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April 5, 2017

What’s Going on with the Schools?

By Mark Hite, President

Greater Chattanooga Association of REALTORS®

There are a variety of factors that affect home values and one of the largest influencers are schools.

The list of factor’s that impact a school’s rating is extensive and constantly growing – test scores, graduation rates, age of facilities, breath of advanced placement classes, attendance rates, parental involvement and athletics, to name a few. Our society has become increasingly transparent, and these items are easier to see today than ever before.

Homes zoned for schools that fair more favorably in the above-mentioned areas demand a higher sales price and tend to sell faster than comparable homes located in other areas. There are examples across our market where this discrepancy, including homes located on opposite sides of the same street. It is clear that different school zones mean differences in price.

Buyers without school-aged children may not automatically considser school in their decision making. I would advise all buyers inquire about the school zoning for any home of interest. While it may not impact the potential buyer now, that same buyer may be a future seller, who would be affected with it comes time to sell.

It should come as no surprise when the topic of redistricting surfaces, home owners and parents take notice. In recent years when leaders considered redrawing the boundary lines on the Eastern side of the Hamilton county, there was public outcry. The concerns came both from parents whose children were being affected and home owners who feared their property values would be diminished.

In this week’s column, I focus on this topic, not to cast blame or point a negative finger at any of our local school board members, central office leadership or educators. Rather, my objective is just the opposite – to underscore the need for quality schools throughout our market area. The matter is in all of our best interests.

Currently in Hamilton County, a search committee is at work to find the next Superintendent. And the County Commission is working with the School Board to tackle a reported $200 million dollars in deferred building maintenance. These are two big issues, both with short-term and long-term impacts on our market.

In order to keep Greater Chattanooga REALTORS® informed on current and future plans for Hamilton County Schools, Interim Superintendent Dr. Kirk Kelly spoke to our membership on April 5th. Kelly’s presentation was through and covered the current status of the system – it’s challenges, successes and future plans. One of the highlights was the vocational programming that has been developed, without spending millions on a new facility. If you are interested in the details contact one of our members for a personal update.

School quality affects all property owners. Contact a REALTOR® to guide you through all phases of the home ownership process, including pointing you in the right direction to learn all about the schools in your area.

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