Schools are back in session, and amid the hustle to get lunches packed and kids on the bus, there's a real estate layer that becomes particularly in-focus during this time of year. How can schools impact the home-buying process and resale value? Lou Nimkoff, president of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association, shares his insights in this exclusive RISMedia interview:
How can school vicinity impact a home's resale value?
A good school district can increase buyer demand for the homes within the area, which increases home values. Homes located in high-scoring school districts attract more buyers, including parents who want their children to go to good schools and others who understand that a good school district helps protect a home's resale value.
On the flip side, a struggling school district can experience less buyer demand, which restrains home values. In addition, a low-scoring public school can decrease the availability of amenities in the area and increase the proportion of renters to homeowners.
Is there a difference in resale value for homes near private schools versus public schools, or in between different levels of schooling (elementary, middle or high school)?
Home prices are generally not as impacted by nearby private schools, since attendance to private schools is not predicated on home location. That same theory can sometimes apply to public schools: Even if two elementary schools feed into the same high school, the more desirable elementary school could easily command higher home prices within its attendance boundary.
How can REALTORS® educate buyers about school districts and the surrounding neighborhoods without violating local and real estate laws?
REALTORS® must be the "source of the source" when it comes to educating buyers about districts and schools. In Florida, for one example, school choice laws often cause confusion and assumptions. REALTORS® are advised not to tell buyers that their children can attend a specific school regardless of the home's location thanks to the choice laws; instead, all school district information should come from local records.
What resources can REALTORS® provide buyers regarding school districts/rankings?
REALTORS® should, of course, direct buyers to districts' and individual schools' websites. State departments of education are another good source. Private publications and online entities uncovered by a simple Google search gather data and post reviews, and many offer rankings.
What should buyers look for education-wise when house hunting?
Buyers should explore the districts' websites and visit schools personally to meet with administrators when home-hunting with education in mind. They should also be aware of educational options offered by the district that are not dependent on home location, such as magnet programs and charter schools.
For example, many lower-performing high schools in Florida house International Baccalaureate programs and many lower-performing elementary schools receive additional financing and special support; the homes surrounding these schools may be priced lower than those in better districts nearby, yet still offer good educational opportunities.