How do I chose between buying a home in a very good school district (Cherry Hill, NJ) and a mediocre school?

Asked by Wandering And Wondering, Cherry Hill, NJ Thu Apr 2, 2009

district (Lansdale, PA)? If I do opt for the better school district, how do I know it will remain a good school district? The housing stock is getting old (about 40 years) and it really shows. I'm a first-time homebuyer and I'm turned off by the condition of the houses and the property taxes. I'm assuming others would be as well. Isn't it possible within 10 years the neighborhood (and the schools) would deteriorate?

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Gregory Bain, , Ocean County, NJ
Tue Apr 21, 2009
mediocre kids are mediocre in all school districts. I know a lot of people who went to "good" schools and you can't get the devil out of them.
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Kimberly Tho…, Agent, Voorhees, NJ
Tue Apr 21, 2009
Dear Wandering,
The old adage, "you get what you pay for" holds true with respect to neighborhoods and school districts. I tell my clients to assess where they are in life and let that guide them to the town/neighborhood that makes sense for them. If you're just starting out, buy in the best neighborhood with the best school district you can afford. Why? Even if you don't have children now, you may in the near future and don't you want them to have the best education that you can afford them? Also, even if you are not planning to have children but you plan to move up, it's always going to be easier to sell in a community with a reputation for great schools, safety, good lifestyle and great location -- Cherry Hill has all of the above. I understand your concern about the shopworn appearance of some homes and neighborhoods in Cherry Hill. But it is still a very desirable location and I don't see that changing any time even in the distant future. There are homes in Cherry Hill which have been rehabbed, updated and remodeled -- hold out for one of those, and choose a
Realtor who is willing to be patient and help you find that gem. If you are nearing retirement and purchasing your last home, then school district be darned! Just buy the nicest home you can find that fits your needs. Albeit in a safe community. That's my advice.
If you have any other questions, feel free to visit me at my website:
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William Leigh…, , New Jersey
Fri Apr 3, 2009
Wandering: The economist, John Maynard Keynes famously said, when asked to predict the long run, "In the long run we are all dead." Sooo, I will not attempt it myself. Schools are very important in the average pricing of homes. You can almost draw a "positive regression analysis" line between, let's say, Princeton and Cherry Hill and Trenton and Camden. Houses sell more readily and for more money in the first two, believe me.

On the other hand, if you do not have kids in the public schools, you get more house for the money in the lower rated school districts. Unfortunately, that more house may not appreciate as fast as a more modest one in a better school district. Ya pays yer money and takes yer cherse.
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Marilyn Geig…, , 08034
Fri Apr 3, 2009
Dear Wandering,
Its true, taxes are high in Cherry Hill and its because of the schools. Good schools are why the majority of people buy in Cherry Hill. I don't see the current owners abandoning the schools (the reason they've chosen Cherry Hill) just because the houses are 40 years old. History has proven that Cherry Hill homes maintain their value, that too is because of the schools.

Cherry Hill isn't the only township that has good schools. Voorhees, Mount Laurel, Evesham/Marlton all have very competitive schools, the houses are "younger" and the taxes could be lower because the high schools are regional.

As a first time buyer the old saying "buy the cheapest house in the best neighborhood" still works and in this market you should have plenty to choose from. You didn't mention your circumstances but if you can move into a fixer upper and make it the jewel of the neighborhood then you've created the home to be envied and the opportunity to boot strap your investment and move up.

Your assumption that other are just as "turned off by the condition of the houses and the property taxes" is focusing on a false premise. History proves the stability of the area and thats because of the schools. I don't see that changing.

This link is to the current report card for NJ schools by county. Marlton and Mount Laurel are in Burlington County. Cherry Hill and Voorhees are in Camden County. It will give you some other choices for schools in these two counties.

Good Luck with your search.

Marilyn Geiger, Realtor Associate
Weichert Executive Club - Top 5%
CRS - Certified Residential Specialist
ABR - Accredited Buyer Representative
Cherry Hill, NJ 08003
Cell Phone: 609-238-0465
Marilyn the Matchmaker
Connecting Sellers with Buyers
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Thu Apr 2, 2009
You need establish short/ long personal and professional goals, Questions are very valid. Many families choose is better schools districts in most communities across US once those are established little to no decline, those homes usually hold value.

~ National Featured Realtor and Consultant, Lecturer regarding Credit Repair, Mortgage Loan Officer
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