The Importance of Schools – The Real Value

The Importance of Schools – The Real Value

     We are often asked by prospective home buyers the question, “How are the schools in this neighborhood, or district?” The perception of good or bad schools can play a significant role for a family with school aged children. The question of real estate value applies to everyone. One may not have kids, but make no mistake, a bad or good school label could affect real estate values.
     The short answer is that there is no short answer. This article is not meant to be an end all discussion of how to locate the right school for your kids, but to evoke some thought on the subject.
     If you’re considering a particular state to relocate to based on schools, you would find out that Arizona does not have a stellar education reputation. You would discover that it spends far less money per student than most states in our public schools. If you were to dig deeper, however, you would also discover that Arizona happens to be home to some of the best schools in the country – that’s right, the USA. In fact, U.S. News and World Report ranked 3 Arizona Basis Charter schools in the top ten national  ( Article) .  Basis wasfounded in Tucson in 1998 by Michael Block, Ph.D. and Olga Block, Ph.D. They decided to open a school that would educate students at an internationally competitive level. For more information on charter schools, check out:
     Upon further examination you would find that there are excellent public schools interspersed throughout our communities. I recommend folks check out which supplies an amazing amount of school information including test scores, per student financial expenditures, school report cards, and parent comments. One note of caution however, when comparing test scores, understand that MANY of our under performing schools are in areas where there is a large non-English speaking child population, but for some of those schools, there was definite and measured student score improvement as they moved up in grade levels. I would have to say those schools were a success. You may want to check out this link: regarding school test scores.
     The problem that out of area prospective buyers have is where do they begin? Well again, I’d start with: From there, you can then do further research and even visit the schools you’re considering. Engage in school chat rooms too. Talk to teachers. It takes time to research, I know. But what better investment can you think of?

MUBs (Move Up Buyers) May Be Back in the Buying Hunt!

Besides some recent evidence that Millennial buyers are moving off the buying sidelines onto the real estate playing field, another block of mostly idled buyers, known as MUBs, (Move-Up-Buyers) may now be suiting up to play as well. If so, our market will continue to heat up – even more.

MUBs will be a large number of new buyers that will fill in the buying blanks of higher price ranges above those of the millennials who would typically be buying in the more affordable lower price ranges.

MUBs have been mostly inactive due to a foreclosure or short sale or not having enough equity in their home to close the sale without having to write a check. A rising market and improved credit are enabling this new freedom. As mentioned in past blogs these previous homeowners get released from the “penalty box” starting this year and will continue for an additional 2-3 years following 2015.

Importantly also is the current willingness of sellers to accept offers from buyers “contingent” on the sale of their existing home. You can thank a healthy and normalized market for that.

How do we know this is happening? Take a look at Michael Orr’s (ASU) recent Cromford Report chart comparing normal non-distressed sales under contract today (April 13th) compared with the same date last year in 2014. We can see where demand is highest:


Price Range Under Contract Annual Growth
Under $100K 587 -6%
$100K-$150K 1771 +5%
$150K-$200K 2440 +33%
$200K-$300K 2940 +29%
$300K-$400K 1389 +41%
$400K-$500K 660 +35%
$500K-$600K 329 +44%
$500K-$800K 287 +14%
$800K-$1M 118 +10%
$1M-$1.5M 122 +7%
$1.5M-$2M 60 +7%
$2M-$3M 33 -23%
Over $3M 32 +115%


Interesting enough the lower ranges are down, but this is due to lack of inventory. Under contract homes from $150,000 to $600,000 pricing have enormously increased. The $300,000 to $600,000 (move up range) and even the $600,000 to $1,000,000 range all are experiencing double digit increases. And the market with the largest increase? Amazingly it’s over $3 Million.

For sellers, the good news continues. For buyers, the prices you see today, will be soon changing upwards. And if that happens, you’ll have the MUB’s to thank – or curse.

Buying vs. Renting – What Should I do?

The choice to buy or rent has always been a difficult one, and the answer is not always the same for everybody.

In the beginning, buying a home IS more expensive than
renting. You need money for a down payment, closing costs, and
maybe even some new furniture!
But in the end, buying your home and holding onto it for the
long haul is almost ALWAYS the smarter financial move. Why
you ask?

1. The cost of your mortgage will remain fairly consistent even as
prices around you move up and up due to inflation and other
reasons. So even if your monthly payment is more in the first few
years, eventually you will actually be paying less than those
who are renting around you!
2. After paying a mortgage for 30 years, what you have is an asset
worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and no more mortgage
to pay! After 30 years of renting what do you have? Uhh… more
rent to pay.

Buying a home can be a scary thing, and don’t be deceived; it is
not something that should be done casually. It does require
planning and a personal assessment of your budget vs. the costs.
I do personally believe however, that it is something that every
reasonable individual or family should work and plan towards.
The first step is always to figure out where you stand financially
and what you can afford. The best way to do that is to speak with
an experienced loan professional. You may be surprised what is
out there in your budget! For example, if you’re paying $1000 a
month in rent, that translates to the monthly cost of a
$150-160,000 home, given today’s interest rate.

Give me a call and I can put you in touch with an experienced
loan professional that can analyze your options at no cost or
obligation. Even if you find you’re not quite ready to buy, at least
you will have a place to start and can begin planning for the

The longer you wait in life to buy your first home, the longer it will
be before you can stop paying rent or a mortgage forever!