Family buyers - schools are important

Private Property South Africa
RE/MAX

When considering buying a property one of the most important aspects to think about is location. But what are the elements of a good location and how does it influence a buyer’s decision?

Aside from the convenience of being close to amenities such as shops and medical facilities, proximity to good schools play a major role in how buyers choose where to live. This is because location will not only have an impact on your return on investment and lifestyle, but also more importantly your children’s education, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

“As registrations open, many parents will be enrolling their children into schools for the first time. Parents may register their child at any public school, if there is space available at those schools. However, most public schools will have a specific feeder zone. The child’s home address will determine which schools the child is zoned for and these children will be given preference over others outside of that zone,” says Goslett.

According to the Department of Education, first preference is given to children whose parents reside within the feeder zone. This also includes parents who live at their place of employment, such as in the case of a domestic worker. Second preference will be to those children whose parents work in the feeder area and third will be the remainder of the applicants which are processed subject to availability on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once all spaces have been filled, the rest of the children will be placed on a waiting list. The provincial department of education is obliged to find every child a place in a school. However, it may not be your first choice.

“Before family buyers purchase a property it is important that they do their research on schools in the area and have a plan in place for their children’s education. Furthermore, as purchasing property is viewed as a long term investment, where possible, buyers should assess what plans they have for the future. Although they may not have children at the moment, if children are a part of their plans, then considering the schools in a particular area could become a priority that influences their buying decision,” says Goslett.

If homeowners decide to send their children to private or independent schools, the feeder zone system will not apply. These schools will have other admission requirements that will need to be met by each applicant and may vary from school to school. “While the feeder zone system may not apply to private schools, for some buyers proximity might. If the plan involves boarding schools this will be far less of an issue, but some buyers may want to live close to the school their child attends for the sake of convenience,” says Goslett.

Where would buyers be able to get information about schools in the area where they are interested in purchasing? Buyers can contact their provincial department of education or browse the website. The Department of Education has a countrywide database of all public schools that can be of assistance to property investors. This database has information such as the school address and contact details. Information on private and independent schools can be obtained from the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa.

“Buying a property is a huge decision that should be carefully considered. Having a plan and necessary information at hand will ensure that buyers make the best decision for themselves and their children in the long run,” Goslett concludes.

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