In an unprecedented, but welcome move, Realtor.ca has announced that they will start to add school catchment information to the property listing on their site. In essence, within the information offered about the property that is for sale, there will also be information regarding which school district the home falls under, which is indicative of the school your child would attend should you move to that location.
A long-time important consideration for parents and children when it comes to choosing where to live, the move by Realtor.ca to add this convenience to their site is the first part of a partnership with Local Logic. This partnership will see the addition of neighbourhood-specific lifestyle information on the site’s property listing, with schools being top priority.
Understanding Catchment Area
The catchment area is a geographically bound area, marked by specific GPS coordinates, whereby all children in that area attend a specific elementary, middle, and high school. The students who fall outside the area are listed as attendees of a different school, although with some exceptions, students outside of the area can attend. All schools have a catchment area, affiliated with them, and these may change depending on the number of students the school can take on, as well as how close or far the children live to their home.
Choosing a Home
When it comes to choosing a home, there are a lot of factors to consider, including price, age, location, and neighbourhood. And now, increasing numbers of people are looking at the school catchment areas within that neighbourhood. In fact, many parents are choosing where they would like their child to attend school and then only looking for houses in that area. While this makes sense if you are particularly set on a specific school, be aware that catchment areas change and that if the school is already at capacity, your child may be denied attendance and sent to another school which has more space.
Converting to a Sale
From a real estate agent’s perspective, the addition of this new information is not only available for our clients and to maximize their experience, but it also increases lead conversion. The research has shown that when consumers can interact with neighbourhood data, they are “three times more likely to convert into a lead,” and offer a realtor a chance to pursue a sale.
This is good news for the cities where the information is already offered, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Halifax and several other Ontario suburbs. With the plan to have many more integrated into the system within the next month, there are also plans to offer an additional feature which will allow parents to search for a specific school within the catchment area, or search by school type, such as elementary or high school.
Early interactions indicate strong engagement with the data, with a high degree of interest from consumers, including parents and young children. It is also proving useful for those people indirectly affected, such as future owners wondering about bus routes or school speed routes that may impact their daily commute time.
If you are looking to find a home in a particular school catchment area, please let me know. I am happy to work with you to identify the location that will best suit your family’s needs and allow your children to attend the most fitting school.