Why School Districts Matter When Buying a Home

Even if you don’t have or never plan to have school-age children, the quality of nearby schools can have an impact on how much you pay, and how much you sell a home for later. Here are 3 reasons why school districts matter when buying a home.

1. You’ll pay more to live in a good school district.

A school’s Academic Performance Index (API), which goes up to 1,000, is usually a top factor for homebuying parents. Buyers who have kids or are planning to have kids will likely use this type of criteria as the most important part of their search.

A school’s high API often drives up home prices in its school district. Even if you don’t have kids, you’ll still pay more to be near a good school. They establish an area as a good location, and as we all know, in real estate it’s all about “location location location.”

2. A good school district might insulate you from real estate market slumps.

Even in a down market, an excellent school can help protect your home’s value. It’s more of a ‘safe bet.’

Example: In 2007—when real estate values were faltering—the San Francisco Chronicle reported that the impact of an excellent school on home values can be dramatic.

“There could be two districts — one perceived as excellent, one mediocre — divided by a street,” the Chronicle reported. “The same hypothetical house built by the same developer on either side of that street could fetch $100,000 more if it feeds into great schools.”

3. It costs more to buy near a good school, but you’ll probably get more when you sell later.

Of course, real estate never comes with guarantees. But you can bet that parents will always want the best school they can afford for their kids. That gives your home’s value a bit more stability than it might otherwise have.

The right home at the right time

Though schools should factor into your thinking, don’t let them top your real priorities: to buy the right home for you, at the right time. The right home for you should be one where you feel comfortable, and it should be in a location that makes sense to you. Finally, it should be the best fit for you in terms of size, style, condition, and price.

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