I know you got a lot of answers but I wanted you to know that I also went through this process. I owned a home in Lafayette and chose to move to Walnut Creek, in the Northgate area. My kids are in elementary school and it is AWESOME, there is so much parent involvement. That being said not all schools are created equal, but home values reflect school quality. If you want to save the most on a home you could decide to send the children to private school like St. Mary's or Christ the King. There are also excellent private schools that are not religously affiliated.
Let me know if you need more help,
Realtor ~ Trusted Advisor
Alain Pinel Realtors
(925) 323-6150 cell
My both sons went to Lafayette elementary and middle schools and right now they are at Campolindo High school. To be honest with you at the end of the day it comes to the teachers you get. We had the experience with the best and the worse teacher in Lafayette elementary school. And I have to say that Pleasant Hill elementary schools and middle school can be as good as Lafayette schools. Another factor that you need to consider is the age of your children. If they are in middle school ages I would recommend to stay around a good high school it means Lafayette and Walnut Creek. Further you need to work with an agent who knows all three neighborhoods very well and can compare every single property that comes on the market with each other. Feel free to contact me to discuss this in further details in person. I am sure after an hour of a personal meeting can help very much to make the right decision that fits your family and your current needs. Dina Asna 925.913.0313- email@example.com
In addition to all the great advice presented from the other agents do note that there are a few good schools in the Mt Diablo school district which some of the Pleasant Hill and WC homes may be designated for. South Walnut Creek has some good schools for it's residence and there are even some areas in Walnut Creek that are designated to go to Lafayette schools. You may also want to consider Orinda and Moraga as great options too. A good resource to investigate the schools in the area is http://www.greatschools.net.
Each area definitely has its distinctive feel so it may be a personal preference. Personally, I live in Lafayette raising 4 young children under the age of 11 and I absolutely love it. It's a great community to raise kids beyond the schools.
Contact me if you would like to work with me to find you a home. I work with many families with the same concerns and I'm familiar with all the school boundaries and options in the area.
If you have children who will be attending achools, buying in Lafayette is a far superior choice. The Lafayette/Acalanes school districts score much higher than Pleasant Hill/ Mt. Diablo. If you are downsizing and/or have no children of school age, Pleasant Hill is a good value. Some of the neighborhoods, particularly Poet's Corner, have comparable appreciation rates as Lafayette. Be aware when you are searching that there is an unincorporated area of Lafayette that is not in the Lafayette School district. Homes in this area are lower in price for this reason. Also, there is an area of Walnut Creek that is in the Acalanes Union High School district and those students attend Las Lomas High School. You mat also consider Moraga which is a bit lower in price than Lafayette and the schools are excellent.
When purchasing a home, resale value must be considered. Homes in the best school districts definitely command a higher price.
Andy, if you come to visit the Lafayette/Walnut Creek/ Pleasant Hill areas, please give me a call. I would be happy to give you a tour. This will help you become better acquainted with these cities so that you can make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase.
Some areas may appreciate more than others, some schools have higher API scores. Where are your values? Is a bigger house, with more space for your kids, your activities, your kids play space, important? Or are you willing to sacrifice yard, maybe have 2 kids per bedroom, to be in a school district with higher average API scores? Does the longer commute mean way less time with your family? Does that matter if the longer commute means higher API scores, or greater athletic opportunites?
You need to figure out your criteria, and prioritize them. API scores can be important, but if you have a high value on school success, and you as a family emphasize excellence in education, your kids will succeed no matter what school they go to (not a popular realtor idea, but true, nonetheless).
Decide what is important to you. Then find the best house you can get that fills the most items in your priority list - schools, investment, yard, size of house, prestige, commute time, proximity to other family, extra-curricular activities, cash-flow...
If you have any other questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact me. I am a local native who not only attended school here, but I sit on the school board, live here and have been representing buyers and sellers over the last ten years here.
Turn to Ben Franklin.
Here devised the Ben Franklin Balance Sheet.
Take a table and make two columns; Lafayette and Pleasant Hill.
Put down every reason you can think of for either.
Find out about Water Rates, Property Taxes, Eateries, as well as Schools.
The longer list wins.
I vote for Pleasant Hill because it's got a Tahoe Joe's.