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Sacrificing for school

More and more home seekers are sacrificing “normal” amenities to buy their way into a good school district.

According to a study by realtor.com, school district quality ranks above neighborhood, amenities or commute for 73 percent of all prospective homebuyers. That increases to 91 percent for families with children.

Of the home buyers who considered schools important, 78 percent reported making compromises in the home they ultimately purchased. The feature most commonly given up was garages, listed by 19 percent of buyers.

This is notable, as another survey this year indicated large garage space was the most desirable feature homebuyers were looking for. Seventy-five percent of U.S. homeowners don’t use garage space for their cars anymore, instead opting for multi-purpose uses like storage, work space, play areas or exercise rooms.

But the truth is, you can rent storage and you can build storage, but you can’t change the school district.

Savvy home buyers recognize the connection between good schools and strong home values, too.

However, real estate agents are restricted by fair-housing laws from steering clients to homes based on the the quality of schools. Instead, direct clients to school data resources, including websites like Greatschools.org or similar informational sites.

Studies show homes near schools with a 9 or 10 rating from Greatschools.org are priced 77 percent higher than homes near schools scoring 6 or lower.

The high prices in superior school districts usually come with higher property taxes too. A community that invests in its school system generally means more parent involvement in school activities, further improving academics and extra-curriculars.

Nearly 45 percent of survey respondents said that they would pay between 1 and 10 percent above budget to get a home in the school district of their choice.

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