Field Guide to Schools and the Home Buying Decision
(Updated August 2014)
Of all the local neighborhood amenities that can influence a buyer's decision to purchase a home, proximity to good quality schools is one of the most influential. According to the 2013 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 29% of home buyers listed school quality and 22% listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase. This field guide includes articles and studies on the importance of schools for home buyers and how schools impact local property values, along with a sampling of websites that provide data on school districts. (C. Dodge, Information Specialist)
Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page.
Schools and the Home Buying Decision
The good school-expensive home dilemma, (The Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2014).
Affording a House in a Highly Ranked School Zone? It’s Elementary, (Redfin, Sept. 25, 2013).
Survey Finds School Boundaries Play Major Role in Home Buying, (Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®, Aug. 1, 2013).
Back-to-School Home Search Tips, (realtor.com®, July 30, 2013).
Weighing the Importance of School Districts When Purchasing a Home, (NFM Lending, June 12, 2013).
Research Schools Before Buying a Home, (ActiveRain, Oct. 29, 2010).
How to Evaluate Schools Before Making Your Homebuying Decision, (New Homes Guide, Aug. 31, 2010).
Impact of Schools on Property Values
The Right School District: How Much Do Schools Affect Real Estate Prices?, (realtor.com®, Aug., 2013).
Study: $50 More Per Square Foot for Homes Near Good Schools, (REALTOR® Magazine, Sept. 26, 2013).
Schools and Real Estate Values, (bubbleinfo.com, June 27, 2010).
One Antidote to Foreclosures: Good Schools, (The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 16, 2011).
Do Schools Really Affect Property Values?, (BiggerPockets, Apr. 6, 2011).
Good Schools, Bad Real Estate, (Wall Street Journal, June 25, 2010).
Do good schools or good neighbors raise property values?, (UCLA / Dartmouth College, Apr. 2004).
Schools: What to Consider When Selecting a Home
The school visit: what to look for, what to ask, (GreatSchools, n.d.).
Class Struggle: 10 Ways to Pick the Right Public School District, (The Washington Post, Sept. 26, 2009).
How to Find Good Schools When You Move, (Demo Analytics, Aug. 16, 2013).
Public Schools — A Toolkit for REALTORS® , (National Association of REALTORS®, 2012).
Reading, writing, and real estate: REALTORS® working to improve public education, (On Common Ground, Winter 2005).
Knowing the community before selecting a new home, (University of Illinois Extension Fact Sheet, 2001).
School Quality Information on the Web
There are numerous sources on the Web offering data on schools and school districts. The reports they provide vary in detail and cost, but almost always have useful information for home buyers and REALTORS®. The following are a few sample websites:
National Center for Education Statistics
The center publishes information on all levels of education, from preschool to graduate school.
A listing of private companies around the U.S. that provide reports on school districts is available on the Open Directory Project.
State and local sources
Many states and local areas also make their school district info available online. Websites of the state departments of education are a good start, along with those of local newspapers. For example:
- School District Profiles, (Massachusetts Department of Education).
- Florida School Indicators Report, (Florida Department of Education).
- Illinois School Report Card, (The Chicago Tribune).
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
In The Neighborhood: The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time (Kindle, Adobe eReader)
Love Your Neighborhood (Adobe eReader)
The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Home Buying Checklists, (Kindle, Adobe eReader)
Tips & Traps When Buying a Home, (Kindle, OverDrive, Adobe eReader)
Field Guides & More
These field guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:
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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.