Property Premiums — and Discounts

It’s certainly a logical strategy:  buy a discounted home just outside a stellar school district, then open enroll your child(ren). 

The hitch?

Actually, there are three:

One.  Most districts determine open enrollment on a year-to-year, school-by-school basis.

So, an elementary school in a particular school district might have openings, the junior high not, and the senior high school — who knows?

Furthermore, in the Twin Cities, several school districts are now significantly restricting open enrollment as a matter of policy.  See, “Coming:  Not So Open Enrollment.”

Two.  Just because a given school has room doesn’t mean that the school buses do.

Locally, so many students open enroll from the Robbinsdale school district into the Hopkins school district that the buses serving the latter are full.

Which means that parents are responsible for schlepping their kids — as much as 10 miles or more one way if they live outside a far-flung school district like Hopkins.

No Guaranties

Three.  District lines and bus routes are subject to change.

That’s a consideration for couples with very young children — or planning to have them.

By the time their kids are ready for school, there’s no guaranty that the district lines and bus routes will be the same.

Bottom line?

The safest strategy is to buy a home in the school district you intend to send your kids.

Which likely means a widening premium for areas served by quality schools — and a discount for ones that aren’t.

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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