Why school districts aren't only important to parents

Updated: Nov 30, 2019

Should you consider a school district when buying a home?



Homebuyers often start their search with basic research into housing prices in the neighborhoods they prefer. For parents, school districts also play an important role in their house hunt. After all, they want their kids to get the best possible education. However, did you know that even if you don’t have kids, school districts should still be a priority when buying?


Here’s everything you need to know about school districts and the important role they play in real estate whether you have kids or not!


HOW ARE SCHOOLS RATED?


There are two ways schools are rated, actually:


1. Fraser Rating: The Fraser Institute’s school rankings compare schools based on academic performance. It also shows results over a five-year period. This allows parents to see if a school is consistent, improving or declining in its performance.


2. EQAO: The Education Quality & Accountability test assesses the development of students’ reading, writing and math skills. The tests are not included in their actual school grades, but instead show areas a student can improve, while also providing insight into the effectiveness of the school’s success in teaching students the required skills.

According to a recent article in the Toronto Star, the information provided by both rating systems should be taken with a grain of salt. Both have their good points but can also be misleading.


“There’s lots more that happens at a school than just skills development in these three areas,” Fraser Institute report co-author Peter Cowley told the Star. “You wouldn’t want to make a decision solely on this.”


The article stresses the importance of parents considering all aspects of their child’s needs when deciding if a school is right for them. It’s not always about rankings. However, when it comes to real estate because Realtors use the high-ranking schools to promote local homes it drives up housing prices. This is a concern for any home buyer.


SCHOOLS AND HOME VALUE



So, while the location is the number one factor when it comes to the value of a property, it’s in relation to not only the amenities in the area but the schools as well. You’ve got all the usual considerations when house hunting from shopping to coffee shops, and from parks to safety and let’s not forget easy transit/commute, but excellent schools also equal an excellent neighborhood.


Homes in proximity to a good school tend to see an increase in value when compared to those without a well-rated school. In fact, even when the market is a little volatile, a good school district or even just an area school with a high rating can keep home prices in the area stable.


So, where do you begin? A good place to research home prices is scholarhood. It presents a clear picture of housing prices in relation to local schools. In pretty much every case, you’ll see that there is a direct relation between higher home values and higher school rankings.

For example, if you look at schools with the lowest rankings for either rating system, homes in these areas tend to be well below the million-dollar mark, while schools with the highest Fraser rankings are in the multi-millions.


Of course, you have to keep in mind that this does not apply in all cases.

TIME TO SELL


Buyers should always be thinking about the future value of their homes as well. You want to know that when it comes time to sell, your home will have built as much equity as possible. So, if you consider that school districts/schools are a contributing factor to home values, living in proximity to a high ranked school will almost always work in your favor.


While parents will benefit from the education their kids gain, families without children will appreciate the increased value of their home located close to a good school. In addition, you will also have a better chance of appealing to both families with or without children when your home is on the market.


Of course, not all property values are dependent on school districts. For example, if you live in a studio apartment in high demand areas for singles, you really don’t have to worry about the schools.


If you’re not convinced school districts could affect the sale of your home, here are some eye-opening Realtor.com statistics:


  • 78 percent of buyers gave up some of the most important home features to live in their preferred school including a garage, large backyard, and updated kitchen

  • Close to three-quarters said good schools were important to their home search

So, once again, clearly school districts matter.


UNDERSTANDING BORDERS


It’s easy to assume the school closest to the home you purchase will be the school your child will attend. However, this is not always the case. Situations such as overcrowding can force schools to limit the number of enrollments they can manage. Your child might have to bus to another school nearby. Before committing to a home purchase, do your research and call the school to make sure your child will be accepted.


Again, if you don’t have kids, you might want to consider calling the local school as well. This way you’ll know how your home location will affect family buyers in the future.


BEST SCHOOL SEARCH TOOLS


For parents, the house hunt often begins with finding the area they can afford with the best possible schools. In hand with the EQAO and Fraser Institute ranking sites, these tools can also be quite handy in your own search:



  • Compare School Rankings: This search engine searches schools by location or school. The results will show where the school or area ranks. This is a good tool because you can consider areas you prefer and see the schools by searching and comparing them. You can also see the Fraser Institute’s detailed reports.

  • Our Kids: If you’re considering private schools, this is the site for you. The site provides rankings for both traditional private schools and Montessori schools. You can also use their tips and research in all aspects of each private school, including the locations, grade levels, and tuition fees. Also, many parents don’t realize that most private schools offer financing options for families. Those details are available when you click on each school link.

  • If you’re interested in using school rankings and don’t have kids, scholarhood is still your best bet for research.

Now that you know how school districts and local schools impact housing prices, you can understand why it affects all homeowners. At OnlyWith.ca we can assist in your home search and help you find the perfect home whether you have a family, are planning a family, or are happy being single. Reach out to one of our agents today so we can help you find your home.

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