Home is where the heart is, but more and more home buyers are searching for homes where the education is.
The grandchildren of baby boomers are now raising children of their own and buying homes of their own. When young families go house-hunting, there’s no question they take school districts into account. In fact, it’s usually one of their top considerations.
Realtor.com (the online home of the National Association of Realtors) is capitalizing on this trend with a mobile application that can search for available properties based on the geographic area of a school district or an individual school’s attendance boundaries. In addition to building home searches based on schools and school districts, users can see school ratings and detailed info about schools. They can even sign up to get email alerts when a property becomes available near a specific school.
The function shows parents (and home-buyers looking to start families) what school district a particular property is in. It also lets them see the specific elementary, middle and high schools that their children would attend. Users can search for private and public schools. Realtor.com says it is the first to offer this functionality for smart phones.
Maponics, the geographic information provider, provides the search technology that powers the application. A school-rating nonprofit called GreatSchools feeds data about school quality. School-based search functionality by Maponics is already incorporated into desktop applications offered by Trulia, Estately, Redfin and Century 21, but the Realtor.com app, now available for Android and iPhone platforms, is specifically for home-buyers on the go.
This is big news because even people without children are looking to buy properties in districts with good schools. Why? It makes good investment sense. A great school district will maximize the value of a property. A fixer-upper with great schools nearby might be worth more than a much nicer home with no schools (or with sub-par schools) in the area.
Another reason a buyer should be aware of the local school district has to do with taxes. In many areas, the property taxes are determined by the local education budget, so buyers need to know what to expect.
The good news for real estate professionals is that 89 percent of buyers now purchase their home through a real estate agent or broker. Eighty-eight (88) percent of sellers turn to a real estate agent when selling. So it’s important to understand the factors that drive buying and selling, and the relationship of school districts to home values is no doubt becoming one of the most important of those factors.
Agents needing prelicense training and continuation education can find convenient and affordable online programs tailored to fit each state. In Georgia, for example, 360training.com has real estate license continuing education courses that cover Georgia real estate listing agreements, Georgia’s real estate listings process and real estate listing services to help home-buying families with children. agentcampus.com is also the leading online school for career training for real estate licenses, mortgage continuing education, home inspection, and ongoing professional development.