Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

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justsomeguy2018
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Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by justsomeguy2018 »

In my city, you will pay a pretty penny more to be in the *suburban* areas (excl downtown/urban areas) with stellar schools vs suburban areas with poorly rated schools (even if the area itself is "nice").

What makes more sense - to shell out an additional $150,000 (or $XXXXX) on home price to be in a stellar public school system, or to save money on the home price, and use the savings to send kid to private school if zoned public schools aren't good for that home?

It seems if you are paying more for the home you should eventually get that money back when you sell the home, vs shelling out money for private school that you won't get back. But private school may be a better experience/education? Let's assume family is non-religious.
DoubleComma
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by DoubleComma »

Your last thought is my thought.

My experience is the more expensive home in a better school district will likely appreciate faster than the less expensive school, so you will get your money back plus some and your kids should get a good education at no additional cost.

Also suggest considering who is lives and is moving in to each neighborhood, to determine who would you prefer to live among and likely have your children attend school with.
Isabelle77
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by Isabelle77 »

I think it depends on the public school, the private school, and the child(ren). There are a million versions of each and it's difficult to know without taking it all under consideration.
Hoosier CPA
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by Hoosier CPA »

Visit each and you'll know. I don't think generalizations are helpful for something like this.
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papermario
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by papermario »

My wife and I were debating this a few years ago. A few points that came up:

1. If you do the private school route, it's most likely the neighborhood kids aren't going to be in your kids' classes. If that's important to you/kids, that's a negative.

2. If you have more than one kid, your costs grow linearly with private schools while public school is a fixed cost.

3. Impact on home appreciation.

4. There is a very wide range in private school quality; so consider the distance / quality costs as well.
ensign_lee
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by ensign_lee »

All else equal, more expensive house and public school. I'm going to avoid the whole debate about private vs public school and the differences in each.

You should theoretically get your money back when you sell your home if you do the latter, plus gain any appreciation along the way.
ImmigrantSaver
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by ImmigrantSaver »

justsomeguy2018 wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 2:00 pm In my city, you will pay a pretty penny more to be in the *suburban* areas (excl downtown/urban areas) with stellar schools vs suburban areas with poorly rated schools (even if the area itself is "nice").

What makes more sense - to shell out an additional $150,000 (or $XXXXX) on home price to be in a stellar public school system, or to save money on the home price, and use the savings to send kid to private school if zoned public schools aren't good for that home?

It seems if you are paying more for the home you should eventually get that money back when you sell the home, vs shelling out money for private school that you won't get back. But private school may be a better experience/education? Let's assume family is non-religious.
Are taxes much lower in a cheaper home? Would that be beneficial if you want to retire in that home? The way I am thinking, the school only lasts 10 to what 15 years (if you have a couple of kids) but saving on lower taxes will last forever. So if you want to retire in that area, probably better to buy a cheaper house? :?:
Atilla
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by Atilla »

Another thing to consider - at least around here public schools chose to shut down for a year.

Private schools on the other hand were open pretty much the whole time.

When the next virus scare hits in 1 to 3 years, are you prepared to deal with your kids being at home all day during the school year, or do you need them in the classroom learning?
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mrspock
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by mrspock »

False choice? Good area with good school? vs best area with best school?

I’m not aware of any data actually showing better schools above a modest point actually matter in outcomes of kids. And there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing… in Palo Alto they have to pay for these people to sit by the train tracks to prevent kids from jumping in front of trains.

Why? Because of all the pressure their foolish parents put on them, and how “dumb” they feel being in a school with freakishly smart kids.

Be careful. Everything in moderation, including school quality. You want happy kids, and grown kids, not miserable high achieving ones who spend hours at the therapist.
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by SpaceCowboy »

I think it really depends on the quality of the schools. Just because a school is private doesn’t mean it’s good or a great fit for your kids. There certainly are big name private schools, eg Sidwell Friends, but there are also big name public schools, eg Stuyvesant.
For us, we chose nice suburban home in a great public school district. In our area, I’d contend the public school is actually better than the private schools. When we bought many years ago, it was a conscious choice to stretch financially and buy in a great school district. I’m sure many families make the same calculation and financial sacrifices these days.Worked out for us, both in home appreciation and educational/career opportunities for our kids. YMMV
retired recently
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by retired recently »

How old are your kids and how "advanced" are they or do you want them to be? Also are you looking at advancing them in STEM vs other subjects?

