I’ve had a lot of interesting conversations with real estate brokers over the years regarding whether school information is an important set of data to include on a broker’s website. While there are no definitively right or wrong answers to this issue, I thought it may help to share some insight into how I see people using broker’s websites.
I think it’s pretty clear to anyone working in real estate that schools have a large impact on the buying decisions of some buyers. Not all buyers, but some. With that in mind, it’s worth considering how many people are factoring schools into their buying decision, and how they go about finding that information.
As an exercise to help prioritize this information, consider taking 100 points and distributing them among the following seven types of buyers:
______ Buyer is single with no kids.
______ Buyers are together with no kids yet, or young enough to not be considering schools yet.
______ Buyer(s) kids are beyond school age.
______ Buyer(s) are moving within a community they already live, so already know about the local schools
______ Buyer(s) are buying a vacation property
______ Buyer(s) are buying an investment property
______ Buyer(s) have school aged children and are moving to an area where they are not familiar with the schools and don’t plan to homeschool their children
I’d argue that the points you put into the final option are the only ones who’ll possibly benefit from school information on your website.
However, the next step is to consider what percentage of those buyers plan to use a real estate broker’s website to analyze school information. As I see it, a parent who’s serious about comparing schools is likely to go to websites that specialize in school ratings such as greatschools.net, SchoolDataDirect.org, US News & World Report’s Top High Schools rankings, or the National Center for Education Statistics. Once they’ve determined the schools or school districts that suit their needs, they then start looking for homes in or nearby those locations.
With this in mind, I think it’s important to prioritize school information appropriately – and in most cases, lower than one might initially think – based on the percentage of people who’ll find the information valuable rather than distracting.
It’s possible that many brokers would see greater benefits from focusing on the most common tasks nearly every visitor to a real estate broker’s site is attempting to achieve.