Post # 1
Darling Husband and I are starting a very preliminary search for our first house. We don’t really have a specific location in mind, just anywhere within a 30min commute of his work. We found one area with gorgeous houses in our budget, but it’s in a not-so-great school district. I’m not concerned about that for us, we don’t plan on having kids for at least 5 more years, so we’d likely have moved into a bigger house by the time our kids would be school-age anyways.
But would this slaughter us for resale? I don’t mind not making a huge profit by selling the house, but I definitely don’t want to be stuck with our house on the market for months and months because it’s in a bad school district. So, if you didn’t plan on having kids or planned on having them after a move, would you buy a house in a bad school district?
If it provides context, the school district is given a B- on Niche.com and a 4.5/10 on Great Schools.
Post # 2
fourthnoel : I personally would not. I bought in the best school district I could afford for two reasons. One, resale. Two, shit happens and even if I planned on moving up and out when the time comes for kids it might not be possible. I didn’t want to get “stuck” with a bad school system (or paying for private) if the market changed and I either couldn’t sell my house or the houses in my ideal location skyrocketed beyond our means. In our experience we’ve seen the latter happen in our community. We bought before the market took off and there is no way we would ever be able to afford a single family home in our town now – not even the fixer uppers would be within our reach anymore even though we make nearly $70k/year more now than when we bought 6 years ago.
Post # 3
I bought an amazing house in a crappy school district, and my fiancé and I don’t plan on having kids.
It doesn’t keep me awake at night, ever. I won’t be reselling anytime soon, and I’m in a better neighborhood (and bigger house) for much less than if I’d landed in a “desirable” school district. Also, it’s nice to be surrounded by retired people and established households without tons of kids running around. It’s quiet.
Post # 4
I think it really depends on the market. I live in a state that ranks bottom-10 in the country for public education. In our city/surrounding area, to get into the 7-8/10 ranked schools, you have to spend a solid $50-$100K over our max budget for a fixer upper, and they don’t tend to go up for sale very often. On the flip side, you can get a very nice and affordable house in a safe neighborhood with a 4-5/10 school for well UNDER our budget. So, if we stay here, our kids will go to mediocre schools. It’s not something that worries me, because a lot of the hype around “bad” schools is racist/classist (as in, if you’re the white kid of two college-educated parents who have time/money to invest in you and your hobbies/SAT prep, going to a mediocre school won’t hurt you). We wouldn’t have to worry about resale, because all of the affordable houses are in mediocre-to-bad school zones.
Post # 5
Don’t do it. We did. We bought in 2010 in a mediocre school district, thinking that we weren’t planning on kids for a few years anyway, and then we’d have another 5-6 to actually move before they went to school. No problem right? Well we had dd in 2015, and man did those years creep up fast. Ages 1-3 were kind of a blur, and all of a sudden we were like…uhhh…guess we better get on that! We just moved recently and she will go to kindergarten in September.
During the summer when we wanted to move the market was INSANE. Houses had multiple offers before they even hit the MLS. Prices were sooo jacked up. We got lucky and did get the house we wanted, but it was crazy stressful. It would have been much nicer to have bought during a less busy time without all the added pressure.
As pp said you never know how the market will be in 5, 10 years. Realtor fees, closing costs, movers, etc are very, very expensive too. Don’t do it more than you need to. And make sure you keep in mind that if you /do/ have children by then, you’ll have a big chunk of money going to daycare if you both work.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but I wish we had held out for a house in the good school district and not felt pressured to move a second time within 10 years. It would have saved us a good chunk of money and stress.
Post # 6
Location, location, location. PPs have already covered all the reasons why.
Post # 7
It really does depend on the totality of the circumstances. I used to live in an area of the country (and even more specifically a particular county) known for its poor school districts but my development was largely made up of high end houses (it was near the coast and had other desirable attributes) because the reality was, most people sent their kids to private schools. In that case, living in a bad school district had little to no effect on re-sale values. Barring that though, I do think you’re smart to consider it.
Post # 8
fourthnoel : I bought a gorgeous house at a steal of a price in a crappy school district…one I used to work for, actually. Hubs and I are not planning on kids, but even if we had them, I now moved on from that district and work at a private academy. Any kids we may have would go there for free.
Post # 9
dianaj17 : yeah, I think we’ll have to do more research on the surrounding area. From a brief search, it looks like surrounding school districts are a bit better, but not hugely (all score B on Niche or 6/10 on Great Schools).
So if it turns out that the wider area just tends to have lower ranked districts, we’ll probably be okay? But if surrounding districts are better, that’s when we may run into resale issues.
Post # 10
Nope. While there are lots of options where we’re looking in terms of private schools/charter schools, I’d like to know that even if LO doesn’t go to any of those, his zoned neighborhood school is a great one.
Post # 11
School district was at the top of our list in terms of must haves. That and acreage were the two non negotiables… I can fix a house to meet other criteria but I cannot change its location and school district will always be important in resale
Post # 12
- Wedding: April 2021 - City, State
Well, my fiance and I are CFBC and there was a neighborhood we were looking at that had an elementary school that had a history of being mediocre though lately it has been improving on its scores, but to us it wouldn’t have mattered. Our neighborhood has a good elementary school and is within walking distance for most teenagers of a good local high school, but this wouldn’t matter since we aren’t planning on having any kids.
Post # 13
fourthnoel : Definitely do your research. I’m guessing many of the bees posting had either the income or a surplus of good school districts to choose from, but for many of us, the options are “bad”, “mediocre”, or “be extremely house poor but live in a good school district”. If your area is all in the 5-7/10 range, and there’s no 8-9/10 school district with similar home prices nearby, you’ll be fine.
Post # 14
Nope. Schools and their rankings were super high on our priority list. Even if you don’t have any kids of your own in this house it will be important for resale.
Post # 15
No. When we bought our house schools were high on our priority. Mostly for resale, but I wouldn’t buy a home if I knew i’d have to move within 5-7 years. IMO, it’s not worth buying a home that you KNOW you’re going to have to move out of before kids/within a short period of time.