Home Buying in San Jose>Question Details

Trulia San J…, Home Buyer in San Jose, CA

How much does a school district impact home purchase decisions?

Asked by Trulia San Jose, San Jose, CA Thu Aug 30, 2012

Trulia recently published stats on school districts that people flock to and flee from. The Bay Area's own Saratoga Union School District was ranked most attractive in the country. How important is a school district when deciding where to buy in the Bay Area? Do you Real Estate Pros notice more interest in specific school districts in the Bay Area?

Check out this link for full stats:

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It depends.

It largely depends on whether the buyers have children or plan to.

I don't expect that people looking at retirement or over-55 communities care much about the quality of schools. Gay/lesbian couples generally don't care as much unless they're planning on having or adopting children. Singles and couples who don't plan on having children (and I know plenty of both) place school districts very low on their list of priorities.

On top of that, there are some ethnic/cultural groups who may feel more comfortable in a specific geographic area . . . even if the school system isn't quite as good as one a few miles away.

Then you get into large school districts--let's say Fairfax County in Northern Virginia. The school system overall is very, very good. But within it, there are some outstanding schools and some not quite so great schools. So the question in Fairfax County really is: Where in the county?

And, speaking from personal experience, certain highly-rated schools don't deserve those accolades. And certain other schools that some people wonder about (very large ones, for instance) can be wonderful.

Hope that helps.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 30, 2012
Don Tepper, Real Estate Pro in Fairfax, VA
I've read through the answers here and they are all excellent! So I won't repeat what has been written however I do have an observation worth mentioning.

Schools are generally evaluated on their API scores. Scores that are in the high 800's to high 900's are generally regarded well. Obviously the higher the score, the better the rating. But what goes into how the score is received? Honestly I'm not qualified to answer this question, but it's a question worth asking! It's not as simple as it may seem. I asked one of my friends who in a teacher and wow did I open up a very sensitive subject! She spent the next hour ranting about why the scores are misleading and why. Frankly she was talking over my head, nevertheless her diatribe on the subject made me realize something very important.

The API score doesn't necessarily indicate how well educated your child will be at any particular school. That said, here is a link that you can go to for more detail about what makes up the API score. http://bit.ly/Uf1Gls

So to answer the question, yes...buyers pay A LOT of attention to API scores. Too much maybe? I don't know, but properties located in areas where API scores are high, have higher property value.

Hope this helps.
2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 30, 2012
School quality drives home values higher in any given area.

If you could send your child to a public school that provides an excellent education vs. sending your child to a public school whose students consistently tested at average or below level wouldn’t you be willing to pay more to live in the neighborhood served by the excellent school? Most people would pay extra. When they sell their houses, they will sell for more because the buyers will also be paying to live in the neighborhood of higher educational expectations.

Those who live in higher performing school districts reap both educational benefits for their children and financial benefits for themselves. Those who do not have children still get the financial benefits and often buy in those areas for that reason.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Aug 31, 2012
The impact is significant whether you have children or not. The same size home with the same amenities a half mile to a mile apart in the middle of West San Jose (zip code 95129) would be a good example. The difference between having Lynbrook High School versus Prospect High School might be as large as $250,000. Great neighborhoods, great locations, but different school districts.

Historically speaking; these same homes when new, 45-50 years ago, might have only had a $5,000 difference between them.

The interest for buyers will be whether they want to take advantage of the schools or recognize the higher cost and potential larger return when reselling later.

Mark Burns, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Elite - Top 2% Worldwide
President - PRDS, Contracts and Forms for Silicon Valley Residential Real Estate 2008-2012
DRE #00896552 Licensed since 1985
Over 600 Homes Sold in Silicon Valley
Web Reference: http://www.markburns.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 30, 2012
Schools are HUGE!!!! One of the main reasons families buy is to have a stable home for their children. Schools affect not only the future of your children's lives but the popularity and price point of your home.

More important than Realtors, home buyers pay attention to school districts. If you can't afford private schools, your best bet is to buy a home in a good school district.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 30, 2012
Hi, It really depends on the buyer but schools are usually of very high importance to buyers. I also point out to families that don't have children that schools add value so buying in a sought after school district helps fro resale.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 30, 2012
Thank you Trulia:

Far many parents, schools are critically important.

It is not uncommon for people to pay premiums in the amount of $100,000, $200,000 or more just to get schools such as the Saratoga Schools or schools near Saratoga, such as Monta Vista High School or Lynbrook High School because of the academic reputations of those schools.

Similar homes near Saratoga or Monta Vista High School or Lynbrook High School often sell for much less if they do not have those schools when compared with similar homes that do have those schools.

Another good example of this school issue is in the Evergreen area of San Jose. Homes with Evergreen Valley High School often sell at premiums of $50,000 to $100,000 or more compared with similar homes in the area without Evergreen Valley High School.

Even clients without children will often have a very strong preference for homes with Schools that are in high demand for resale purposes.

Thank you,
Charles Butterfield MBA
Real Estate Broker/REALTOR
Cell Phone: (408)509-6218
Fax: (408)269-3597
Email Address: charlesbutterfieldbkr@yahoo.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 30, 2012
I can tell you in general that any town or city with good schools will be more desired than one with bad or "not so good" schools. Take my area of Manchester NH, every week we get requests from potential home owners who want to be in specific school districts and others who state they are not sure which one the want to be in but know they do not want to be in a certain other district. It sure does help having an agent who is well expereinced with an area to be able to answer those questions from a buyer and guide them through the home searching process.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Aug 30, 2012
Regardless of where you are buying.......Make no mistake, informed buyer with school age children will view the area school district as a very high priority.

Our recommendation is that all buyers should consider resale issues prior to making a commitment to purchase a property. Value, location, schools, quality of life, etc are but a few of the factors that should be given serious consideration.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 6, 2012
It matters too much. Ironically, parents will pay hundreds of thousands more to get into the “right” school district, thinking it will ensure that their children will get the best education possible. As mentioned below, the gauge used here in our area are API scores and these can be misleading. Additionally, many parents pass over wonderful neighborhoods and great schools with awesome teachers in pursuit of the school with the highest score. The highest ranked schools are faced with tremendous pressure to keep their scores high – this pressure is passed on to the students and can have some very adverse effects.

In my opinion, at the end of the day, students who do the best are those with the most involvement from the parents. While schools are important, I believe the family environment is so much more critical and ultimately dictates how successful any child is in any specific school. I frequently counsel buyers to avoid the highest ranked schools and look instead at lesser ranked schools – they will end up with a nicer home in a great neighborhood – and in reality, the children will spend more time in the house and neighborhood than they will at school.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 6, 2012
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