I don’t know about you, but when I’m looking at houses, the school ratings are number one my priority list! The funny thing about that is that kids aren’t even part of our life yet!
No matter where you are in life, looking at the school ratings are important for two reasons:
1. Market Appreciation
The areas with the best schools appreciate the best as this is the area people want to live. Most districts have a limited amount of space causing demand to increase prices as supply decreases.
2. Future Rental Value
Not everyone is always in a position to buy a new house, but the school district is very important to many families.
To go even deeper, not only is the school district important, but the type of school matters too. If you have children then obviously you need to look at what your children need. In most areas the schools feed to one another: elementary school, to middle school, to high school. So usually if you choose the best elementary school it goes to the best high school. That makes things easy.
But what happens if you move to a place where it is more confusing? How do you know which school district is most important?
My husband and I had this problem in Virginia Beach when we were trying to buy our first home. We had to create a color coded map to figure out what school went where.
Personally I think elementary schools are the most important. Here are four reasons why:
1. They typically cover the least amount of distance.
Most elementary schools represent the smallest portion of local area around it. This means a town may have only two high schools, but will probably have 30 different elementary schools.
2. Neighborhood Safety.
In my experience, especially when buying a home that is sight unseen or in a new area, if the schools are poor then usually the area is of less quality. You may have a pocket of newer, nicer homes, but the school has lower ratings. So while deep pockets may exist in any area, the school ratings and neighborhood safety are most important.
3. Largest School Age Population.
Elementary school covers at least six years of education. This is why most people look at the elementary school in their area when deciding on a home. It is usually foremost on their mind unless the family consists of older kids.
4. Biggest Draw for Family Houses.
People that are living in large family areas care about their children’s education. Since most people don’t like moving, they usually try to live in an area that will fit with their family long term.
Sometimes, even though the above reasons matter to a family, there can still be several things that can draw a family away to a different area. In my experience, there are only two other things that matter most to people:
- Beach or waterfront property.
- Downtown area.
If you are one of these families, be careful! If you are buying a large, expensive home, think about who your property is going to attract.
Usually these types of homes will attract two types of people. Either families that are further on in their career that have more money or a bunch of young, college-age roommates that just want to party.1