Why Great Schools Matter (Even if You’re Not a Parent)

Row of children looking at books

There are many factors to consider when purchasing a new home, and whether or not you have children, the quality of area schools is definitely one of them. Buying a home in a highly ranked school district might cost you more up front, but the potential benefits can be significant.

The cost of good schools

According to Redfin, buyers pay an average of $50 more per square foot for homes in top-ranked school zones. A 2016 Realtor.com study found that homes in school districts ranked a 9 or 10 by GreatSchools.org are, on average, 49% more expensive than the national median—and 77% more expensive than homes in lower-ranked districts. The study showed that in many markets, buyers were willing to pay more for proximity to a highly ranked district than for features like a shorter commute, an extra bedroom, a swimming pool and even a private dock.

The upshot

You may pay more to live in a good school district, but you can also gain a more valuable investment. According to Zillow, “Even in a down market, an excellent school can be the rising tide that lifts all nearby home prices.” And, in a nationwide study, Redfin found that pricing on nearly identical homes just a short distance apart varied as much as $130,000, based on location in an acclaimed school district.

Realtor.com also found that homes located in well-ranked districts sell more quickly: eight days faster than homes in below-average districts and four days faster than the national median. Another indication of buyer demand: for-sale properties in good districts are viewed approximately 26 percent more than the average home on Realtor.com, and 42 percent more than homes in areas with lower-ranked schools.

Researching ratings

Thanks to sites like GreatSchools.org and Education.org, it’s easy to find school and district rankings. On GreatSchools.org, simply input an address to see the surrounding schools and their test scores, course offerings and parent reviews. You can also work with your agent or your builder’s sales team: at Richmond American, our New Home Specialists are always ready to help you locate the right district for your needs.

RichmondAmerican.com now offers the ability to view GreatSchool rankings for nearly every community; try this feature out and simplify your house hunt today!