Author Topic: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?  (Read 3150 times)

rsquared

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Hi everyone! My DH has a new job in another state and we'll be moving there this summer. The school district where his work will be is not very good, and just a few miles away there is a very highly ranked school district. I wonder... should we focus on getting a house that's right next to work but in a bad school district, or get a house 5 miles away in the much better school district? I work from home, so there would be no commute for me.

Here are some more details.
1. Even if we choose to live right next to work, biking is not an option. This area is a very steep, hilly, one-lane, industrial area where even driving feels like a risk. Therefore, driving to work it shall be.
2. The difference between living right next to work and living in the great school district is between 5 and 6.5 miles (one-way), depending on where exactly we get the house (the closer the better!)   
3. We have NO kids right now, which means we won't have school-aged kids for at least 5 years (or however long it takes kids to go to kindergarten). This makes me think, why are we even worrying about school districts NOW if we're not even using them?
4. As a follow-up to point number three... we've considered living next to work in the bad school district for a few years and then move to the great school district when we actually have school-aged kids. BUT, as I said above, the work area is very industrial and not at all family/kid-friendly which makes us want to run to the great school district area (that has parks, grocery stores, etc. nearby).

So, what do you think? Any thoughts or recommendations you have will be more than welcome!

Bstarr

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 14
Re: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2015, 11:20:25 PM »
School districts help protect property values in economic downturns.  Unless the industrial neighborhood is up and coming, I'd opt for the 5 mile commute...

Sid Hoffman

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 737
  • Location: Southwest USA
Re: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2015, 11:48:19 PM »
School districts help protect property values in economic downturns.  Unless the industrial neighborhood is up and coming, I'd opt for the 5 mile commute...

Yeah 10 of 10 times I would pick the neighborhood with the best schools.  Those areas tend to be the best investments for homes regardless if you're buying to live in or looking to rent the house out.  The best schools also are often lower crime areas, which also tends to mean better home values/appreciation.

mtn

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1260
Re: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2015, 11:59:10 PM »
My parents are looking at downsizing, and moving out of their current town because they no longer have the need for the good school district and the corresponding higher taxes. Except they've found that the good school district comes with a ton of other residuals they don't want to give up. Aside from that, why would you buy a house in the industrial area (not sarcasm, serious question)? What does it have going for it other than work proximity? From the investment standpoint, treat the house as worthless. Does it have something else holding the value up, that you can't get elsewhere? This would be something like the school district, or a waterfront property, or desirable farm land, or...

Go to the good area, assuming the round trip commute is no more than 30 minutes.

Field123

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 98
Re: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2015, 07:01:26 AM »
School districts help protect property values in economic downturns.  Unless the industrial neighborhood is up and coming, I'd opt for the 5 mile commute...

Yeah 10 of 10 times I would pick the neighborhood with the best schools.  Those areas tend to be the best investments for homes regardless if you're buying to live in or looking to rent the house out.  The best schools also are often lower crime areas, which also tends to mean better home values/appreciation.

Agreed completely. As a realtor I can tell you that there is no question that neighborhood's with good school districts both hold and increase in value at a rate that far outpaces poor school districts. Plus neighborhoods with good school districts just tend to be better places to live on top of it.

MsPeacock

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1456
  • Location: High COL
Re: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2015, 12:14:20 PM »
Good school district and happy that it is only a 5 mile commute and you can afford a house in the "good" area. Many people have to choose a super long commute to get both decent schools and affordable housing. Good schools mean a lot of other good things - like people being invested financially in having a good school, being available to volunteer at the school, etc.

FoundPeace

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
Re: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2015, 01:43:37 PM »
Take the good school district! That is really great that it is only 5 miles away. I really wish we could do that, but in my area the choice is:
1. Expensive, bad school district, crime, really close
2. Very expensive (600k+), great school district, a little crime, about 5 miles away
3. Inexpensive, good school district, very low crime, but 15 miles away

Even though it is so far away, we are learning towards the good school district option.

rsquared

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2015, 03:20:38 PM »
Thanks, everyone. It's really good to see what you all think. Really, being closer to work doesn't offer anything at all other than the short distance. It looks like we'll count ourselves lucky that it's only a 5 mile trip and go for the great school district with the happier life!

Thanks!

Ricky

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 843
Re: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2015, 04:18:04 PM »
I'd rather be closer to work. If I'm buying a house, I'd buy it for ME, not imaginary people I might sell to one day. Otherwise, I wouldn't be buying a house at all. Buying for appreciation is silly for a personal home, and buying for appreciation when investing is just plain dumb. Plus, neighborhoods change. Then again, so do careers, so I guess it's a wash. Pick your favorite.

...that's my general recommendation. For you? Definitely the better neighborhood. What's a few miles?

couponvan

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2848
  • Location: Illinois
    • My journal
Re: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2015, 04:47:20 PM »
My 2 cents is go as cheap as you can until you actually have a child at the age where you actually need to worry about the school district and maximize your savings until then.  Those investments (not to mention time for life in general by not commuiting) will pay off later.  Don't buy more house than you need until you really need it.  Since you don't even have children yet, it makes no sense to buy in the good school district.  Save that money and let it grow. You'll have less of a mortgage later by stashing more money now. 

Why the hell are we going shopping? Buy sh*t, return other sh*t, go through sh*t and donate sh*t. Complain about having too much sh*t. Repeat. (Bracken Joy 2/17)




mozar

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2419
Re: Buying a house - Prioritize school district or distance to work?
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2015, 09:36:07 PM »
I would buy in a good school district because of the other amenities, grocery's etc. I would rather live in a nice community than right next to work. Unless traffic is a major issue.
Embracing the absurd condition of human existence while also defiantly continuing to explore and search for meaning