If primarily STEM, then get on the maa.org website and try to find kids that have performed well in the AMC series of contests by looking at the results of recent years. These kids are typically going to be the most STEM advanced and while they probably did not learn the skills at the school, they will attend and be a great cohort to be in.

Alternatively, supplement the courses via Art of Problem Solving courses in math and/or Python.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by ResearchMed »

justsomeguy2018 wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 2:00 pm In my city, you will pay a pretty penny more to be in the *suburban* areas (excl downtown/urban areas) with stellar schools vs suburban areas with poorly rated schools (even if the area itself is "nice").

What makes more sense - to shell out an additional $150,000 (or $XXXXX) on home price to be in a stellar public school system, or to save money on the home price, and use the savings to send kid to private school if zoned public schools aren't good for that home?

It seems if you are paying more for the home you should eventually get that money back when you sell the home, vs shelling out money for private school that you won't get back. But private school may be a better experience/education? Let's assume family is non-religious.
Approximately what percentage of your after-tax/after-housing income would the private school cost?
And what are the approximate prices of where you live now (you want private school here?) vs. the cost of where you'd need to move to have what you feel comfortable with the children in public schools?
And how many children, and what ages?
Cost is one thing for one child entering high school. And quite another with 3 children all in very early grades.

We'd need a bit more information to be able to make relevant suggestions for you.
Otherwise, this is just a hypothetical question, and not actionable, as I'm sure you know.

RM
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rage_phish
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by rage_phish »

For me, expensive hous rand public school

I am not a big fan of private schools myself. And I would never send my child to a religious school of any kind. That alone eliminates nearly all the private school options near me
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bottlecap
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by bottlecap »

Private schools vary. This year of home schooling, however, has taught my wife and I that even the very best public schools are not very good. I had a similar experience when I was young. There's a lot of wasted hours and garbage time that could be put to better use learning or even playing.

If your children are exceptionally smart, they will likely overcome the boredom of public school and find other intellectual outlets. If your children are just smart, consider a private school that more meets their individual needs. Otherwise they won't be challenged or stimulated except when they find the rare exceptional teacher. If you're lucky, this may happen every couple of years in a public school. There are some very good private schools that aren't very expensive. They are worth the extra sacrifice.

I get it though. The allure of "free" education is seductive. But my wife and I are done with it, even if we have to work 3-5 additional years.

Good luck,

JT
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by KlangFool »

justsomeguy2018 wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 2:00 pm In my city, you will pay a pretty penny more to be in the *suburban* areas (excl downtown/urban areas) with stellar schools vs suburban areas with poorly rated schools (even if the area itself is "nice").

What makes more sense - to shell out an additional $150,000 (or $XXXXX) on home price to be in a stellar public school system, or to save money on the home price, and use the savings to send kid to private school if zoned public schools aren't good for that home?

It seems if you are paying more for the home you should eventually get that money back when you sell the home, vs shelling out money for private school that you won't get back. But private school may be a better experience/education? Let's assume family is non-religious.
justsomeguy2018,

Do you think your neighborhood matters in raising your kids? In my case, I would not live in a neighborhood with a lousy public school system. I believe that the neighborhood matters. I would not live among neighbors that do not care about their public schools.

KlangFool
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by dboeger1 »

I'm surprised how few people mention property taxes in these topics. That's likely where a good chunk of your public school "tuition" is hiding. Try to figure out what those taxes would likely be, accounting for the possibility of gentrification increasing property taxes if increases are not capped, figure out what percentage of that you would attribute to schools (most likely the more expensive neighborhood has better roads and other amenities as well for similar reasons, so this is a pretty nebulous calculation), and then compare that to the cost of private school, keeping in mind that you may either be paying those property taxes after your kids finish school, or if you move, the timing might be such that you're forced to sell in a down market, adding some additional risk.

Personally, I would base the decision on likely need for moving flexibility. Remember, the decision is likely not just for 1-2 years, it might be your children's entire educations. If you're likely to move around within a reasonable radius of the private school but that could potentially change which public school they attend, that would add a point in thee private school's favor. If you're likely to move farther away, the private school might be impractical, and the choices where you move to might be less favorable, and the value of attending one with the intention of staying for the long run could be diminished by having to move away before completion. Personally, that's the biggest reason I'd lean towards the public schools in the best neighborhood I could comfortably afford. I just think there's too much risk of starting at some fancy private school and then having to move mid-program in my case, and on top of that, public schools are already "paid for" through taxes. I would rather move between public schools than private to private or private to public, just because I feel like that would be throwing money away on temporary private schooling, and the moves would presumably be based on either affordability or holistically judging the new situation to be better for my family overall, so it's hard to fault parents for moving public to public.

