Home buyers do a fair amount of research before contacting a real estate agent. One of the highest criteria on a buyer’s list is the quality of neighborhood schools and how those schools rank relative to other districts.

As recently as last week, Lupe Silva of Silva Real Estate Group had a buyer who was initially looking for a larger home in Morgan Hill. However, after analyzing the ranking of schools in the nearby elementary school, buyers ultimately opted for a smaller house in the Blossom Hill area.

According to the 2015 National Association of Realtors Home Buyers and Sellers Profile, 25% of home buyers cited quality of school and 20% proximity to schools as the deciding factors in their home purchase. There are many publicly available online home search portals such as Zillow, Redfin and others that allow potential home buyers to easily access school reviews.

But what do school grades really mean and how do they impact a home’s affordability?

Doug Goss of Keller Williams Bay Area Estates said, “There is a relationship between property values ​​and school grades and what homebuyers are willing to pay as a premium for a home in a prime school district. Many times our clients will tailor their home search to a specific school district, specific schools, or schools in a particular area.

One of the most popular review sites that potential home buyers use is GreatSchools.org. They base their schools’ rankings on student progress, which measures whether students in a school are making academic progress over time; college readiness, which measures the extent to which schools prepare students to succeed in college; equity assessment, which measures the extent to which schools serve disadvantaged groups of students; and test results.

While these rating sites certainly provide a practical overview of a surrounding school district for a potential home, Goss cautions, “These types of school rating sites are just a data point. Consider contacting and visiting the area school and talking to administrators and staff to find out more about the schools themselves. There are many good schools out there that unfortunately don’t rank particularly well on some of these sites.

In fact, the Santa Clara County Real Estate Association was recently contacted by a member of the East Side Union High School District board of directors who shared the story of a real estate agent showing a property to a client and speaking unfavorably about neighborhood schools based on their ratings. Ironically, this client was the principal of one of the schools.

Needless to say, the school district intended to work with the Santa Clara County Real Estate Association to help publicize the huge investments that have been made in East Side Union schools and the bright future. that awaits the students.

Superintendent Glenn Vander Zee said that since 2002 the community has invested over $ 1 billion in various bond programs that have resulted in award-winning national projects and programs. The district has more than 20 magnet and career path programs, including computer science, engineering, multimedia, and corporate finance programs. They have invested heavily in counselors, social workers and even established wellness centers in all of its comprehensive high schools to support young people throughout their journey from high school to college.

As a result, students who enrolled in the district for the full four years of high school have graduation rates above 90% across all demographic groups.

From a personal point of view, my two children went to public schools in the south of San José. They both received a solid education and are currently attending four-year colleges. When I look at the school marks today for these same public schools, they are not very high. Knowing what I know about these schools and the facility, I wouldn’t want a single data point to deter future families from moving to the area simply on the basis of an academic assessment.

The purpose of these assessments is to help families make informed decisions. However, the value of your child’s education is much more than a number on the computer screen.

San José Spotlight columnist Neil Collins is CEO of the Santa Clara County Real Estate Association, a trade association representing more than 6,000 real estate professionals in and around Santa Clara County. His column appears every fourth Thursday of the month. Contact Neil at [email protected] or follow @neilvcollins on Twitter.

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