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Is living well about the schools?

Posted by Rona Fischman April 10, 2009 02:25 PM

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Why is spring the typical busy season in real estate? People will argue that the spring buyers come out because the weather has turned. This theory doesn’t hold water with me. First, spring weather here is not uniformly pleasant. Second, for when it is pleasant, I can think of a hundred outdoor activities to do that don’t involve going into strangers houses. I think that people house-hunt in the spring in order to close at the end of the school year. That gets them into a new home before the school year starts again. This scheduling is further reinforced by the large number of rental leases that end during the summer months.

Whenever we talk about living well, schools almost always become part of the discussion. There has been a lot of opinion stated about schools that are “bad” or “good.” What makes a good school?

I had a client who was a database designer. So, of course, he made a database about schools. He was looking for certain classes offered, class size, availability of after-school activity and other factors. He had these factors weighted so that they added up to a final score. They house-hunted accordingly.
What would you put in your algorithm? Is it the number of children that go to 4-year elite colleges? Is it the SAT/MCAS scores? Is it schools that have extra classes like music, foreign languages, AP courses?

I like this scale, published last fall in Boston Magazine. It ranks schools on their cost efficiency. Given the shake-up in State and local tax bases, the list may shift a bit next year, but you get the idea. I like this scale as a tool for “living well” buyers and renters. What do you think?

Do you live where you live because of schools? Will you move because of schools? How do you separate the “good” schools from “bad” ones?

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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