Even the most bare-bones MLS listings generally include a few key things: square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and what school district the property is in. The first two items have obvious value to potential buyers, but is the proximity of a school really that important to closing a sale? As it turns out, the answer is an emphatic “yes.”
Education Is the Future
It comes as no surprise that some 35 percent of Americans with kids under the age of 18 dream of buying a house in a great school district, but it’s a bit more interesting to hear that 19 percent of all Americans have the same dream. Whether kids are a current reality or simply a twinkle in a homebuyer’s eye, the issue of education is still very much present. A street to the west or a block to the right could mean the difference between being assigned to a top-tier school and ending up in one that has less funding or a depressing student-teacher ratio, and other factors such as bussing, test scores and extracurriculars all come into play as well. Finding a home nestled within the boundaries of a well-respected district can feel like hitting the jackpot.
Ponying Up for a Well-Placed Property
How dedicated are parents to their children’s education? So much so that 20 percent of home buyers say they’d go as much as 10 percent over their budget in order to gain access to their dream district. Even more impressive is the 10 percent of parents who would dig deep for an extra 20 percent. It seems like a drastic investment in little Jack or Jill’s academic future, but there’s more to it than that. Great schools have great teachers and great amenities that range from immaculately groomed football fields to new computers in the tech lab. That all adds up to opportunities — opportunities for after-school programs, character-building mentorships, scholarships and admission to Jack or Jill’s college of choice. Much like renovating a kitchen or bathroom, homeowners who’ve invested in a good district are going to see financial returns down the road.
The No-Kids Crew
Even buyers without kids (and no intentions of starting a family anytime soon) see the value in buying a home close to a highly rated school. The hope? More attractive resale opportunities. People who put a good school district at the top of the must-have list are often willing to pay more for access to a stellar education, even when the real estate market is otherwise depressed. Luxuries like in-ground pools and stainless steel appliances may end up being sacrificed when budgets are tight, but few parents are willing to trade in their child’s future for a chance at a two-car garage.
Financial gains and personal advancement are just two reasons that neighborhoods near coveted school districts are so prized. Those communities are also typically more stable (families are less inclined to relocate when scholastic sacrifices are at stake), full of more affluent families (the ones who can afford the premium those homes often command), and offer plenty of playmates eager to come over for a bike ride or study session. All in all, buying into a dream school district seems like a sound expenditure for both the buyers’ progeny and their pocketbook.