Here’s a simple truth: the quality of the schools close to you can have a big effect on your home’s value. Every day, parents all across the US search for homes that will put their kids (current and future alike!) into education programs that will help them take on challenges and build careers of their own.
A Few Facts
A survey by Realtor.com indicated that 91% of homebuyers thought that school boundaries were important in choosing where to buy a home. 20% of those same survey respondents said they would pay up to 10% over the asking price to secure a home in areas that were close to a school that they wanted to be near. A Great Schools article showed that sometimes this figure can be higher:
In many cities such calculations are hard to do without an advanced degree in statistics, but sometimes the value of public schools is starkly evident. Piedmont, Calif., a small, upscale city surrounded by economically diverse Oakland, is known for its top-rated schools. According to a recent scan of the multiple listing service, homes in Piedmont run at least $100K more than an Oakland home of the same size and quality located directly across the street.
Being in a good school district doesn’t always mean that there’s more money spent on the school’s programs, and that your taxes will be higher to fund them. In fact, some reports show that higher rated schools tend to spend less on their budget overall. What it does speak to is that these schools draw better staff and administrators, and that the school is a good draw to the neighborhood. It’s good to keep in mind that scores change and administrators leave.
School districts that aren’t rated well don’t generate negative value per se. Every neighborhood has a norm, which in comparison to the overall city may be less due to poorly performing schools, but this shouldn’t represent substantial theoretical value loss. There are a multitude of factors that can make a house sell for less than average market value, including crime rates, poor walkability, and buying trends. These aren’t tied to the schools nearby, so property value can still exhibit growth and strong sales despite the local education centers.
The College Wildcard
Schools for adults are also important. Colleges and universities are often surrounded by highly desirable property, but not necessarily just due to academics. Sports, cultural programs, and the businesses that target the younger college crowd can be a big draw as well. The audience for this kind of property could be not only investors, who plan to use the properties as rentals, but also alumni, professors and others who work at the university, and families of those with college age kids or those who will be college aged in the future. Bear in mind that immediate proximity to a university can also be a turn-off to people who like quiet neighborhoods, as the spillover of college and university events may not be everyone’s cup of tea.
Using the Schools For Your Sale
If you are fortunate enough to be in a good school district, you can find a way to capitalize on good local schools for your home sale, from public to private. Letting potential buyers know that your home is close to a desirable school can help increase interest. Even if your potential buyers don’t have kids yet and aren’t targeting particular zip codes, it may be something they’re looking at down the road and will appreciate the information. The ratings given by websites like GreatSchools are a good detail to include in notes for the property if you’re using platforms that don’t automatically pull that data. Don’t forget about the other good features of your neighborhood as well.
If you are in a school district that isn’t known for its academics, this can be challenging. On one hand, your house could be lovely and in a great neighborhood. On the other hand, current and would-be parents could be deterred by poor ratings for local schools. If this is the case, it’s likely better to focus on other good qualities about the property and surrounding area. Maybe there’s a well-known street nearby with lots of local business activity and community engagement. For those with kids, knowing about a good after-school program hosted at a park in the vicinity may appeal to parents who work longer than regular school hours. Inevitably, you may find that you need to target a different demographic that prefers what your home has to offer instead of school values. There are lots of other things that can help your property value including WalkScore, local attractions, and proximity to good public transportation.