Is it Wise to Buy Near a School?
Is it Wise to Buy Near a School?
We’re often told by estate agents that buying in a school zone is a good thing. Properties in school zones are in high demand, they tell us. These are sound investment areas. Top schools, they say, can boost property prices by up to 5-20% with parents keen to guarantee their children a place.
Not to mention the many other positives for families living near a school –
- Just a hop, skip and a jump and you’re at the school gates, ready to throw your kids at the nearest teacher.
- When your kids are old enough, they’ll be able to walk to school alone, leaving you to pop your feet up and catch The Morning Show before you go to work.
- School zones tend to be safer neighborhoods where communities are close, people watching out for one another. Often, they are monitored by local authorities and the police.
- And what about the access to all those great facilities like playgrounds, sports fields and tennis courts?
It’s all too good to be true, right?
If you’re seriously considering buying close to a school, you may want to weigh up the whole scenario, because ultimately, it’s a lifestyle that’s suited to some, but not necessarily others. Before you plunge in, ask yourself how close is too close? Living in near proximity to a school can come with all sorts of problems you may not have thought about. For example:
How do you feel about noise?
Perhaps you work from home or have young children that still nap during the day. Imagine the school bell clanking each morning, lunch time and afternoon; the teacher announcements over the intercom; fire alarms; children screaming; balls bouncing; choir practice; whistles; squeaky recorders… For some people, such sounds are music to the ear, but if you’re a fan of peace and quiet ‘school noise’ could be very disruptive to your daily life.
A street crammed with cars
If you’ve never seen a school zone during pick up and drop off, you may want to take a quick look before you buy into one – cars parked in every vacant space, on nature strips, blocking garages, across driveways. Others queuing to drop kids or circling to find somewhere to park. Then there are the kids on bikes, the school buses, the coaches booked for excursions and camps. And if you don’t have access to a garage or carport, parking could become very frustrating…
Snail pace speed limits
Speed limits around schools drop to 40kph around drop off and pick up times. While this keeps the road relatively safe, it could become frustrating day in, day out if you’re in a hurry.
How are your lungs?
Poor air quality from increased traffic can contribute to or worsen serious illnesses such as asthma, heart disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and pneumonia. It may be worth investigating how bad traffic in the area can get before buying.
Do you like seclusion and privacy?
Picture parents loitering outside your home chatting, kids playing hopscotch in your driveway or dropping litter in your yard, the odd bit of graffiti on your fence. We’d like to think that all people are respectful and courteous, unfortunately it isn’t always the case. Quite often, the behavior of local kids depends on the quality of the school – and some schools have better reputations than others.
Primary school or high school?
Teenagers bring a very different set of problems to younger children: smoking, swearing, littering, graffiti. If you’re considering buying near a high school, you may want to check out the security of the property. Does it have a high fence or wall? A lockable gate?
How does the property stack up as an investment?
Is the house you want to buy suited to the local demographic? Living in a school zone can limit your pool of prospective buyers come sale time. If you’re after a typical family home you’re probably on the safe side, but a small townhouse or unit could become difficult to sell in an area that’s popular with families.
Don’t always rely on what you’re told. Estate agents won’t highlight the problems associated with living near a school. Do you own homework and ask yourself the following questions:
- How noisy is the school?
- How busy is the street?
- How well behaved are the kids attending the school?
We’d love to hear your point of view – do you have a story (good or bad) about living near a school?
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Between April 2016 and May 2017, the median accuracy of REALas predictions was within 5% of the final sale price. REALas predicts potential final sale prices for properties currently advertised for sale.