New construction question from a reader

Just wondering your thoughts on the new XXX development off of XXX.  Nice homes, great location, but the only thing we worry about is the school district.  We have two small children in private school and would consider continuing to send them to private, but I worry about the resale value of a home in a school district that isn’t the greatest.  Any thoughts?

In response to my question as to whether they are currently working with a Realtor –

Well, we are not working with a realtor right now, as in the past most realtors have not given any specific advice due to fear of lawsuits, I suspect.  We have never had an agent steer us or move us away from a specific neighborhood and we find it very difficult to know how to handle a situation such as this.  XXX is throwing incentives at us right now with no offers contingent on using their mortgage company. But with three new developments feeding into the same school district, I figure someone definitely knows something I don’t!

I think for us now is a great time to buy…and we have found it easier to negotiate with builders rather than sellers in resale homes.

Anyhow, I would love to hear your thoughts in general.  Please feel free to use my story on your blog.

Again, keep up the good work…with honest and thoughtful realtors like you in the business, it sure must makes it easier to find someone to trust.

As I told the writer, rather than give specific advice as she is not a client, I will answer the questions here, in a more general sense.  Not having quality, professional representation is asking for trouble. I heard another horror story yesterday about a buyer who chose to be unrepresented in a new construction purchase. Now they are retroactively seeking representation after the proverbial damage is done. First, I would consider advising you to hire a home inspector to oversee the construction.

Regarding resale and the school district – this should absolutely be a concern from a resale point of view, but not necessarily a deterrent. If this is an issue, get involved like these people are. Change can happen, in spite of the bureaucracy and politics. Taking a hands-off approach will benefit nobody. If the schools are left to fend for themselves without parental support, they will fail. One of the more marketable aspects of many of the Charlottesville area public schools is level of involvement of the parents.

Granted, I wake up every day with several goals, one of which is to avoid getting sued. For the record, steering is a no-no. 🙂 But this is a good and relevant article on the subject of steering and schools. My mantra? Be the source of the source.

With any developer, and particularly this one, get all offers in writing. I was in one of their developments last week with some clients, and noticed that the pricing sheet they were using to explain costs, rates, etc. was folded in a four square. This could have been a coincidence, but …

In short, this development should turn out fairly well. As you are aware, there is significant growth around this development, all of which are feeding into the City School System, so there will likely be growing pains and redistricting.

As as aside, thanks for thinking that I “might know something (you) don’t.”) 🙂

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