Most homebuyers would give up a dream home for good schools

Buyers said goodbye to a garage, large backyard and updated kitchen in favor of living in a better school district

Nearly 80 percent of homebuyers would choose a good school district over a dream home, skimping on amenities like a big backyard or updated kitchen, according to a new realtor.com survey.

Published on Tuesday, the survey found that 78 percent of homebuyers favored a great school district over the perfect home. Among those polled, 19 percent said they would give up a garage in favor of a stellar school district, while 18 percent would go without a large backyard.

“Most buyers understand that they may not be able to find a home that covers every single item on their wish list,” realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale said in a prepared statement. “But our survey shows that school districts are an area where many buyers aren’t willing to compromise. For many buyers, ‘location, location, location,’ means ‘schools, schools, schools.’”

Unsurprisingly, buyers aged 55 years or older were less likely to choose between a good school district and other amenities, with 42 percent insisting they would make no such compromise. Only 21 percent of buyers between the ages of 35 and 54 said they would make no such compromise and just 17 percent of buyers aged 18-34 said the same, according to the survey.

Seventy-three percent of buyers said good school districts were important in their home search. When familial status and age were put into the picture, families with children (91 percent) and those aged 18–34 (86 percent) were the most likely to say good schools were a must-have.

So, what makes a good school? More than half of all homebuyers (59 percent) said exemplary test scores are the top factor, followed by accelerated programs (53 percent), arts and music (49 percent), diversity (43 percent) and before- and after-school programs (41 percent).

Buyers aged 18-34 years old were more likely to value a school’s diversity (49 percent), while buyers aged 55-plus placed greater importance on accelerated programs (62 percent).

Email Marian McPherson.