Schools a big factor in home purchase

Parents of young children or couples who are planning to start a family soon should also consider the school system in the area where they live.

There are many factors buyers consider when shopping for a home. From the number of bedrooms to the size of the backyard, prospective buyers have their priorities with what they’re looking for in a home. Parents to young children or couples who are planning to start a family soon should also consider the school system.

Although granite countertops and interior living area may be foremost on the minds of house shoppers, individuals also have to take school districts into consideration when looking at homes, particularly if they’re concerned about giving their children the best education possible. According to research by The Wall Street Journal, buyers are willing to pay more for a property if it is in a good school district. That’s because even if they do not have children, buyers know that a good school district helps a home remain attractive.

Not all schools are created equal, and some rank better in test scores and teacher-to-student ratios than others. These are essential factors to think about when looking at homes. Although real estate agents can offer some basic information about what schools are in the area, legally they may not be able to share opinions on how “good”the schools are or be able to break down the demographics of student populations. It is typically up to the buyer to do his or her own research.

Because the tax dollars that home owners pay largely go to fund schools and town improvements, it is important to look at the schools. Also, if the home will be a stepping stone to another home in a few years, buyers want to ensure their home has the best chance for resale. Oftentimes, a good school district is a factor future buyers will think about.

There are some websites that can help prospective buyers look at the schools in the areas they are considering. GreatSchools.net is one such site. It breaks down test scores, demographics, parent and student reviews and many other things that are vital to getting a picture of the school as a whole. The site also uses a ranking system from one to 10 (10 being the best) to show how the school stands in comparison to others in terms of test scores.

Buyers also may want to make a trip to visit the area they’re considering during school hours. This way they can drive by the school and see for themselves the type of students and parents entering or exiting the building. One also may want to set up a brief meeting with the principal to learn more about the ideals of the school and its goals.

It’s also necessary to look at the proximity of the school to the house. Some towns have rules in place regarding busing or walking to school. Students who live within a certain distance from the school may have to find their own transportation to and from school. This is something to mull over.

Families that are interested in a host of extracurricular activities can also evaluate the town or school district based on the sports or other opportunities offered to students.

Be advised that the school closest to a home might not be the one a student will attend. Zoning laws, and not necessarily proximity, often dictate where a student will attend school. Therefore, it is important to check with the real estate agent or town to ensure the research being done is for the correct school.

Some parents prefer their children go to private school, and many towns and cities have a number of options. In addition to the public schools, agents should be able to point buyers toward the private schools in the area. Some may be able to list tuition costs and acceptance requirements.

Having a picture of the school district in the area buyers are considering will help offer a better idea of the neighborhood and the people around whom they’ll be living. School districts are important to consider when buying a home, so much so that buyers are willing to pay a little more if it means having a good school in their area.