There’s been quite a bit in the papers recently about the price people will pay to live in the catchment area of a good school. Santander reckoned it adds up to £30,000 to the value of the average home

Nothing has been reported on just how many sellers have since made a beeline for their estate agents, demanding that they hike the price of their property by the appropriate amount – but, even if they did, it’s unlikely they will have returned home hypothetically any richer.

Estate agents are expected to have good idea of the value of property – and that means they will already have made a pretty fair assessment of the numerous factors which can have an impact on the asking price. It’s not just schools; the proximity of other amenities such as shops, gyms, pubs, takeaways, stations, bus stops, health centres and the countryside can all play a part. More recently, broadband speed and mobile phone reception have moved up the wish list too.

So, if your house was on the market for say £275,000 last week, you read the newspapers and, as there’s a decent grammar school nearby, you thought it had jumped immediately to £300,000, you’re likely to be a little disappointed. The most important factor is your property’s market value and that’s influenced most by what other similar homes in the area are fetching.

Your estate agent will already know what that figure is likely to be. Some will try to encourage you to pitch a little higher to give you a good chance of getting the best possible price; others will err on the side of caution, hoping for a quick sale without the risk of having to knock a few thousand off the asking price. As the saying goes, you pays your money and makes your choice.

But it also occurs that perhaps the smartest person of all is the buyer who decides to buy a smaller property in a slightly less “fashionable” area and to keep Lloyd’s £40,000 or Santander’s £30,000 in their pocket to spend on a private education for Timmy or Hermione …

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