How schools impact buying decisions on family homes

ASK any property expert what the most important element is when looking to purchase their primary residential property and most would say location.

The age old mantra of location, location, location is as relevant as always and stands firm in today’s market, however the question is what determines a good location and how do those elements impact on buying decisions?

“One aspect that affects whether an area is regarded as a good location in terms of property investment is the proximity to amenities such as shopping malls and medical facilities,” says CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa Adrian Goslett.

“Another very important element that is playing a massive role in where people choose to purchase property, and therefore driving demand in general, is the proximity to schools.

“While buyers are concerned with the appreciation potential of their property, many family buyers are more concerned about how the area they live in could impact their children’s education.”

Goslett says that most government schools have specific feeder areas, which means children from those areas will get preference when enrolling at the school. While some schools may consider a parent’s work address, depending on whether they have space available in the school, as a general rule it is the child’s home address that will determine zoning.

“Zoning rules are influencing buying decisions as many buyers are choosing the suburb they want to live in based on the school they want their child to attend.”

The Department of Education stipulates that schools must prioritise enrolments by the parent’s residential address, which includes parents who reside at their place of employment, as in the case of a domestic worker.

Next on the list would be children whose parents’ employment address are within the feeder zone, followed by applicants outside of the feeder areas that will be assessed on a first come, first serve basis.

Once all available spaces have been filled, the remaining applicants will be placed on a waiting list. The provincial Department of Education has an obligation to find all children on the waiting list a placement; however it obviously may not be at the parent’s first choice of school.

Goslett says family buyers that have a particular school in mind can research which areas fall within the feeder zone, to narrow down their property search.

“Even if a buyer does not currently have children, but plans to in the future, it is important to look at the schools in the area and plan for the eventuality of becoming a parent.

“Purchasing a property should be viewed as a long-term commitment, so buyers will need to have an idea of what they plan to do in the future and how the area or property they purchase could impact on those plans,” says Goslett.

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