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School Attendance Zones – Is it Time?

December 1, 2011  |  by Adam

Roughly half of today’s home buyers with children use school attendance zones to determine their preferred areas to purchase, yet most real estate listings do not have any school information included in their local MLS.  As a result, many buyer agents in our area are struggling to identify properties for sale in their buyers preferred school areas.  Many feel that its too risky to include this information in their listings because the school attendance zones often change and accurate information may be challenging to find.

In your opinion, would real estate professionals include school information in their listings if MRIS could provide customers with accurate school information?

Please share your opinion with us. Your feedback is important to us as we plan future projects!

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28 responses to “School Attendance Zones – Is it Time?”

  1. Matt Wilkins says:

    Unless its a required field you will still have members who won’t include it in listings. For my local area I always use to confirm what the current school zone is.

  2. Stacy says:

    Attendence zones in PWC are only good for this school year and next since boundaries tend to change often with the addition of new schools. Many sites auto fill this informaiton based on the home address. Agents tend to not fill in this information due to the risk of having issues in the future.

  3. Susan says:

    I would love to be able to search by schools, however, since many listings do not include it, you end up having to search by map, and advise clients to check school websites, confirm boundary maps, etc. Of course, if someone would guarantee we would not be sued (ha ha) for information that is subject to change, that would encourage more agents to enter the info in the first place. If there was some magical way for it to be filled by linking to school boundary maps, putting the responsibility squarely on the school systems, that would be golden.

    I generally find listings in frequently requested school zones tend to include that info.

  4. Matt Wilkins says:

    IMO most prospective buyers know that school districts do change more so in areas with signs of current and or future residential development. I also warn my buyers of this fact especially if the home is currently towards the ridge of the current school boundary.

    Remember on all listings information is deemed accurate but not guaranteed. However the information if known and currently accurate should be included.

  5. mikeunruh says:

    Come on Realtors! What county doesn't have a website that lists the school attendance zones or boundaries nowadays? Check the county website, maybe make a call or two, document it and input the information. It is a problem, it's lazy agents, it is a reflection on ALL of us and MRIS can fix it by making the field required.

  6. Wayne Frost says:

    Accurate school information combined with easy Keystone input and appropriate disclaimers would be a very usfull MRIS service. I agree with Matt that it would have to be a Required Field. Currently, I pull up the school boundary map to hand copy and save a Map Search for each school. This catches most listings except when the agent places the green map pin in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

  7. HeatherE says:

    IMHO, schools should be a mandatory field. We as agents are not guaranteeing the future of school boundaries, we are only providing information that is accurate now. And besides, if I have a buyer who is looking for a particular school district and this information is not included in the listing, then I am stuck researching ALL of the properties my buyer is interested in. Believe me, they are not going to buy unless they know the school so not putting that info in the listing isn't going to fool anyone – it just excludes potential buyers from even viewing the home. Finding out the schools for a listing is just too easy now-a-days so there really is no excuse for not included this information.

  8. Right on Heather….make it a mandatory field, and while you're at it, fix the map push pins that locate a Winchester Va area home in the Richmond area or where agents don't bother to correct their push pins.

  9. Mitzi says:

    We've always had lazy agents, and even more of them nowdays. All you have to do is make a phone call to the education department in that county, and give them the street address of your listing. They will give you the schools for that street address.

  10. Paul says:

    if MRIS could provide customers with accurate school information seems to be the issue. If you could do that and know that many buyers want this information, why is it not provided is a better question to ask! Seems the more services we can provide the more happy clients we get, the more referrals, and more closing, and the cycle repeats itself. That makes it good for all involved MRIS, teh Realtor and the clients.

  11. Peggy O says:

    I believe it should be a mandatory field. It is much too cumbersome to have to search by map and then check the schools on the county websites yourself. We are not guaranteeing the schools will always be the ones listed, just that they are now, according to the county website. Keep a print out of the county info. from the website in your file if you are worried about being asked about it later.

  12. Lily says:

    It would be so helpful if the school information made mandatory. I have been having so much difficulty and spent so much time trying to find the house with the schools my client is looking for.

  13. Jamie says:

    Instead of making this a responsibility of the individual agents, why doesn't MRIS develop a database of the various schools for each address? Then it can be automatically linked to listing just like the tax record and square footage is. My guess is MRIS makes plenty of money as a private company and should be able to devote the resources to make this happen. If the school boundaries were to change then one database could be updated and the appropriate changes pushed to every listing instead of relying on tens of thousands of agents to try to get it right. Doing so just creates more opportunity for error. The school information should be a centralized system maintained by MRIS. When I add a listing it should automatically link to the appropriate school district just like it does a tax record. MRIS can do this or we can continue to argue about making it a mandatory field, whether or not agents are lazy, blah, blah, blah.

