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H wrote:

Read these posts of yours from the Fool's mailing.

How about that! It made Post of the Day! Who knew!?

Like people said in "real estate": it's location, location, location ........ and in the case of California/Bay Area, I've found public school district has become a very important issue and huge factor in house price premiums, i.e.: identical 3 bdrm. houses in the borderline of Concord and Walnut Creek can differ in prices by 200K just because of their zipcode and school zoning.

This is true. Down in the South Bay it can differ by as much as $400K just going from Sunnyvale to Saratoga. For the same size house. So it's just about all school district.

Despite placing a high ranking on public school system, if the day comes we have to finalize our decision on buying our place, I'd shoot for a place that we can comfortably afford with an acceptable/medium-ranked public school system.

Given the amount of money we'll save on the purchase price, we could comfortably send two children to some very good schools for that kind of money. So the question becomes whether we want to be mortgage slaves and send our children to the local public school - which may or may not teach them the values that we want taught and which may or may not be good at the time our son is ready to attend - or have a lesser mortgage and save the money up for our child's education.

I think you have more choices with the latter option.

The more I run the numbers, the more I become convinced that this is a better way to go. The trick will be to find the right neighborhood in a growing area. So I think it is doable.

I don't believe in paying for private school (some co-workers pay $1,500/month for kid's elementary school, I thought that is ridiculous!) neither do I believe in having to put our future kid(s) into the top ranked public school as I place higher values in educating kids at home first before at school. What I meant is, if we can educate our kids according to the values we want them to have at home, more likely they'll turn out OK even if they don't go to fav. schools and OTOH if they are not educated properly at home, they can still do drugs at fav. schools.

I agree that it is ridiculous. I don't think education is a commodity that you can just buy. I went to private school when I was a child and it was the right thing for me. Our public schools were really bad - full of drugs. So I had a choice of that or go somewhere else. It wasn't a difficult choice. I got a really great education and when I finally got into college, I was way ahead of my class. Incidentally, there were drugs at that school too, just a lot less of them. Particularly after I caught the school drug dealer. <big grin>

I think it is possible to find a nice neighborhood even if the school district isn't that great. And I don't believe in paying for a home AND a school district, when all that I really want is a home. That whole area down there is expanding, so I don't think it will be too long before there is an improvement in educational options. The two good private schools that I looked at are both expanding.

Anyway, on areas suggestions you can probably get decent places with good public school systems in Walnut Creek, Moraga/Orinda/Lafayette or Foster City from where you are now without having to pay much premiums for upgrading.

Neither of us want to live in the East Bay and Hubby's job is in the South Bay. He's death on commuting, so we'll be looking in the Morgan Hill/Gilroy area. There are some very nice neighborhoods down there. Some of the public elementary schools there are quite good, but there is a dearth of good public high schools. There are a few private high schools down there, however, which appear to be quite good. So it's doable.

Now I just have to figure out if we can afford two children or just one.

But that's a whole 'nother spreadsheet! :)

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