The one form of private schooling that I would consider splurging on is preschool, because it's so short and so beneficial to early childhood development, and there usually aren't public alternatives, so it just seems like a low-hanging fruit to me. Plus, it kind of doubles as childcare to an extent. I would much rather live in a cheaper neighborhood and send my kids to worse public schools after splurging on a high quality preschool than spend a bunch of money to live in a neighborhood with high quality public schools. Remember that school ratings are based on things like average test scores, accessibility, ESL programs, etc., not all of which necessarily apply to you. Your kids may do very well in a poor school by excelling in AP classes and extracurriculars. On the flip side, they might do terribly at a top-rated school. A lot of your return on investment comes down to your kids and also your involvement as parents.
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by 1789 »

How do you decide how good a public school is? Do you look at some ratings online?
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by bottlecap »

1789 wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 3:25 pm How do you decide how good a public school is? Do you look at some ratings online?
Yes, you can determine the school ranking this way. Whether a top ranked school equates to a "good" school is the questionable aspect of the calculation.

JT
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by KlangFool »

dboeger1 wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 3:12 pm
I'm surprised how few people mention property taxes in these topics. That's likely where a good chunk of your public school "tuition" is hiding. Try to figure out what those taxes would likely be, accounting for the possibility of gentrification increasing property taxes if increases are not capped, figure out what percentage of that you would attribute to schools (most likely the more expensive neighborhood has better roads and other amenities as well for similar reasons, so this is a pretty nebulous calculation), and then compare that to the cost of private school, keeping in mind that you may either be paying those property taxes after your kids finish school, or if you move, the timing might be such that you're forced to sell in a down market, adding some additional risk.
dboeger1,

Real estate is local. Hence, it is never straight forward. Not sure how relevant as per my location as compared to OP.

A) My county is #1 richest county in the USA as per median household income.

B) The residential property tax rate (0.98%) in my county is dropping. It is heavily subsidized by all the data centers being built in my county. Only a few counties/locations in the USA that has most of the data centers.

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Last edited by KlangFool on Wed May 12, 2021 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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NiceUnparticularMan
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by NiceUnparticularMan »

When making this decision I crunched a bunch of numbers and we settled on the cheaper neighborhood/private schools plan. Which worked out well! But I think it is very contingent.

In our case, with the cheaper neighborhood/private school route, for a comparably nice house (and a nice neighborhood except for the schools), we saved on downpayment, mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, and actually local income tax (it varies by district here). I made some conservative assumptions about the returns we would get on the homes appreciating versus investing the difference. I note in our area, it is definitely not a safe assumption the nice neighborhoods in good school districts have the highest appreciation rates--the highest appreciation has actually tended to be in "gentrifying" neighborhoods, with the nice houses in established neighborhoods more being middling.

Interestingly, my estimates ended up pretty much a wash for two kids doing K-12 private schools--while they were in school. Maybe this is just an example of efficient market pricing?

But once I projected out past the kids being in K-12, the neighborhood/private school route started quickly leaping ahead. Indeed, we were ahead on the front end and the back end when it was just one kid, and only behind when it was two kids at the same time. Not really a surprise, I would suggest.

Of course you could sell out of the better school district and move at that point, but I consider that a cost both financially (particularly if you factor in the transaction costs on a now-appreciated house), and personally.

And, I did think the private schools were at least nicer for the kids. Life-changing? No, probably not. But maybe a better quality experience while they were there.

So we're in the middle of this now, and currently, we appear to be doing a bit better on our decision than my projections. That is a combination of four main things--our neighborhood has gentrified a bit and experienced some extra appreciation that is not (yet at least) reflected in our assessment; our income, and thus the income tax savings, has been higher than I projected; our other investment returns have been pretty good overall; and then our private schools did much better with COVID.

Does this mean it is the right choice for everyone? Of course not. And it might well have worked out the other way for us.

