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Homebuyers Willing to Sacrifice 'Must-Haves' in Favor of Good School Districts

Homebuyers are asking the following question more and more often than ever before. "I'd like to find a home in the school district with the highest test scores. Can you help me find my new home?" Years ago, a question like this from a prospective homebuyer would raise eyebrows. Now, test scores and accelerated programs are top features that dominate many homebuying discussions across the country.

In a recent survey from, the old adage "location, location, location" still holds true, but for three out of four buyers, today it really means "school district, school district, school district." This is true for 91% of homebuying families with children.

For buyers that place a high priority on school districts, 78% are making compromises on their home features and their wish lists to live in their ideal school district.

What are buyers giving up to land in the best school districts?

  • 19% gave up a garage (one of today's most desired features)

  • 17% gave up an updated kitchen

  • 18% gave up a large backyard

  • 17% gave up the number of desired bedrooms

  • 16% folded on their desired outdoor living space

Many buyers simply aren't willing to compromise on the school district, even though homes located within these higher–rated school districts are 49% more expensive on average than the median–priced home nationwide, according to a separate study from 2016. Plus, these homes also sell more than a week faster than other properties.

The reason is buyers are attracted to schools with high test scores, accelerated academic programs, art and music programs, diversity, and before and after-school programs.

With a limited number of homes available to buy in today’s real estate market, competition is fierce for homes in good school districts. Danielle Hale, Chief Economist for, explained further,

“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. For many buyers and not just buyers with children, ‘location, location, location,’ means ‘schools, schools, schools."

For buyers across the country, the quality of their children’s (or future children’s) education ranks highest on their must-have lists. Before you start the search for your next home, visit us at to learn about our first-time home buyers mortgage, low interest rates and down payment assistance program.

Note, information in this blog derived from Keeping Current Matters.

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