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Education’s Role in the Homebuying Process

It’s back to school for many children in the U.S. And the quality of that school plays a large role for many prospective homebuyers, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

A new report from the NAR—“2019 Moving With Kids”—says 53% of buyers with children living at home under the age of 18 said the quality of school districts is an important factor when choosing their new homes.

Additionally, 50% reported the convenience to schools played a role in their decision.  Buyers with children, on average, purchased larger homes at 2,110-square-feet with four bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms. Families without children at home had houses that average 1,800-square feet with three bedrooms, and two bathrooms.

Despite the large size, homeowners with children said their homes being too small was the main reason they would look to sell, according to 25% of respondents. This is compared to the 11% of respondents from people without children who said their homes are too large. 

Those without children at home said the biggest reason they want to sell is to move closer to family at 18%. 

Another large reason for many homeowners with families that want to sell is job relocation, with 19% saying it was a contributing factor. Twelve percent of homeowners without children said job relocation was a main reason they moved. 

Zillow reported earlier this summer that 25% of prospective homebuyers with children go over budget when searching for a home. 

Zillow’s report also revealed that 31.5% of parents with children were initially denied a mortgage, a large gap from 11.5% of parents without children.

Two-thirds of buyers that have children under the age of 18 made sacrifices on their home search, including sacrificing a shorter commute (34.1%), a larger home (31.2%), and desired finishes (32.7%).

"Having kids is a major destabilizer in life – their needs are constantly changing and seemingly impossible to anticipate. Combine all that uncertainty with a massive financial decision that inevitably requires tough tradeoffs among a limited set of options and has to be wrapped up in time to move before school starts and you've got one of the biggest challenges around," said Skylar Olsen, Zillow's Director of Economic Research. "As markets cool, parents will have more time to breathe and reflect on what tradeoffs they're willing to make. With interest rates back down, they'll be more able to lock in an affordable monthly payment that will last through college. The trick is finding the home that still fills the family's needs as toddlers turn into kids, kids into teenagers, and teenagers into the young adults in your basement. Luckily, most buyer parents end up with a home they love."

About Author: Mike Albanese

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Mike Albanese has worked for news publications since 2011 in Texas and Colorado. He has built a portfolio of more than 1,000 articles, covering city government, police and crime, business, sports, and is experienced in crafting engaging features and enterprise pieces. He spent time as the sports editor for the "Pilot Point Post-Signal," and has covered the DFW Metroplex for several years. He has also assisted with sports coverage and editing duties with the "Dallas Morning News" and "Denton Record-Chronicle" over the past several years.

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  Editor’s note: this piece originally appeared in the October edition of MReport. The Five ...

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