But, long story short, I would in fact suggest trying to crunch the numbers as comprehensively as possible, including a realistic end game for when the kids are no longer in K-12.
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by leeks »

Isabelle77 wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 2:12 pm I think it depends on the public school, the private school, and the child(ren). There are a million versions of each and it's difficult to know without taking it all under consideration.
+1

And consider the difference in neighborhood and commutes. Does the desirable school district mean you have to drive to everything and the parents have longer work commutes? Does the cheaper house come with restaurants/park/gym/pool/etc within walking distance? Is there a big difference in the sense of community or other amenities in each location?

Don't assume a public school that has a high rating based on test scores will necessarily serve your own child well. It may, or it may not.
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leeks
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by leeks »

bottlecap wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 3:06 pm Private schools vary. This year of home schooling, however, has taught my wife and I that even the very best public schools are not very good. I had a similar experience when I was young. There's a lot of wasted hours and garbage time that could be put to better use learning or even playing.

If your children are exceptionally smart, they will likely overcome the boredom of public school and find other intellectual outlets. If your children are just smart, consider a private school that more meets their individual needs. Otherwise they won't be challenged or stimulated except when they find the rare exceptional teacher. If you're lucky, this may happen every couple of years in a public school. There are some very good private schools that aren't very expensive. They are worth the extra sacrifice.

I get it though. The allure of "free" education is seductive. But my wife and I are done with it, even if we have to work 3-5 additional years.

Good luck,

JT
Yes we are feeling similarly - although not about the ease of a child "overcoming the boredom" of public school. We are trying a private next year in another state to get better academics and a more individualized curriculum (so kids can get the challenge they need) and a better environment (access to outdoors, hands on materials, beautiful organized classrooms and facilities). And yes we value the record of being open in-person (with strict precautions) this year while publics in the same area stayed closed. On top of disappointment with elementary curricula in most public schools we have researched, I am not sure I can ever entrust my children again to education officials who thought it was okay to push 5 year olds onto hours of daily screen time for an entire year.
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by ncbill »

I'll mention this yet again, but my high school was redistricted between my junior and senior year.

It went from pulling the majority of students from one of the wealthiest part of the city to pulling the majority from the poorest areas, also doubling the number of students in a facility not designed for that.

"Getting beat up for your lunch money" might sound quaint, but not when you have it happen to your 17 & 18 year old friends.

I got lucky...at the time Advanced Placement course were new & taught at a different facility.

Senior year I only had two classes first thing in the morning at my high school & the rest of the day I was off-campus for those AP classes, so I managed to avoid most of the fights.

So when it came time for my spouse & I to make the decision we bought where we wanted & committed to sending the kids to private school.

Not too many years later my spouse started teaching there, so costs were reasonable.
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by 59Gibson »

KlangFool wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 3:58 pm
dboeger1 wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 3:12 pm
I'm surprised how few people mention property taxes in these topics. That's likely where a good chunk of your public school "tuition" is hiding. Try to figure out what those taxes would likely be, accounting for the possibility of gentrification increasing property taxes if increases are not capped, figure out what percentage of that you would attribute to schools (most likely the more expensive neighborhood has better roads and other amenities as well for similar reasons, so this is a pretty nebulous calculation), and then compare that to the cost of private school, keeping in mind that you may either be paying those property taxes after your kids finish school, or if you move, the timing might be such that you're forced to sell in a down market, adding some additional risk.
dboeger1,

Real estate is local. Hence, it is never straight forward. Not sure how relevant as per my location as compared to OP.

A) My county is #1 richest county in the USA as per median household income.

B) The residential property tax rate (0.98%) in my county is dropping. It is heavily subsidized by all the date centers being built in my county. Only a few counties/locations in the USA that has most of the data centers.

KlangFool
Tax rates don't necessarily tell the whole story. It depends how they're assessed. Some counties assess right at mkt value, many counties keep assessments artificially low. I've seen them recently vary between local counties by 20%. Ex house sells for 500k . One county assesses at $472k tax rate is 1.1%. Another county property at $500k is assessed at 385k. Not just one offs but widespread.

Counties can play with the assessments and tax rates. Thats what they did in 2009 after housing fell thru the floor. They had to keep revenue coming in while assessments dropped, so they just raised the tax rates, but they haven't lowered rates back to pre 08 levels as values have shot up..surprise surprise.
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by Arabesque »

Good public schools can mean different things, and if I ever make a choice about public schools again, I will be very clear on what that means locally. Even then, it's hard to know the details until you are in the system.

