Now and then you might find that dream home, but, due to where it’s situated, you’re not sure whether you should make an offer for it. One common sticking point concerning location is a property’s proximity to schools.
There are good and bad points when it comes to buying a home near a school. While the general consensus says that the positives outweigh the negatives, it really comes down to your personal preferences. Depending on your circumstances, it may be the best thing ever, or it could be the start of a nightmare. So let’s take a look at both sides of the coin and consider all the potential pros and cons.
If you’re a young family looking for a home that falls into a school catchment area, buying a home near a school seems like a no-brainer! It depends on the age of your kids and the type of school in question, but if it matches up, the location of such a home has many advantages. Proximity means that your kids can safely walk to and from school each day, negating the need for a lengthy commute or bus ride, saving time and money.
If the school in question is reputable, you can be sure there will always be a market for your home. This means a higher potential resale price when the time comes to move on. Investors can use this to their advantage to find long-term tenants who are willing to pay a little more.
Outside of school hours, you can make use of the school facilities: depending on the school, you may have access to a running track, a park and sports pitches. This is great for kids and adults alike, with many schools welcoming organized adult classes and activities, such as martial arts, music and painting.
A school can be seen as merely a part-time neighbour, especially if it’s a smaller, out-of-town facility. For 180 days a year, school’s out, and in the case of elementary schools, the evenings are typically free too.
Finally, school zones are generally seen as safer than other neighbourhoods. This is due to a higher police presence and regular monitoring. Strict speed limits are enforced, meaning you can rest easy when the kids are playing outside.
Above we’ve painted a rather rosy picture, but nothing is ever perfect. In this case, if you don’t have kids and don’t plan to anytime soon, many of the above points will matter little to you. Of course, there are many common home problems you should pay extra attention to, but in this case you might be more concerned about things like higher noise levels during school hours.
From the sound of buses and children playing, to school bells and, in some cases, loudspeakers throughout the day, it might seem like there’s never a moment of peace. In some schools, the facilities are used into the evening and at weekends for noisy sports events, complete with bright flood lights. For those working from home, or working the night shift, the noise can be a real turn off.
If your commute coincides with the start or end of school, you could find your street has become a car park. The combined efforts of buses coming and going, and parents parking here, there and everywhere can ensure you don’t get out of your own street for up to 30 minutes. This might mean spending more time in traffic than you’d like. On top of the gridlock, it’s worth considering the pollution caused by idling engines and stop-start traffic.
Besides the everyday grumbles, school events in the evenings or at weekends can cause even more issues. School emergencies, such as fire drills, air ambulances and other issues can also impact your life. And then there’s the large numbers of kids loitering and potentially trespassing on – or even vandalizing – your property.
These issues can all put other people off buying your home in the future, especially if the school in question has a bad reputation. Even if it’s got a good reputation when you buy it, things can change over the years.
The Decision Is Yours
Above we’ve detailed two very different scenarios. Either one could be true depending on your circumstances, but it’s worth researching and thinking about whether your lifestyle will be positively or negatively impacted by living near a school.
Look at what type of school it is – elementary, middle, or high school. What kind of reputation does it have? Ideally, spend some time in the area during busier periods of the school-day to see how much of an issue things like noise, parking and pollution actually are.
There are no hard and fast rules, and every situation is different. Do your research on the school in question, think about how it could have an impact on your life and make an informed decision. Make your own list of pros and cons and see where the balance lies.