The Pros and Cons of Buying Property Next to a School

by | BiggerPockets.com

Finding a suitable property can be challenging, especially if you have very specific criteria about what you look for in your home, your neighborhood, and your new city. Sometimes the best possibilities might be located near a school, which can be a boon for some—especially those with children, or those attending college—and a deal breaker for others. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of living next to a school.

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Pro: Affordability

Neighborhoods near schools and colleges—college towns in particular—tend to have a lower cost of living than other surrounding areas. This is largely because a good number of the properties are rented to students who attend class and might not have a lot of money.

Choosing a home near a school might be more affordable for you than another comparable home in a different neighborhood.

Con: Increased Traffic

If near a school, expect to see an influx in traffic at certain times of the day during drop-off and pick-up times. Depending on the size of the school, this could potentially lower nearby air quality as well as generate a lot of noise during the beginning and end of the school day.

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Related: How I Landed a Solid 4-Plex in Denver, One of the Hottest Markets in the Country

Pro: Nearby Playground

This is a plus for parents with younger children—often, nearby schools will have a playground accessible to the community after school lets out, so you don’t have to pack everyone in the car for a trip to the nearby park. Depending on the age of your children, you may feel safe letting them go out to play alone, which can help to foster independence in students.

If the school doesn’t have a playground on the property, there may be opportunities in the future after you move in to fundraise to have a professionally constructed playground installed at the school for the students to enjoy.

Con: Noisy Neighbors

Any time you get a lot of kids in one area, it’s bound to cause noise. If you prefer a quiet neighborhood, choosing a home near a school isn’t the best idea for you. You could hear everything from students playing during recess to the bells marking the beginning and end of each class.

In general, these sounds will cease around the end of the school day, but you may also have to contend with the sounds of after-school sporting events and other activities that can carry on long into the evening.

Pro: Increased Property Value

Homes located near schools—especially good schools—are often coveted by home buyers. Many home shoppers willingly pay a premium to live near a good school for their children. One survey of potential home buyers found 20 percent of them would pay up to 10 percent more than their budget for a home near a good school, and up to 10 percent were willing to increase their budget by 20 percent. Being near a good school can increase the value of your home, which is important for anyone looking sell in the near future.

Con: Harder to Sell

While the proximity to a school can increase a home’s value, on the other side of the coin it also makes it harder to sell the property if you want to move. For many people, living near a school is a good thing, but other people would rather live in a box than buy a home near a school, so it shrinks your potential buyer pool.

Your ability to sell your home will also depend on the quality of the school. Poorly-rated schools—and this includes schools for all grade levels including colleges—will make it harder to sell your home than schools that have a high rating or thought of highly.

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Related: 6 Deal-Breakers that Disqualify a Market for Real Estate Investment

Pro: Part-Time Neighbors

If you worry about noisy neighbors, you won’t have to worry about school noise during more than 180 days during the year. The school will be empty during vacations and during the summer, and for the most part the school will be quiet during the afternoon hours, so if you prefer only having neighbors during half the year, living near a school is a great option.

Con: School Emergencies

School emergencies will affect the neighborhood around them. Even if there is no actual emergency, a pulled fire alarm means all of the students have to evacuate until the school can be checked by emergency services to ensure it’s safe for students to return.

Depending on the layout of the school, you could end up with students camping out in your front yard or on the sidewalk in front of your house while they wait for the fire department.

During other emergencies like hurricanes, schools often become shelters for the local residents who need to evacuate from their homes, which leads to additional noise, traffic and parking problems.

Ultimately, Make the Decision That Suits Your Goals

Whether you want to own property near a school or not is entirely up to you. There are definitely some pros and cons to purchasing a home near a school, making it important to weigh those when deciding where to purchase your new home or rental property.

Do you see buying near schools as a pro and con for properties?

Leave a comment!

About Author

Anum Yoon

Anum Yoon is the founder and editor of the millennial money blog, Current on Currency.

2 Comments

  1. Angel Gutierrez

    I have several properties near “decent” public schools (an oxymoron ).
    I got them cheap (actually they were gimmies) because of public perception and they’ve been great rentals ever since.
    They do have a lot of turnover but it’s never a problem renting to the teachers that work at the nearby school.
    The lawns are all desert type landscaping that are maintenance free.
    I don’t bother with houses near the even crappier “public schools” because of the extra attention I have to devote to them because of riff-raffy tenants and/or neighbors.
    Rent collection is always a drag and they call to get every little thing that breaks fixed.
    Go ahead and buy near public schools, but understand that you are going to get stuck with those properties for a very long time.
    I’m sure I’ll probably get some flak for this comment and there will be those that are “offended” which is good because in the “real” game of monopoly… calling a duck a duck is imperative!
    By the way… if you want to increase the number of rentals in your portfolio quickly without having to “qualify” to acquire them? Look in these areas.

    Hope this helps even just a little…

  2. Tracey Geary

    I own a college rental and the prices for houses in close walking distance to the University are higher than surrounding areas, not lower. The college students themselves may not have much money, but for the most part the parents are supporting them and that supports higher rent than locals would pay. Even dive houses sell for more as long as they come with a good rental permit.

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