Location, Location, School?

Aside from the convenience of being close to amenities such as shops and medical facilities, proximity to good schools play a major role in how buyers choose where to live. This is because location will affect your return on investment and lifestyle, and your children’s education, says Adrian Goslett, chief executive of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

“As registrations open, many parents will be enrolling their children in schools for the first time. Parents may register their child at any public school, if there is space available at those schools. However, most public schools will have specific feeder zones. The child’s home address will determine which schools the child is zoned for and these children will be given preference over others outside that zone,” says Goslett.

According to the Department of Education, first preference is given to children whose parents live in the feeder zone. This also includes parents who live at their place of employment, such as in the case of domestic workers. Second preference will be to those children whose parents work in the feeder area and third will be the rest of the applications, which are processed subject to availability on a first-come, first-served basis. Once all spaces have been filled, the rest of the children will be placed on a waiting list. Provincial departments of education are obliged to find every child a place in a school. However, the school the department allocates may not be your first choice.

“Before family buyers buy property it is important that they do their research on schools in the area and have plans in place for their children’s education. Also, as buying property is viewed as a long term investment, where possible, buyers should assess what plans they have for the future. Although they may not have children at the moment, if children are a part of their plans then considering the schools in a particular area could become a priority that influences their buying decision,” says Goslett.

If homeowners decide to send their children to private or independent schools, the feeder zone system will not apply. These schools will have other admission requirements that will need to be met by each applicant and may vary from one school to the next.

“Although the feeder zone system may not apply to private schools, for some buyers proximity might. If the plan involves boarding schools this will be far less of an issue, but some buyers may want to live close to the schools their children attend for the sake of convenience,” says Goslett.
Buyers can get information about schools in the area where they are interested in buying from their provincial department of education or browse the DoE website.

“The DoE has a countrywide database of all public schools that can be of assistance to property investors. This database has information such as the school address and contact details. Information on private and independent schools can be obtained from the Independent Schools Association of Southern Africa.

“Buying a property is a huge decision that should be carefully considered. Having a plan and necessary information at hand will ensure that buyers make the best decision for themselves and their children in the long run,” Goslett says

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