There's more to home shopping than home loans and mortgage rates. If you have kids and are shopping for property, chances are schools are a significant consideration. In fact, even people without children may consider the quality of a school district, knowing that it can affect their property values when they're ready to sell.
The National Association of REALTORS® reported in it is 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers that 25 percent of buyers considered quality schools a top priority, while 19 percent of buyers reported that the proximity of schools to their homes was a decision-making factor.
Check Out Schools Before Buying a Home
Real estate brokers and agents can provide basic information about schools in the neighborhood. Understand, however, that an agent is NOT allowed to provide information that violates fair housing laws or could be seen as steering people to or from certain neighborhoods -- and school performance, because racial composition easily becomes part of that conversation, is one of those gray areas that many real estate professionals avoid discussing with clients.
You can review performance statistics and data for schools by checking out sites like the National Center for Education Statistics, the School Matters Web site, a service of Standard & Poor's, or GreatSchools. Some school districts and state departments also post information online. It might be worth taking a look at an individual school district's site, especially for large systems.
Desirable Schools Can Up the Ante for Buyers
Recent survey results from Realtor.com indicate that more than half of home buyers surveyed would pay above their budgets for homes in desirable school districts:
- 23.59 percent of respondents indicated that they would pay one to five percent over budget
- 20.70 percent of respondents said that they would pay six to ten percent over budget
- 8.98 percent of respondents indicated that they would pay 11 to 20 percent over budget
- More than 90 percent of survey respondents who indicated that schools would impact their buying decision characterized schools as "important" to "somewhat important."
This information provides a heads-up for all home buyers, as anyone wanting to buy in a good school district can expect competition from buyers motivated by good schools. Even if you don't have kids, learning about schools in your prospective neighborhood can help you develop a buying plan that includes contingencies for situations involving multiple buyers.The survey also indicated that buyers desiring a home In a particular school district are willing to forego conveniences including proximity of shopping and recreational facilities to purchase a home in their preferred school district.
Plan your home purchase by researching neighborhoods including schools before you start looking for a home. This can be as important as comparing mortgage quotes from multiple lenders.