The home’s garage, large backyard, and updated kitchen may not be as important to home shoppers as the school district, according to a new survey released by realtor.com® of more than 1,000 people who closed on a home in 2018. Seventy-eight percent of buyers surveyed say they’re willing to give up home features to get their school district of choice, and home shoppers are willing to give up their most desired home features to get that.

“Most buyers understand that they may not be able to find a home that covers every single item on their wish list,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com®. “But our survey shows that school districts are an area where many buyers aren’t willing to compromise. For many buyers, ‘location, location, location,’ means ‘schools, schools, schools.’”

The extent of compromises that buyers are willing to make to get their top-choice schools may be surprising too. For example, 78 percent of buyers who said schools were important in their house hunt said they had to compromise on certain home features. The features they most commonly reported giving up in exchange for their preferred school district were a garage (19 percent); a large backyard (18 percent); an updated kitchen (17 percent); desired number of bedrooms (17 percent); and an outdoor living area (16 percent). A spring home buyer survey conducted by realtor.com® had showed a garage was the number one feature that home buyers were looking for this year, followed by an updated kitchen and an open floor plan.

Not surprising, the desire for particular schools did vary by a buyer’s life stage and age. Ninety-one percent of buyers with children said school boundaries are important or very important compared to 34 percent of those without children.

Buyers surveyed said they determined the school district they wanted to live in by looking at schools’ test scores, followed by the availability of accelerated programs, arts and music, diversity, and before- and after-school programs. Realtor.com® offers a tool through its site’s search to specify a district or school boundary so buyers can search for homes within that preferred area.