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The Do's And Don'ts Of Finding a Home In a Good School District

By
Real Estate Agent with Maximum One Greater Atlanta Realtors

I see it all the time:  clients come to me with a focus on school district.  However, they make several mistakes.  Here are 3 tips to avoid falling into the same traps:

1.  They select the school districts that they want to be in simply because of the "hype".  They speak with friends and take what they say as the 100% truth.  The truth is that what is a good school for one may not be for another because everyone's criteria are different.  The right way to select your school district is to review the publically available information about your local schools on the Internet (I have plenty of information including test scores, etc. right on my web site, www.RealEstateForAtlanta.com).  Decide for yourself instead of just taking other people's opinions.

2.  They focus solely on high schools when they will not likely be using the high school.  In my area (East Cobb - Atlanta Metro), there are 3 high schools that have the most hype about them and are most sought after for real estate purposes.  What many don't realize is that you can be in a fantastic, highly rated elementary school and middle school without necessarily having the top high school.  You will get alot more home for the money and if you have a child just about to start elementary and don't plan on staying in the same home for 10+ years then why pay the premium for the high school?  Alot can change in 10+ years.

3.  They don't consider the trade-offs.  No matter what price range you are looking in, there is always a tradeoff - you usually have to compromise on something.  Every client I meet who cares about schools always starts out limiting their search to the #1 school district only.  The problem is that there is a huge premium for being in that school district; so you won't get as much home for the price.  I usually work with them for a while and figure out whether they are the types of buyers that are willing to compromise on the size and / or quality of their home just to be in their first choice school district - or if what they really want is a good, well performing school; but they are willing to be in the #2 or #3 ranked school if it means a newer, nicer, or more updated home.