How To Factor In Schools Into Your Home Buying Decision 
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How To Factor In Schools Into Your Home Buying Decision 


 In Blog, How To

When it comes to buying a home, there are plenty of things that matter just as much if not more than the price.  If you have kids or are thinking about starting a family, schools and property tax rates matter a great deal.  School quality is especially important for those who have children.  The challenge lies in determining how much school quality matters versus other factors involved in the buying decision.

 

 

Are You Willing to Sacrifice Other Points of Value for a Top-notch School?

In order to get your kids into the best school district, you will likely have to make some sacrifices in terms of other aspects of the home.  As an example, you might have to forego a nicety such as a swimming pool, a large backyard or a comparably affordable property tax rate in order to win the bidding war for a home in a coveted school district. 

The question is how much you are willing to sacrifice in order to get your kids into the best schools.  Those who prioritize the quality of the school district are typically willing to sacrifice space in the garage, backyard, bedroom and outdoor living areas.  Some are willing to forego a modern or spacious kitchen in order to win the bidding war for a home in an area with an elite school district.

 

 

Dig Deeper Than a Single Recommendation

Do not assume a particular school district is significantly better than others simply because someone recommended it.  It is also a mistake to place too much weight in the opinion of someone who insists a particular school district is inferior.  The better approach is to ask several people about the school district in question.  Do not hesitate to knock on doors, introduce yourself and find out if the people in the neighborhood you are considering think highly of the school district.  Check out reviews and other write-ups of the school district posted to the web as well. 

 

 

Create a “T Chart” Before Making a Decision

Accountants often use T charts for their work.  This type of chart comes in handy for weighing the merits of prospective homes.  Draw a vertical line down the middle of a sheet of paper for each home you are considering.  On the left side, write down all the positives of each home you are considering.  Jot down the negatives on the right side.  If any particular feature or strength such as the quality of the school district is egregiously strong or weak for a particular home, list it twice for added weight.  Tally the positives and negatives of each home.  Subtract the negatives from the positives to find out which home has the most merits based on your unique priorities.

 

 

Consider Whether You Might Move in the Future

If your kids are relatively young and you are unsure if you will stay in the area, put less value on the quality of the school district.  After all, paying a premium for a home in a high-quality school district does not make much sense if you are going to relocate your family months or years down the line.  If your children are older and approaching the college years, school quality should not be a deal-breaker as your kids will only spend a couple years in school.  However, if you think you will stay in the neighborhood for several years or decades, paying a premium or sacrificing other home features for a top-ranked school district is a sensible trade-off.

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