When you’re house hunting, it can seem like there is no end to criteria as you look at different neighborhoods. Is the house big enough for your family? Is the neighborhood pet-friendly? Does the kitchen have the granite countertops you’ve been dying to have all these years? Before you know it, your list of must-haves is long enough to write a novel.
Before you get carried away by the smaller details, it’s crucial to consider one of the most important factors in the homebuying process: the school district. Picking the right schools for your children can play a significant role in their education, happiness and the overall well-being of your family. Here are five tips to help you as you search for a home in the right school district:
1. Don’t Be Spooked by the Sticker Price of Homes in Better School Districts
According to U.S. News and World Report, the location of your home is the number one determining factor when it comes to maintaining and increasing your home’s investment potential. Beyond that, the quality of the school district plays a large part in determining the value of your home’s location. So, while you might pay more up front for a home near good schools, it may pay dividends down the road should you decide to sell.
2. Look at the School District’s Test Scores and Graduation Rates
Schools with above-average test scores may give you a better chance of snagging a great teacher with smaller classroom sizes than the national standard. Additionally, high graduation ratios are a good way to see that the school’s counselors and academic programs are encouraging achievement.
3. Explore Private Versus Public School Options
Sometimes it’s more financially beneficial to save money on a home and put those savings toward private school tuition. Other times, it’s more advantageous to save up for a more expensive home with better public school options. Time recently interviewed a homebuyer who took three years to find a home in the area with the best schools. It took time and planning, but buying a more expensive home and saving on private school tuition was the best choice for this family. Be sure to do a cost and benefit analysis of both private school and public school options near your future home.
4. Find Neighborhoods That Are Less Susceptible to Market Volatility
Experts agree that homes near high-achieving schools are much more likely to weather the extreme ups and downs of the housing market. This happens in large part because homes near good schools sell faster, regardless of market conditions. So if you find a home in an area of steady pricing stability, there’s a good chance you’re surrounded by good schools.
5. Consider Your Commute and Its Impact on Your Lives
While living close to the right school district might be a top priority, make sure you factor in its proximity to your workplace and other important locations, such as nearby family and your doctors’ offices. Will the cost and time of your commute negate the benefits of being near great schools when there are other good schools nearby? It may be more worthwhile to invest in a property closer to the neighborhood you’ll spend most of your time in.
It’s likely that a home near good schools may cost you more, but overall, the investment could pay back dividends in value to your home and educational advantages for your children. Visit Owners.com for listings and more advice on finding the perfect home for your family.