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What determines whether a location is good or bad?

When it comes to purchasing a home, few aspects have as much influence on a property’s potential for appreciation as its location. 

“Property experts will agree that the adage of location, location, location is as much alive today as ever before and for good reason,” says Adrian Goslett, CEO or RE/MAX of Southern Africa. The burning question however is what factors influence whether a location is good or bad?

According to Goslett, features that influence the appeal of an area or location would include proximity to certain amenities, business hubs, shopping and medical facilities. One influence that is carrying more and more weight in the property buying decision is the number and quality of schools in and around an area. 

“A growing number of buyers are choosing their homes based on the schools in the area - even if they don’t have children at the time of purchasing the property. While the property’s appreciation potential is considered to some degree, many buyers are more concerned about how the area they live in could affect their children or future children’s education,” says Goslett. “Property should be seen as a long term investment, so it is important to consider one’s future plans and family developments when choosing a property. More and more buyers are taking this view and it can be seen in home buying patterns.”
 
Goslett says that the reason why people are looking for homes around good schools, particularly if they are looking at government schools, is the fact that these schools have specific feeder areas. He notes that the Department of Education requires that government schools prioritise enrolments by the parent’s residential address. This does include parents who reside at their place of employment, as in the case of a domestic worker.  A lower priority is given to children whose parents work within the feeder zone, however these children have a greater chance of being accepted than those applicants who are completely outside of the feeder areas. Children outside of the zones will be assessed on a first come, first serve basis, subject to availability. If all of the spaces have been filled, the remaining applicants will be placed on a waiting list. The provincial education department has an obligation to find all children on the waiting list a placement, although it will not necessarily be at the parent’s first choice of school.
 
“Basically what this means is that children living within the feeder zone are first-choice candidates who will be given preference when enrolling at the school. Although consideration is given to children who live outside of the feeder zone, there is always the chance that they won’t be able to get into the school due to limited space and children within the feeder zone filling the space first. There are instances where the parent’s work address could be considered, however this is highly dependent on the availability. As a result, school zoning regulations influence buying decisions and the location in which buyers choose to purchase property,” says Goslett.
 
He notes that those buyers who are determined to have their children attend a certain school will be able to research which areas are included in that school’s feeder area when choosing a property. Buyers can contact their provincial Department of Education or visit their website to obtain the zoning information they require. The Department of Education has a nationwide database of all government schools that will be of assistance to family buyers. The database contains information such as the school address and contact details.
 
“If buyers are intending to send their children to a private school, zoning is less of a consideration as privately owned educational institutions base their admission on other criteria. However, in these cases proximity to the school could still be a factor because of the daily commute to and from the school,” says Goslett, who notes that information on private and independent schools can be obtained from the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa.
 
“Buying a home is not a decision that should be taken lightly and buyers need to consider how all aspects of their choice will impact on their lives as well as their children’s lives. It’s best to gain as much information as possible so that a well-informed decision that is aligned with the family’s future goals is made,” Goslett concludes.


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