highly correlated to good neighborhoods. You may pay a higher price for a school in a good zone, but even if you don’t have kids, schools basically establish an area as a good location.
- Resale value. If you intend on selling your home at some point in the future, think like a seller and consider the resale value. Buying in a good school district is a safer bet because it can help to protect your home’s value in a down market. You may pay more for the good district, but you will help to protect your investment by being able to sell for a higher price. Your taxes may be higher, but your chances of selling your home quicker are increased.
- Search by school zone. If school zones are really important to your family, you can search by school zone instead of by zip code or town. Websites like Redfin even allow users to find homes based on school zones now.
- Different families, different needs. While homes located in good school zones may retain higher values and are easier to resell, at the end of the day, the best home is the one that suits your family. Families without children may not be as concerned with living in a particular school zone. Public schools are not the only option for families with kids: homeschooling, charter schools, private schools or a district that allows children to transfer may be a better fit for your family.
Whether or not you have students who are headed back to school, we hope you will consider the impact of school zones when searching for your next home. After you’ve made your home buying decision, be sure to contact Square Cow Movers for all your moving needs.