Are you ready to take the plunge and buy an investment property? By now you’ve probably done your research and have looked into property types. You’re sure to have calculated load repayments, insurance costs and other details of being an investment property owner. It’s an exciting time! One thing that often gets looked past when searching for investment properties is the ‘School Catchment Area’ that the property is in. If you don’t have kids, you may not have considered school catchment area investing. However, considering school catchment areas before making such a long-term investment may be more important than you might realise!
What is a school catchment area?
School catchment areas are locations that determine where children are eligible to attend school. Eligibility is based on distance and area from the school. Catchment areas change slightly from district to district. However, the general rule across Australia is that children who live within a certain distance and radius to the catchment zone are able to attend the school. Often it is difficult or impossible for children outside of these catchment zones to attend a certain school. Unfortunately, there are more and more stories in the news about families trying to evade the system. Typically they do this by directing their mail to other people’s addresses within the catchment zone. This kind of behavior is bound to be stopped by the government at some time. So it’s crucial to research the catchment area before purchasing your property!
Go into purchasing your investment property with wide eyes open
Informed decisions are better decisions. So we’ve put together some information in regards to school catchment areas. Furthermore, we’ll point out how they could potentially affect the housing market in that area. This information is also important if you have children, or plan to in the future. Because where you buy a property could affect where your children can go to school.
Disclaimer – We are not financial advisers, we are simply using our knowledge of real estate to help others go into purchasing a home with all the information they need to make the right choices for themselves.
How does a school catchment area affect someone buying an investment property?
Are you wondering this? How does the school catchment zone affect your investment property if you don’t have any kids? Furthermore, you may never plan to have kids, so what’s the point? Well, believe it or not, the school catchment zone can have an enormous effect on the housing market. Schools change from area to area. Most noteworthy, often there is a noticeable gap in quality between certain schools. This makes the schools within that area more highly sought after. Hence, more people will be flocking to that school catchment zone to send their kids to the best school that they can.
These ‘higher quality/more sought after’ schools will put pressure on the housing marketing in those areas.
Purchasing a property with rental return in mind
When you purchase a property in a highly sought-after school catchment area, you will likely be in a better situation than if you were to buy in one that is in a very undesirable area. A lot of the time, families will decide to rent in these specific areas. Afterall, kids are only kids for so long! Often these families opt to rent instead of purchase. This is so that when their kids are old enough they can purchase their dream home in a location of their choosing without the pressure of finding a good school catchment zone!
Consequently, these areas will always be in high demand. The result will likely mean there will be little-to-no downtime with your investment property. It wont sit empty for long periods of time while you wait for someone to take an interest in your place. Rather, they will be coming to you, applications in hand!
As already stated, we are not financial planners or advisers. However our years of experience in the industry have given us some insider knowledge that we like to share with our potential clients. Informed decisions are better decisions.
Make it easy for the renters!
Here is another way to keep your investment property in the highly sought after category, and keep renters interested. Do the research on the school catchment area yourself. Often schools in these areas have strict regulations. Generally, they will need specific documentation to prove that the child and family are actually living in this area.
This research and data collection may be rental receipts, utility receipts or references. If you do the research before hand you will likely have some very happy renters on your hands. This means you can also let your real estate agent know what needs to be provided so that the renters can go straight into the school with the appropriate documentation. It’s a win-win!
Housing type – new or fixer-upper?
Another thing to consider is the style of investment property you want to purchase. Newer homes will obviously be more expensive, especially in highly sought-after catchment zones. However, they will most likely require less work before they are ready to rent. Investment property depreciation laws can also work in your favour here.
Older homes are likely to be cheaper and can be a fantastic investment in highly sought after areas. This is especially relevant to investors, since the return will likely be high. It’s important however that you do your research when it comes to fixer-upper style homes. Sometimes these homes require so much maintenance and renovations you could find that your sweet little investment has turned into a bit of a renovation nightmare.
Have qualified inspectors come in and assess the property before you make any purchases. This is essential to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth and are likely to see a return in the future!
So what now?
Now that you’ve read about school catchment zones and the importance of doing your research and finding out the right areas for investment properties (or family home!) – where do you go from here?
When you start researching locations, make sure to really examine the school catchment area. Take the time to figure out where you want to land! This is especially true if you are wanting to make a return from tenants and/or you have children that will be going to school.
For more information regarding school catchment zones, you can find the Queensland map here.
We hope this information was helpful! If you would like to learn more or get started with your investment property purchase – we invite you to call us on 3843 4511. Our friendly and capable staff look forward to hearing from you!