Most house shoppers who are also parents will tell you: when it comes to picking which property they want to call home, the school ratings matter a great deal. In fact, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) regarding the “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” more than half of all homebuyers with children under 18 years of age rate the quality of the local school district as a major factor. It is actually the second most important influencing feature for them, behind convenience to the workplace, but before affordability, buyer’s accessibility to schools and shopping, or proximity to family and friends. However, even if you do not have children and having children in the future is not on your radar, school ratings should still matter to you.

As a matter of fact, school ratings directly affect the value of a neighborhood: according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research regarding “Using Market Valuation to Assess Public School Spending,” for every dollar spent on public schools in a community, home values increased $20. Parents are willing to go above their budget and compromise on the other items on their wish list – like a newer, larger home for example – in order to purchase a property in their desired school district. This situation leads to prices that are higher in high ranking school districts – there is an average difference of $205,000 in home prices between houses near high-performing and low-performing schools according to a Brookings Institution study – but the neighborhood patronizing schools with excellent ratings are also more immune to the ups and downs inherent to the real estate market.

Great schools also tend to be located in great areas that are not only family-friendly, featuring numerous parks and green spaces, but have better access to many amenities that also appeal to childfree individuals, like increased safety, better shopping, and access to transportation, etc.

Many websites can help prospective buyers check out the rating of the school district for the neighborhood of the houses they might be interested in. Some of the most popular ones include Greatschools.org and Schooldigger.comwhere you can search the test scores, rankings, school and district boundaries, student/teacher ratios, ethnic makeup, and scores of other useful metrics and information like parents and students reviews of thousands of schools across the United States. You will also need to check out the results of the schools your children will attend in the future if you are planning on staying in the property for years to come, such as which middle schools and high school your current preschooler is likely to attend eventually. However, as it is always the case when scoring potential schools, you shouldn’t neglect to visit the schools in person to make sure the teachers and assistants are approachable and professional, and the school grounds in good condition.

Whether you have children who are likely to attend school or not, school ratings are a great indicator in terms of the future resale value the property you are considering may have, which is why it should always be on the list of discriminating elements when it comes to house shopping.