While looking to build or purchase a new home, you may have thought about the school district your children would be enrolled in. A 2017 study by the National Association of Realtors found 26 percent of homebuyers consider the quality of schools when looking for a new home.  As the desire for homes in nicer, high-rated school districts increases, so does the price of homes in the area.

Homebuyers Look at School Districts

While it may seem like the obvious answer is to choose a home in a high-rated school district, the truth is not that cut and dried. Not every home in a high-rated school district is going to be expensive, and not every low-rated school district is a bad place to raise your kids.

Buyers should explore the school districts where they plan to build or purchase their new home.  Homebuyers should plan to visit the schools and personally to meet with administrators if they’re serious about a particular area.  

According to the Brookings Institution, on average, housing costs are nearly 2.5 times higher near high-scoring public-school districts than near low-scoring districts. Another report states that every dollar spent on public schools in a community increased home values by $20. School expenditures may benefit everyone in the community, whether those homebuyers have children in the school district.

Tips on selecting a Quality School

Many parents are unaware of the different choices they have in educating their children today. According to Education.com, some of the options available in K-12 education include:

It is important to learn about the various types of schools available nearby, so you can make an informed choice for your children. Remote work has also changed the dynamic.  This includes the reduction of commuting time and opportunity to take advantage of other school districts farther away from the office.

Make a list of the features you want in the school your child attends. According to the U.S. Department of Education website, some of the basics to look for at any effective school include:

  • High expectations
  • Great teachers and staff
  • Busy, visible children
  • Rigorous curriculum
  • Vibrant parent-teacher association
  • Parents welcomed and questions answered

In addition, the website recommends checking the schools standardized test scores as well to ensure students are performing at appropriate academic levels.

When you find a school that looks like a good fit for your child, it is a good idea to visit to see classrooms and meet faculty and staff. While you are at the school, you should be allowed to visit with the principal, teachers and other parents to get a good idea of what the expectations are for parent involvement, how faculty and staff relate to students and what the overall learning environment looks like.

Resources for Finding the Best Schools

Every parent wants to find the best school for their children.  Having the right information is key.  With the recent current events, the criteria have certainly expanded.  Now you need to include remote learning in the criteria. Additional results must include College Success Awards, Equity and Summary ratings, and the availability of K-12 grade based newsletters.  Here’s more information.

  1. College success awards recognize public high schools that help students enroll and succeed in college.  These schools utilize best practices and methodologies.
  2. Understand the school ratings. This includes Equity ratings and how schools are helping the disadvantaged.  Student Progress Ratings are important.  This rating measures how students are advancing academically.
  3. Test scores.  This is an indication of student proficiency across both grades and subjects.  School level data may be used to measure academic progress.  In some states, high school info may not be available because it’s measured by standardized test scores.

Other resources include book clubs and grade-based toolkits. 

For more information check out https://www.greatschools.org

Summary:  The Bay Area has many great school districts.  It is inherent for the homebuyer to do their homework on what works best for their employment and where their children may go to school.   Arm yourself with a list of questions on what you need to know.  Talk to your REALTOR.  Talk to your Loan Agent.  Talk to your schools. Being fully knowledgeable about Home Values and School Districts will make the homebuying process an easy one.   

Again, be sure to tap into the knowledge of your REALTOR, who will have the most up to date information.  If you have any questions send an email to [email protected]

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