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Ideal Home Features vs. School Districts

housing optimismWith stiff competition for houses a growing trend, today’s buyers are all about compromise. In fact, they’re barely batting an eye at antiquated culinary quarters, tiny yards, and no designated place to park their car, among others.

But when it comes to getting into the right school district, would-be buyers are standing firm, according to a new Realtor.com [1] survey. Some 78 percent of successful buyers who landed a dwelling in their preferred district eschewed home features to get there, the survey [2] says. The ones they most commonly gave up: a garage (19 percent), large backyard (18 percent), updated kitchen (17 percent), the desired number of bedrooms (17 percent), and an outdoor living area (16 percent).

Based on Realtor.com’s spring home buyer survey, those were some serious compromises. According to that report, a garage was the No. 1 feature buyers were seeking this year, followed by an updated kitchen, and an open floor plan.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents maintained that school boundaries were important to their home search, it notes. Just 18 percent said they were unimportant or very unimportant, while 9 percent of buyers were neutral.

The desire for certain schools differed considerably by life stage and age, the survey found. Around 91 percent of buyers with kids said that school boundaries were important or very important, compared with 34 percent of those sans children. Likewise, younger buyers were more inclined to say that schools were important, the survey said. Eighty-four percent of buyers 35–54 years old and 86 percent of those 18–34 years old said they were important, compared with 37 percent of buyers 55-plus. More than half of buyers 55-plus indicated school boundaries were unimportant or very unimportant, the survey says.

As for how buyers define “good schools,” test scores were the element they most frequently selected as a telltale sign (59 percent), trailed by accelerated programs (53 percent), arts and music (49 percent), diversity (43 percent), and before- and after-school programs (41 percent), Realtor.com said.

“Most buyers understand that they may not be able to find a home that covers every single item on their wish list, but our survey shows that school districts are an area where many buyers aren’t willing to compromise,” it says. “For many buyers and not just buyers with children, ‘location, location, location’ means ‘schools, schools, schools.’”