Should we buy based on school zones?


Dear David,

Our twins will be starting school this fall. We’ve outgrown our current house and want a larger place in the best school zone in the city. After shopping around, we realize the neighbourhood we want is considerably more expensive than the one we are in now. If we move there we can afford a similar house but not an upgrade, and it’ll add another 25 minutes to our commute. Help, we’re torn about what’s best for our family. – NERVOUS PARENT

DEAR NERVOUS: It sounds like there are many changes ahead as your children prepare to enter the school system. Your daily routine and lifestyle will likely look different as you fall into a weekly pattern peppered with soccer practice, karate tournaments and dance lessons. 

When people upgrade to larger homes, they typically consider a multitude of factors. Parents often start worrying about their children’s education before they’re out of diapers, and it may be a determining factor in the type of home they choose. 

Today’s lifestyles tend to be busy and it’s important to factor in the experiences of all family members. An extra hour a day of commuting, especially when your children are young, can take away from time spent doing homework or pursuing after school activities. School zones are something to consider, but striking the right family balance is equally as important. There are excellent teachers throughout the city, and the lessons they teach during the day can be supported by reading on the couch together or reviewing long division, instead of sitting in traffic.

Being stuck in a house too small for your family is what I would focus on, since that’s where you’ll be spending most of your time. If you can afford the house you want in the school zone you want, you are fortunate. Otherwise, a balanced consideration of school zone versus lifestyle can help you reclaim family time that can’t be replaced. 

Before starting a home search with buyers, I make a list of things that are important to them. School zones often make the list, along with house size, neighbourhood, amenities and proximity to family members. In the grand scheme of things, the best school zone is not a replacement for homework time with mom and dad, or basketball games with grandma and grandpa in the stands.

PRO TIP: Pick your top three housing must-haves, and compare what your budget will buy in several neighborhoods before making a decision. Learning opportunities are everywhere, and your child’s love of science could just as well be ignited by a teacher in the classroom or a robin’s nest in the garden. The “best” school zone in any particular year is something to consider, but not the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to buying a home. #Advice #AskDavid #TheNegotiator

David is a top-selling Broker in Kitchener-Waterloo Region. He works personally with you when selling or buying your home. Call or text today for your free home evaluation! 519-577-1212.