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How Important Is School District When Buying A House?

Hanna Kielar4-minute read
November 14, 2019

When looking to buy a house you might be checking things like what your commute to work will be, how close you are to local grocery stores or even what your neighborhood is like, but local school districts should also be on that list – even if you don’t have children.

Buying a home near a reputable public school district will actually boost the overall value of your home. If you’re wondering why then keep reading.

School Districts Matter, Even If You Don’t Have Kids

You want to make a good profit if and when the time comes to sell your home. You also want to attract the greatest number of potential buyers. Many home buyers will target neighborhoods that boast strong public schools; this will give you an advantage when listing your home.

Real estate agents agree, saying that buyers who want to increase the odds that their home will rise in value, and attract plenty of buyers when it’s time to sell, should always research the local schools.

“School districts can make or break a home sale,” says Robyn Flint, home insurance specialist and licensed REALTOR®. “A strong school district boasting high test scores adds to the value of a home. However, school districts in areas with lower test scores might not fare well with families.”

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Do Public Schools Affect Resale Value?

It’s no surprise that real estate is about location, location, location. Even buyers without kids will often consider the quality of the local school district before buying a house. Why? They want their home to increase in value after they buy it, and a good school district boosts home prices.

Patrick Frank, former head of sales with San Diego-based commercial real estate firm Biproxi, says that a good school district attracts buyers and can lead to increased demand for homes in a certain neighborhood.

“Parents and couples who plan to become parents will be particularly attracted to the area because they want their kids to be able to attend a high-ranking school and receive a good education,” Frank says.

Aaron Bowman, a real estate agent with eXp Realty in Windsor, Connecticut, says that most of his clients look first for a specific place they want to live in and then, after narrowing down their preferred community, look for a home served by a great school.

“Most people when buying are not buying for the house, they are buying a community and what it has to offer,” claims Bowman. “Schools play a big part in that. If it's a top school system, people are willing to pay a little extra to get into that area.”

How Do You Find Out Which Public School District A Home Is In?

Now you know that a good school district can have a significant effect on a home's value. But how do you determine which public school district a home is in? The easiest way is to log onto Realtor.com. A home's listing will include a tab for nearby schools. Open that, and you'll see the public schools located near a property. If you click on the schools listed, it'll bring up additional information about them, including the public school district of which they are a part.

Does A School Rating Matter When Buying A House?

Homes that are situated near a highly rated school tend to have a higher value, so once you've determined which public schools serve a neighborhood, it's time to research their reputations and ratings.

A good place to start your research is the National Center for Education Statistics. Enter the names of your public schools, and the site will provide you with plenty of important information, including total enrollment, student/teacher ratio and more.

If you want to see how students are performing at local schools, search for their public-school report cards. You can access these online, usually by searching for your state name and the words “public school report card.”

These report cards provide insight as to how a school performs. The report cards for Illinois public schools, for instance, list how many schools in a district are considered exemplary, commendable or underperforming. It also mentions how well students perform on statewide tests, average class sizes, what percentage of teachers have a master's degree or higher and what percentage of teachers are ranked as proficient or excellent.

Niche.com and GreatSchools.org are also good resources for this type of information. Not only can you find public school rankings/ratings on these sites, you can also read reviews from parents whose children have attended these schools.

If You Love The House But Not The School District, What Options Do You Have?

What if you find the perfect home but discover that the public schools in the community are not ideal?

You do have several options. If you don’t have children, or if your children have aged out of the school system, you can still buy the home. Yes, great schools boost a home’s resale value, but that’s not the only factor. The quality of your home itself plays a major role in its resale value. A home with updated kitchens, large bathrooms and spacious primary bedrooms, for instance, will typically attract plenty of attention from home buyers.

Other in demand homes are in popular, trendy neighborhoods. These neighborhoods boost resale value even if they aren’t served by the strongest public schools.

If you do have school-aged children, you can research private school options too. Many communities are served by strong private schools. These schools usually aren’t free and can be expensive, therefore you’ll have to determine if the cost of private school tuition fits into your budget.

The Bottom Line: House Shopping By School District Will Likely Benefit You In The Future

Before you buy a house, be sure to carefully take into consideration the nearby school district as this can affect how well your home sells in the future.

If you’re in the market for a home, listings on Rocket HomesSM have a section dedicated to exploring your neighborhood – including the school district. See what the districts are like for your home’s area.

You know your dream home.

We’ll help you find it.

Hanna Kielar

Hanna Kielar is a Section Editor for Rocket Auto℠, RocketHQ℠, and Rocket Loans® with a focus on personal finance, automotive, and personal loans. She has a B.A. in Professional Writing from Michigan State University.