The Data Deal Series: School Data Edition

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This is part 2 of  The Data Deal, a series that helps guide professionals through the process of choosing the best data vendor resource for their business by offering questions and qualities prospects should look for in their data vendor.

40% of home buyers today have school-aged children and home buyers overall will pay $50 more per square foot to belong to a well ranked school district. A decision of which community to move to and how much a home shopper is willing to pay may hinge solely on the quality of local schools.

Because your home shoppers care about schools, you want to supply them with the most accurate, up to date, and expansive School Data. However, what is it you should be asking school data vendors? What is it home shoppers value most when it comes to school data? Here are a few critical questions you should ask when contemplating which school data vendor is best for your business:

Do you offer school data?

Schools are incredibly important to your customers.  Of all the local data that influence a buyer's purchase decision, proximity to good quality schools is one of the most influential.  25% of home buyers listed school quality and 19% listed proximity to schools as deciding factors in their home purchase, according to a 2012 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Where do you get school information?  How often is it updated?

Knowing where school information is obtained will inform how often that information is updated and therefore its reliability.  School data that is a year or two old will not be relevant to your customers.  With new boundaries, administration, and changing neighborhoods, school information is constantly evolving.  You want to make sure you have the most recent information from the most trustworthy sources.

Will the school data be integrated into my website or a separate link?

If any information on your site is a link off your site, it pulls people away from engaging with your brand.  You want to create an all-encompassing experience for your customer.  That means getting them to your site and keeping them there until you are able to convert them.  If your site is sending them all over the web, the chances of you losing that lead increases exponentially.  Make sure the data you’re getting is incorporated into your user interface and isn’t simply an external link.

What types of schools are included in school data?

The school landscape is constantly evolving.  It’s not enough to provide the data to public schools.  Make sure the data you source includes private, charter, and parochial school information. Also, make sure your data differentiates schools by grade so your customers can truly understand the specific schools available in a given area.

You want to make sure your school data is complete and accurate.  It will give your customers a more comprehensive picture of their new neighborhood and more than any other piece of local data will make the difference in their ultimate purchase decision.

Are district boundaries covered, up-to-date, and correlated to each listings page?

When it comes to school districts, boundaries are updated continuously. Selecting a school data provider that supplies and regularly updates school district boundaries is critical for delivering relevant, meaningful information to your home shoppers. For example, Onboard offers and updates School Attendance Zones on a semi-annual basis so our clients can meet their needs through a variety of implementation options from map-based school search to displaying the information as part of the listing details.

How are the schools measured?             

When your customers are thinking of moving to a certain area, they not only want to know what schools are available, but what those schools are like.  So, ask your potential school data vendor if they supply school ratings, test scores, parent and teacher school reviews.  This type of information will tell visitors what schools are really like, which can be invaluable if they are new to an area.

Choosing a data provider that offers all that your home shoppers want to know about potential school districts is critical if your business wants to get the most out of school data. To learn more about what school data Onboard has to offer, visit our School Data and School Attendance Zones pages. If you have questions about choosing the right data provider, contact me at wbaum@onboardinformatics.com.

 

Image Credit:  Student's Group on Flickr.com