Should homebuyers consider schools even if they're empty nesters?

Do homebuyers need to think about schools in their prospective neighborhood even if they’re empty nesters or don’t have kids?

Lisa Harris, RE/MAX agent with RE/MAX Center in Braselton, GA, said that homebuyers should definitely be thinking about schools when they buy. 

“It’s one of the most important things because that is what’s going to dictate your resale value,” Harris said to HousingWire. “Many buyers purchase a home based on emotion and we have to justify with the numbers.”

According to the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 25% of homebuyers said that school quality was a key in their home search, and 20% said proximity to schools is also a factor. 

NAR found in 2017 that 26% of homebuyers said quality of schools was important when finding a new home. And typically, better home plus better school district equals higher resale value. 

Some research shows that if you live in a good school district, your home can hold better value in an economic downturn. 

Realtor.com said that homes in good school districts sell on average eight days faster and get 26% more online views than homes in average districts, and retain their value as long as their schools’ rating remains high.

A 2013 realtor.com survey of about 1,000 prospective home buyers said that 91% of them thought school boundaries were important when search for their new home.

In a recent report from NAR, 50% of homebuyers with kids said they keep the school system in mind when looking for a new home. NAR also determined that 10% of childless homebuyers chose their new neighborhood based on the quality of its school district. 

Harris said that when reselling, the value of the home will be impacted by the school. 

The New York Times said that housing costs in the nation’s 100 largest metros were an average of 2.4x higher, making a difference of $11,000 a year, when the home was near a school with top five schools average test scores. 

Essentially, it would cost more for a family to move into a good public school zone, rather than having their children attend a private school. Home prices might even impact the quality of the school itself, Realtor.com said. 

“You might pay a little bit more upfront if you buy into a better school district, but your home value will be exponentially higher when it comes time to sell,” Harris said. “As your home value improves, in theory the school will continue to maintain that value so you can get that back.”

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