  14. Clark says:

    I would love to have school info listed on ALL properties. If it becomes a required field anything can be filled in (call school board) for example. The information can be checked & filled in by the listing agent if they take the time to go to the counties school website & look it up. It does not do the property any good not including that information. Just like including room dimensions, sure it takes extra time, but it helps purchasers look for what they need. They are going to find out if the property will fit their needs eventually, so you can't trick them into buying it just because you don't include the information.

  15. Duc Lam says:

    Due to popular demand, there should have supply, that is the matter. If MRIS provides the link of an up-to-date database for school attendance zones, it will be more professional and more convenience for our agents.

  16. Neal Greene says:

    It should be mandatory so agents would be able to accurately search by school district but in Montgomery County, in some areas, the parents have a choice of schools. This presents a problem. I realize some listing agents call buyer's agents lazy for not wanting to look it up, but this is very cumbersome when looking through a lot of listings. No one is going to get in trouble for listing a school district that is incorrect or changes because of the disclaimer at the bottom of the printout. Perhaps there could also be a link to the website of the appropriate county's school boundary information locator in listing, the way there is a link to the county tax record.

  17. David Howell says:

    Yep – it's high time that schools are required fields. Any agent can check with the appropriate school district, and a disclaimer that the information is believed to be accurate as of the listing date should limit liability – IF the agent did their due dlilgence.

  18. levittbowiehomes says:

    I think MRIS would need to make this process more automatic, most school boards have a search engine on their website so you can locate the school. I think that this is something that would need to be integrated into Keystone so it auto-populates much like the tax ID. I generally search these sites to select the data from the school field when submitting a listing, but it can be a bit cumbersome and I agree with an earlier poster that unless it is mandatory (or even better auto-populating.)

  19. Sean McEnearney says:

    I doubt that having it as a required field would change the habits of lazy agents or those who don't want to broadcast the schools for fear that it will keep buyers from looking at the property. The only way to have accurate info in our listings is to have it auto-fill.

    It's pertinent info and should be included in all listings.

  20. Otoniel Larios says:

    I always put this information on my listings. All you have to do is go to the county website where the property is located and search for schools base on the address. If our mls system will provide auto fill it will be easier.

  21. Tom Conner says:

    It should be a mandatory field. It would be great if it could autofill. It is absurd how few agents put in schools, yet for many people, they want to know what schools the house goes to.

  22. VA appraiser says:

    Please make it mandatory and/or auto-fill. It is imperative for appraisers to be able to select comparable sales within the subject property's school district for accurate valuation. MLS listings with minimum information on properties are often the reason for inaccurate appraisal report. If there are limited comparables, you will get a ton of phone calls from appraisers about the missing info in your listing but if you get an unprofessional lazy appraiser who fails to call you or if you don't return the appraisers' phone calls then we get inaccurate valuation which may lead to delaying or killing the deal. Help yourself by helping buyers and appraisers: we need more info and details on your listings. Less and we all pay for it!

  23. Candace Noel says:

    I look up the schools and insert them into my listings. Thank goodness MRIS has a disclaimer at the bottom of all our materials that reads "all information is believed to be accurate but should be verified" because nothing is guaranteed. Isn't the saying "buyer beware" there for a reason? Everyone should do their due diligence because everything is subject to change nowadays. Unless I'm giving a personal opinion about the school I don't expect to be sued.

  24. Theresa says:

    I think it is a great idea. It would be easy enough to add a disclaimer "confirm by calling local board" That takes some liability off the agents…hopefully! Perhaps MRIS could just add layers to the default map search where the agent could add one or more boundary layers to the search. That way if you have a family wanting a certain middle and High school, you could just drop those boundary layers onto the map search. I vote Yay

  25. Ann says:

    Agree they need to be mandatory and/or auto-fill. They are in many other MLS areas including Henrico County.

  26. Neal says:

    Listing schools should be mandatory, as should CURRENT pictures. There is a disclaimer at the bottom of the listing. We are not saying the schools are good, bad or that the boundaries won't change. We are simply reporting a fact. Everything in a listing, such as taxes, HOA fee, is subject to change. Buyers want this information and don't want to look it up. C'mon agents, quit being lazy and hiding behind the "I don't want the liability" defense. Look up the CURRENT schools and put them in your listings!

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