By Chad Taylor
I have to ask your forgiveness this week. If you recall, last week I mentioned that we would be running a column about the buyer’s experience in today’s market. Well, that will have to wait till next week. Mainly because my oldest son, Ben, started kindergarten this week and I highly underestimated what a change that would be for our family and thus for our business and my calendar.
And that got me thinking: I have always informed our clients that the school calendar does have an affect on our real estate market in Kansas City. You can almost set your watch by it. But why? Before this year, I did not quite understand it either. It is all clear to me now.
Additionally, I would like to share a couple of “value perspectives” with you all. Perspectives that can affect the value of your home upon resale. All of which are tied to our schools. Now for the purposes of this column, I will be referring to schools in the Shawnee Mission School District, as I am a Prairie Village resident.
Let me first start with a great resource, SMSD.org. I must applaud our district for hosting such a robust website. We send our clients to it all of the time to get them acclimated to our district. You can look up standardized testing scores for each individual school, see the yearly school calendar, or my favorite: the school finder. The school finder is the perfect tool for someone who is looking to purchase a home in our area. You can go to the school finder, type in an address, and in an instant see the elementary, middle, and high school for that address. Very useful information.
For those of you who have lived in our area for a while, you know that the school boundaries change every now and then. If you are on the edge of a boundary, this might be something that you keep an eye on. When Leah and I purchased our first home (7701 Howe Dr.), it was in the Corinth Elementary territory. By the time that we sold it, it was moved to the Belinder Elementary territory. Both are great schools, but different.
The catalyst for this column happened on Tuesday. My wife, Leah, and I were sitting on a reading rug in Ben’s Prairie Elementary classroom. It was a the kindergarten orientation and only parents were in attendance. As I looked around the room, you could almost see how each parent probably participated during their own elementary school years. There were some making new friends, some who were late (and are probably always are), and some like me who were quiet and just observing. Ben’s teacher, Ms. Beaudet, then got up to speak. Her 35 years of teaching experience immediately put me at ease. Honestly, it put the entire room at ease. And that got me thinking.
It’s like when Leah and I sold our first home. I had been a Realtor for over six years at the time. I counsel seller’s daily on the process of selling their home, yet at the time I had never been through the process myself. Let’s just say that after I sold my own home, I had a whole new appreciation for our sellers and a whole new patience level for what they had to go through. This time is like that time.
I have shared the value of our district with potential home buyers and sellers for years. I have shared with them the great test scores and the testimonials of other clients. But now, yes now, I truly understand the value of our great schools and why they strongly affect our market. Leah made the comment on Wednesday as we were walking to Prairie Elementary that the five minute walk is why we purchased a home where we did. That is a strong statement, but true. In our experience, many home buyers will purchase a home close to a local school. Even those without kids. Probably because that is what they have always been told to do. Or because, they attended a local school as a child.
Speaking from my experience on Wednesday, you cannot place a value on that five minute walk. But quite often, that value is seen in the real estate around a strong local school.
So I will get off of my soap box now, but not until I share a thought of gratitude for our great local elementary, middle and high schools. I would also like to offer a word of thanks to all of the highly involved parents. The combination of a great district, incredible faculty and dedicated parents makes our local schools a force to be reckoned with and an incredible value!
This weekly sponsored column is written by Chad Taylor of the Taylor-Made Team and Keller Williams Realty Key Partners, LLC. The Taylor-Made Team consistently performs in the top 3 percent of Realtors in the Heartland MLS. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email. You can find out more about the Taylor-Made Team on its website. And always feel free to call at 913-825-7540.