I was in the area's best school system: lots of support for sports, arts (great music program), special ed. However, there was only adequate academics and very little gifted programming, shockingly so until high school when the district put on the steam to get the kids into good colleges.

I sent my children to a strong, private, prep school in the next town and paid taxes for the public. Not the best economics.
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by Watty »

One thing that has not been mentioned is the choice between private and public also depends on the individual kids. I know someone who had two kids and one went to a public high school and the other went to a private high school just because that is what worked best for each of the kids. The kids were fine with the schools and had no desire to go to the other type of school. It was not a factor where one kid was academically stronger since they both were taking things like AP classes.
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

bottlecap wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 3:27 pm
1789 wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 3:25 pm How do you decide how good a public school is? Do you look at some ratings online?
Yes, you can determine the school ranking this way. Whether a top ranked school equates to a "good" school is the questionable aspect of the calculation.
In my experience, top ranked schools attest more to the skills of local real estate marketing than anything about the schools. I learned this the expensive way (ie, paying high property taxes and private school tuition).
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by Dagwood »

Fwiw, I asked this question a couple of months back, maybe a year or so ago. I got good advice here. I will share our parameters so you have a better sense.

In our area (metro DC), moving to the top notch school district (e.g., Great Schools rates a 9 or 10) and living in a house that is not a teardown candidate (my wife and I don't mean a McMansion, nor are we house snobs, we just want a clean, sound, relatively up to date home) will cost us about $400k more than the house we are in now. Maybe a little less than that if we get lucky, but that is hard when the market is so hot. So say roughly you would spend, on the lower end, $850k and on the higher end 1mm. You can spend much less but then you would be signing up for a house that needs major renovation. And again, I am not talking about Italian marble bathrooms, more like just making sure the roof is sound, the siding isn't 50 years old, the bathrooms don't leak onto the den ceiling, and the doors and windows are reasonably efficient and close and open without needing a floor jack.

Private high schools (our two boys are in parochial elementary school now) for both of our kids will run about $200k-$250k.

Our property taxes in our current home are reasonable ($4500 a year) - that would more than double in most of the better local districts to about $10k to $12k a year. Our oldest boy will finish high school in six years, our youngest in nine years. We would be carrying a larger note on a new home much longer than they are in school, even on a 15 year or 20 year repayment schedule.

My wife and I are both attorneys. I am in government and my job is very stable. My wife has her own practice and her position is stable as well due to the fact it is her client base. We are not house poor - our current home will be paid off in about 10 years and the amount we owe ($250k) is modest relative to our annual pre-tax income, materially less than our annual income. Our neighborhood is established and values are stable and slowly rising. We have net worth, most of it in retirement accounts, in the neighborhood of about $2.5mm, excluding what we have saved for the kids' education, and are in our mid to late 40s. We have no other debt than the mortgage than credit cards that are paid in full each month, the occasional zero interest promotional, and the occasional car loan we typically pay off quickly.

The most helpful advice we got was to check out the local high school we are zoned for, which is rated decent (5 or 6 on Great Schools) but has good honors and AP programs. Plus a lot of times, to be quite candid, I feel like the school ratings are simply measuring the wealth of the area. And I think too much money creates as many problems as too little in terms of the problems you see at the schools. Point is, I think you need to look at the school with your kid and make that determination individually. A rating of any type may not be that useful compared to your personal evaluation and what your kid thinks.

Next year, post Covid (God-willing), we'll let our older boy do the shadow thing, we'll visit the school ourselves and figure it out. If we think it is a good match and sufficiently challenging, and that the social elements will not create excessive distractions or other potential problems, we'll give it a shot. If not, we will likely go private. Unless something materially changes between now and then, the idea of moving, adding significant debt (even if it carries tax deductible benefits), and uprooting our whole life seems a bit extreme to move for schools that have not, quite candidly, put the kids first during the pandemic. (Our parochial school stayed open for in person learning because the school and the teachers put the kids first. So did the local private high schools. That means a lot to us.)

The final thing is that I have a strong aversion to ever being house poor. I don't want to re-start a mortgage, and I also don't like real estate leverage because real estate has a nasty and strong track record of becoming illiquid if the you know what ever hits the fan. I understand the tax benefits, and don't enjoy paying taxes more than the next person, but I also don't think it is smart to do financially questionable things simply because you get a tax benefit. Stated differently, I think excessive focus on tax planning can distort your analysis of what is the common sense, Boglehead-ish path. So our likely path is to stay put, evaluate the public option, and if we don't like it, go private.

