Field Guide to Schools and the Home Buying Decision
(Updated November 2016)
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 National Association of REALTORS® 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 25% of home buyers listed school quality and 20% 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)
E - EBSCO articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the EBSCO Access Information page.
Schools and the Home Buying Decision
School Quality and Property Values: Perpetuating Housing Segregation?, (Law Street, Oct. 25, 2016).
3 Surprising Ways Public Schools Affect Your House Hunt, (Home Towne Realty, Aug. 1, 2016).
No Kids? Here’s Why You Should Still Buy in a Good School District, (Trulia, Sept. 9, 2015).
School quality has a mighty influence on neighborhood choice, home values, (The Washington Post, Sept. 3, 2015).
Buying a House? If You Have (or Want) Kids, Consider the Schools, (U.S. News & World Report, May 12, 2015).
Why You Need to Research School Districts When Buying a Home, (Public School Review, Mar. 3, 2015).
Are the Higher Home Values Worth Living Near a School?, (AOL Real Estate, Jan. 5, 2015).
Impact of Schools on Property Values
How Much Do School Districts Affect Real Estate Prices?, (realtor.com®, June 1, 2016).
What is the Connection Between Home Values and School Performance?, (Public School Review, May 30, 2016).
9 Neighborhood Features That Hamper Values, (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 27, 2016).
How Schools Can Impact Home Prices, (Maximum Exposure Real Estate, Jan. 11, 2015).
Why the School District Should Impact Your Home Search, (HomeFinder, Aug. 7, 2014).
How Quality Schools Affect Your Property Values YouTube6, (West Cleremont School District, Oct. 24, 2013).
School Spending Raises Property Values, (National Bureau of Economic Research, n.d.).
Schools: What to Consider When Selecting a Home
2016’s States with the Best & Worst School Systems, (WalletHub, Aug. 1, 2016).
Why We Chose the Worst School in the District, (Root of Good, Jan. 26, 2015).
School rankings don't tell you what you need to know, (Greater Greater Washington, July 18, 2012).
Public Schools — A Toolkit for REALTORS®, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2012).
Class Struggle: 10 Ways to Pick the Right Public School District, (The Washington Post, Sept. 26, 2009).
Knowing the community before selecting a new home, (University of Illinois Extension Fact Sheet, 2001).
The school visit: what to look for, what to ask, (GreatSchools, n.d.).
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®. Many states and local areas also make their school district information available online. Websites of the state departments of education are a good start, along with those of local newspapers. The following are a few sample websites:
National Center for Education Statistics
Publishes information on all levels of education, from preschool to graduate school.
A listing of private companies in 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:
- GreatSchools: Your community resource to find and share information about schools.
- Neighborhood Scout: Receive patented school ratings and other data.
- Private School Review: Learn about private schools, find schools, get admissions tips, and financial aid help.
- Project Appleseed: The national campaign for public school improvement.
- School Digger: Ranks schools on a 5-star system, and also shows rankings by test scores.
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)
Neighbors & Neighborhoods (OverDrive, 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:
Have an Idea for a New Field Guide?
Click here to send us your suggestions.
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.