Thoughts on buying near a high school

10 Replies

Wanted to see what people's thoughts were about purchasing a flip or rental near (across from) a middle school or high school.

I can see pros (easy commute) and cons (noise, traffic), but wanted to see whether others have their own preferences.

Disclaimer: I am new at this and have never bought a house near a school.  I *do* live about half a mile down the street from a local high school.

For a high school, if the buyer/renter has kids that are 16+, and kids can drive at 16 in that state, the kids may not like it, because then they don't get to be cool and drive a car to school.  :)  Okay, the kid probably isn't signing the check, but he or she *will* lean on their parents.

If the neighborhood isn't the greatest, though, being right across from the school might appeal to parents.  Their kids will have a shorter walk to school, and at some schools, there will be a cop at the school while school is in session.

You might also look at how much land the school sits on, and what happens if the school needs to expand.  At least around here (Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma), the schools usually sit on relatively large pieces of land, so there is enough room for several expansions without the school district having to buy any more property.  If the school district decides they need your property for expansion, you *hope* that they write you a check for 10% over the market value, but they *could* send in the building inspector to condemn it so they can write a check for 50% under the market value.

I bought a nice house literally next door to an elementary school and I had no problem finding a renter.  As a matter of fact, I had more interest in that home than any other home I have rented.  Its a matter of opinion as to whether or not the school had anything to do with it, but nobody seemed to have any concern with the school so I read that as a positive.

Elementary schools aren't bad at all, in fact it can be desirable. Recess is during the day, tenants are at work. Tenants kids walk to school and home, big plus. Their kids can use the playground usually. Neighborhood security is higher, the cops watch the schools. Traffic is congested but limited, drop off and pick up, you can schedule around that.

Jr. High has more activities during the school year, sports will be earlier in the evening and the crowd is usually gone before most go to bed. Not as desirable as elementary, but acceptable.

High school, I don't think so! I owned one house behind a high school, rented and sold just fine (I didn't get complaints) I would have lived in the home but not that location!

Marching band begins at 6:30 am, that doesn't mean some drummer or trumpet player isn't "warming up" practicing before they begin! 

Activities can be endless, after school you'll have football practice, the band plays again, sometimes schools are open for civic activities. Now, on Friday don't expect quiet enjoyment with announcers calling every play at the football game and when they aren't blaring over the speaker system at half time, the band is playing again. Then, the bands plays something with every score too. Not just football, they have a soccer team and a baseball team too. Yes, the band is there too.

Did I mention the outdoor lighting? The bathroom might be lit up, there is a plus to the light bill.  

As mentioned, you have the Hell's Angels in cars before and after school, you know some have to show off and see who can lay down the most rubber turning out of the parking lots.  

Appraisers are more likely to tag a property with external obsolescence than not. 

The best institutional neighbor you can have is a church, half a day on Sunday, a couple evening services and an occasional whatever. Might depend on the denomination if they come out screaming or not. :)  

I live a few blocks from a high school and based upon what I've seen, I would never buy across the street or anywhere near a high school.

The street in front of the school is always backed up for blocks around 3PM because of buses and parents picking up their kids. To avoid the traffic, some of the parents will pick up their kids a block or two away, and those kids hang out on the lawns of those homeowners waiting for their rides.

You need to be really careful. We purchased a townhouse that was a block away from a high school to flip.  We did a great job on the property and it would have been anyone's dream home but one of our potential buyers was pressed for time and asked to come by to see the property early on a Saturday morning (around 7:00 A.M.) Just as we were about to go in the front door, from out of nowhere we heard loud music being played by a the high schools marching band. It was coming from the high school a block away! One of my buyers turned to me and asked if that happened every Saturday morning. I wasn't sure because I didn't live on the property so I said, "Well, maybe only during the school year." My buyers wouldn't even venture through the front door. If you're going to show a house near a school, make sure you know when certain school activities take place that could put off a buyer and schedule showings around those times. 

@Percy N.

One of the areas we look at when underwriting is the top educational facilities in the surrounding area (elementary/middle/high school and colleges). If the properties we are looking at are in close vicinity to one of the top schools in an area this is a huge positive. 

In your case it depends on the quality of the school. If its one of the best schools in the area this is a positive. 

If the property is across the road from the entrance of the school where the major drop off and pick up area is, this could be somewhat of a turn off between the start of school and end of school hours but the buyers may leave before and get home after these periods from work.

Just some food for thought there for you.