Yay! You have found the perfect dress for your upcoming holiday party. As you get ready to check out, you pull out your 15% off coupon.
“Where did you get that 15% off coupon?!”, says the nice lady who is standing behind you.
“I got the coupon in the mail”, you say. (She probably got one too, but she didn’t look for it.)
Doesn’t it feel great to have the right information at the right time?
When you’re buying a home by school boundary, it pays to be well informed too.
For example, let’s look at how the recently approved boundary changes (the Fairfax-Lanier study approved earlier this year*) can save you 15%:
Previous boundary map for Fairfax HS (& surrounding high schools)
Here is the previous map of high school boundaries surrounding Fairfax High School. Notice some important charateristics:
- The school boundary for Fairfax High School (see green area) is contiguous and relatively large.
- There is also an “island” inside of the Robinson boundary, which sends kids who live within that area to Woodson High School.
As a result of the Fairfax-Lanier boundary study*, a new boundary map was drawn by the Fairfax County Schools district. This new map will be put into practice starting in the fall of 2014. Let’s see the “after” version of the map:
Updated boundary map for Fairfax High School (& surrounding high schools)
As you can see, there’s quite a difference, especially in the Fairfax and Woodson boundaries:
- The Fairfax HS boundary is now split into two sections (East and West)
- The Woodson HS boundary is now much larger as it extends north-west into parts of what used to belong to the Fairfax HS boundary
- There is no more Woodson “island” within the Robinson boundary
How can this knowledge save you 15%?
To start, it will help you avoid buying a home in the old boundary:
Avoid buying in the old boundary
For sure, you’ll want to avoid the expensive mistake of buying a home that you *thought* was in the boundary of your choice (but in reality, it isn’t).
Buying a home that doesn’t belong to the school boundary that you want can be quite expensive (probably around 15% of the price of the home) if you decide to sell that home and buy another one in the right school boundary.
Unfortunately, you might have thought that it was the right boundary because the information that you used for making a decision wasn’t up-to-date.
However, if you do have the most up-to-date information, you can get ahead of the curve and find early opportunities.
Take advantage of early opportunities in the new boundaries
Some schools have more demand than others, and buying a home within their boundaries is very important to many people. The result is higher home prices in those highly sought-after boundaries.
So when boundaries change, and there is more opportunity to live within a highly desired school boundary, there is a good chance that the new areas covered might be more affordable than homes in the original boundary.
Let’s look at the potential opportunities in the Woodson High School boundary, for example.
Example: Early opportunities in the Woodson boundary
The Woodson HS boundary is one of the most sought-after boundaries. Not only is Woodson HS a fantastic school, but also, its location near the center of the County and easy access to the Capital Beltway (I-495) makes it an ideal place to live for many people.
This ideal location is reflected in the average price of homes within the boundary. Historically, the average price of homes in this boundary is higher than the average for the rest of Fairfax County.
The good news is that now that the boundaries are about to change, and that the Woodson HS boundary will cover a larger area, there will be homes in the new part of the boundary which are more in-line with the average price of the County.
One could possibly find up to a 15% “discount” in the price of homes by looking in the new section of the boundary.
But wait! There are more early opportunities
While Woodson is the boundary with the most opportunities, there are also little pockets of opportunity in Oakton and in Chantilly. But the only way to find these great opportunities is to use the newest maps.
If you want to find early opportunities and save up to 15% in your next home, make sure that you have the most up-to-date school boundary information.
Log in now to the Fairfax County Map of school boundaries to see the most up-to-date boundary maps:
Log in to the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries (a.k.a the Affordability Map) to see the location of each of the most UP-TO-DATE boundaries within Fairfax County and to choose your ideal boundary.
When you log in to the Fairfax County Map of School Boundaries, you will find:
- UP-TO-DATE School boundaries
- Photos and videos
- Highlights of the area covered by each boundary
- Transportation options
- Statistics about housing
- School rankings for schools in each boundary
See you on the other side!
* Here are the details on the Fairfax-Lanier study (approved in May 2013)
If you haven’t subscribed yet, why wait?
Downloading The No-Tears Guide to Moving to Fairfax, VA is free, and you’ll get access to our unique home-search (by school boundary).
Plus, you get the Fairfax County Real Estate Affordability Map, AND access to detailed information about each Fairfax County School boundary.
Black dress image by University of Salford on Flickr, Maps from Google