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Schools top priority for homebuyers with kids

House hunters with school age children have their sights on quality schools.

A recent Trulia survey showed 35 percent of parents with children under the age of 18 want to live in a high-quality school district. As a contrast, only 12 percent of those without children value school quality. Realtor.com found in a survey that of 1,000 prospective homebuyers 91 percent stated school boundaries were important in their search for a new home.

“For families it ranks as one of the top priorities, especially if their children are going to attend public schools,” Gean B. Haffey IV, CEO of Horizon Realty Group in Las Vegas said. “I would say a good 70 percent of buyers with children make quality of schools a top priority when hunting for a home.”

Jim Brooks, CEO and owner of The Brooks Team and Realtor with Realty One Group, states an estimated 20 to 25 percent of all buyers in the Vegas area focus their home purchase within the school district they want.

“Homebuyers with children that are purchasing a home within the school district they have chosen consider the school as the No. 1 priority for purchasing,” Brooks said.

“They can adjust and adapt to all other features and amenities of a property but if it isn’t in the school district they want, nine times out of 10 they do not even want to see it.”

These studies and trends point to the fact that the quality of education matters to today’s consumer. Potential homebuyers have several options to find a better education for their children including public, private and charter schools in the area.

Haffey and Brooks are seeing a higher percentage of homebuyers looking for specific public school districts with high school rankings but as more charter schools open in the area, they are also becoming a higher consideration. Both public and charter schools have no additional cost, where as private schools can cost an average of $8,500 and more for the school year.

“We are seeing more and more charter schools opening in our community,” Brooks said. “It is a great alternative for parents not wanting to have their children attend public schools but cannot afford the cost of most private schools. Charter schools are free so they are becoming more and more popular.”

Brooks and his team are unable to recommend specific school districts to potential buyers because of the legality and ethical ramifications but note that certain areas of town are requested more than other areas.

“Homebuyers today are very educated and do their research and homework before buying,” Brooks said. “The areas of Las Vegas and Henderson that have schools with the highest school rankings are requested more than areas where the schools have a lower ranking.

“Understand, this is just what we see within our team and so I can’t stay that is the standard for the whole market,” he added as a caveat.

Besides quality of education, school rankings can also impact the value of the home.

Rebecca McClay from MSN money published an article entitled ‘No Kids? Here’s Why You Should Still Buy in a Good School District.’ “It’s a smart move to consider the quality of school districts in your home-buying decision,” McClay writes in the article. “If you do the math, you’ll find that pricier homes in a strong public school district may actually be better bargains than affordable homes in districts where many children attend private schools.”

“It’s a smart move to consider the quality of school districts in your home-buying decision,” McClay writes in the article. “If you do the math, you’ll find that pricier homes in a strong public school district may actually be better bargains than affordable homes in districts where many children attend private schools.”

“Homes in good school districts tend to sell a little better than homes that are not for the simple fact of increased resale value,” Haffey said. “Even if the buyer does not have children they understand and agents will help them understand that good schools will definitely help their resale value.”

Whether purchasing or selling a home, homebuyers need to do their research.

Various on-line tools are available to find out about specific information and ranking for different school districts.

“There are multiple different websites we encourage our buyers to research before making a decision on the school they want,” Brooks said. “Believe it or not, the major real estate websites such as Zillow and Trulia actual provide school rankings for all types of schools. They also provide crime rates and crime tracking as well as most statistics that you would want to see for a residential area with schools.”

“I recommend that they go on to the Clark County School District website and do their own research,” Haffey said. “Also, look for reviews on the Internet and what the public is saying about the schools in the district they are looking for homes in. If they want to go the private and charter school route and want to be near the school, do the research on those schools as well and make sure that the area is appealing to them.”

Other resources include:

• Schooldigger.com provides over all school rankings

• NeighborhoodScout.com reports on crime, school and real estate reports for the neighborhood you’re considering.

• Greatschools.org features reviews written by parents and students of schools in the neighborhood you’re considering. You can also find test scores and other data that may help you decide if this is a school you want your kids to attend.

• LVMPD.com is the Las Vegas Metro Police Department website and is a source for crime rates and crime tracking.

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