Children bring a different set of considerations into the home-buying process. Sam Funnell from Fine & Country Rugby offers guidance on the all-important school applications.

There are few things that are more important for parents than the future of their children and education plays a significant role in preparing and developing children to tackle the world. The school your children attend can have an impact on their future, which makes educational establishments an important factor in the property-purchase equation.

Before you start your property search, research the catchment areas of good schools. Think long term by considering whether the primary schools in the area are a feeder school to a good secondary school.  Reflect on the logistics, too – will you drive your children to school every morning, or would they need to get a bus? Is the bus route near the property or would they have to walk some distance? Will the bus times affect your morning routine? It’s also worth looking to the neighbours – are there other children in the neighbourhood of the same school age? Is there a community feel to the area?

As a school’s popularity increases, the catchment area shrinks so while your children may benefit with a place at the school, your property may be precluded from the catchment area in the future, which will affect your selling price. Your estate agent should have detailed information about schools in the area, including fees, inspection reports, grade averages and other important developments that can help with your decision.

Property prices in the postcode sector of the best-performing, non-selective state schools are an average of 28% higher than the rest of the country.  A 10% increase in the SAT pass rate at the nearest school adds an average of 3.3% to the price of a typical house, according to research by Nationwide Building Society. The up-side is that market values for these properties tend to be more stable, so you are investing in a nest-egg and avoiding market fluctuations, as well as investing in the future of your children.

Families more interested in private education face the same logistical issues, such as getting children to and from school so it is always worth looking into the standard of schooling in the area before moving there.

Boarding can put an end to all of these worries, as children will only need to be picked up at weekends or at the end of term. Despite being a lot more expensive than day schooling, parents argue that it immerses children in their education and offers better extra-curricular activities. However others say that it makes them feel more distant from their children and homesickness can be an issue.

Paying for education does not instantly solve location issues, though. Many top private schools are highly in demand, especially in London and the South East, so prospective students have to sit entrance tests and even interviews to secure their place. Creative test designers are now making them un-tutorable, so parents can no longer pay for private tutors to coach their children on the test questions. At Eton, 1,300 Year 6 boys took tests to fight for only 250 places in 2015, though not all private schools are quite this competitive.

There is no doubt that school applications are a stressful time for parents, no matter how far or near the ideal school is. Fine & Country wish prospective parents the best of luck with their school applications and their accompanying property search.    

For advice on selling or buying property, please contact Sam Funnell on 07714 515484 or email