I hope that is helpful to you. Good luck!
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by mr_brightside »

we decided to rent in the 'best' public school district. lots of AP offerings, good administration, etc. many houses here easily run north of $1Mil.

but i understand it's heavily dependent on the kid, school, activities, commute, cost, and on and on

can be a tough decision. if my area had crap for public school offerings I wouldn't hesitate to put them in private.

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Dennisl
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Joined: Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:46 pm

Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by Dennisl »

I'd be careful. My brother has a 2M house in the bay area that he bought for the public schools. Then the pandemic hit and he ended up having to sends the kids to private school so that they could have in class instruction and that he and DW could go back to work. The kids now don't want to return to public school and they're stuck with both bills.
stan1
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by stan1 »

This is entirely local and subjective. No way to generalize. What you might want to try to avoid is buying in the area with good public schools and then paying more to send kids to private schools.
Xrayman69
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by Xrayman69 »

What’s the difference in the taxes and upkeep for the “more expensive house”. Is the more expensive house a single time expense and what is the arbitrage for the cost vs private school. If the “more expensive house “ is 500K more and the taxes are 10K more per year, this is steep for 4 years but could break even if for 12 years. If the initial cost is 100K and taxes 1 K difference per year than perhaps a reasonable potential arbitrage over 12 years.

I suspect the difference is much more narrow for the OP and thus it is now a personal feel.
stoptothink
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by stoptothink »

stan1 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 1:12 pm This is entirely local and subjective. No way to generalize. What you might want to try to avoid is buying in the area with good public schools and then paying more to send kids to private schools.
This. As another poster pointed out, this past year or so has thrown everything out the window. I know several families who moved in the past year because their "good public school district" closed basically closed up shop and they now are struggling to figure out what the future will look like. Had my children's schools physically closed at any point, we probably would have moved (at least temporarily). This is one of many reasons that the perceived quality of the school district had/has little influence on where we decide to buy a home.
Pessimist55
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 12:16 am

Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by Pessimist55 »

Going through this myself. While my property has more than doubled so has property w the better schools. Decided to sell my place, use the proceeds and tack on another couple hundred and take on a significantly larger mortgage. (Bay area)
cbs2002
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Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:10 pm

Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by cbs2002 »

stoptothink wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 1:51 pm
stan1 wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 1:12 pm This is entirely local and subjective. No way to generalize. What you might want to try to avoid is buying in the area with good public schools and then paying more to send kids to private schools.
This. As another poster pointed out, this past year or so has thrown everything out the window. I know several families who moved in the past year because their "good public school district" closed basically closed up shop and they now are struggling to figure out what the future will look like. Had my children's schools physically closed at any point, we probably would have moved (at least temporarily). This is one of many reasons that the perceived quality of the school district had/has little influence on where we decide to buy a home.
We are in private now and our property taxes have increased substantially in the last few years. There's been some inflow during COVID for the reason above. Looking at making a switch to public for junior high and beyond though. Going to a 30-year mortgage at such low rates to get access to a top public school district would definitely be the financially rational choice for us. Since we feel both of our kids could thrive with the supports provided by a top public district, I think this will work. Your kids may have different needs.

While it is impossible to generalize, here goes - someone else said that private may have more benefit at the preschool/early years level, and I agree with that. We were able to get great support, teacher access and small class sizes which was hugely beneficial to one of our kids who we knew would have a challenging start. It was great. As they've gotten older, I see less and less value in private schooling and even some significant down sides. Of course, if your goal is to get them into an elite college, you may want to send them to an elite private school but I didn't get the sense that this was your priority.
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Cheaper house and private school or more expensive house and public school?

Post by Wannaretireearly »

mrspock wrote: Mon May 10, 2021 2:24 pm False choice? Good area with good school? vs best area with best school?

I’m not aware of any data actually showing better schools above a modest point actually matter in outcomes of kids. And there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing… in Palo Alto they have to pay for these people to sit by the train tracks to prevent kids from jumping in front of trains.

Why? Because of all the pressure their foolish parents put on them, and how “dumb” they feel being in a school with freakishly smart kids.

Be careful. Everything in moderation, including school quality. You want happy kids, and grown kids, not miserable high achieving ones who spend hours at the therapist.
This. +100. Find out more about the schools from kids/parents you trust. Nextdoor could help too.
This time next year, we'll be millionaires!
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