Alma Matters

By Hugo Torres

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) gives real estate agents the opportunity to input school and school district information for potential buyers to consider.

Therefore, it came as a shock to all concerned when, years ago, a certain real estate broker publicly advertised that a home resided in a sought-after school district when in fact it didn’t. The mistake was made feasible because the broker assumed that the home shared the neighborhood with properties which all belonged to the area governed by these marquee schools. But you know what they say about assuming?

In her haste, the agent failed to look over the school district map, did not speak thoroughly with the out-of-area owner and considered it safe to advertise what seemed obvious.

A frenzy over the property ensued and after dozens of offers were mulled over the seller finally decided upon an all-cash approach from a family with several children who were looking forward to their new schools in the fall.

Luckily for all, the parties discovered the mistake in the midst of escrow and after a few chosen words were exchanged a parting of ways was negotiated.

The agent was unceremoniously let go from her representation; the seller went on to sell the home for considerably less; and the grievance committee I served on at the time got a very interesting case to consider and learn from.

Schools and school systems have always been a major consideration of buyers. Real estate agents often speak of them as marketing opportunities and buyers often research local school information and/or will request that an agent will furnish it.

In the San Gabriel Valley, I have witnessed hearty bidding wars over homes that are less than turn-key but whose footprint lies within the borders of award-winning districts. On the flip side, I have spoken
with dozens of clients who will offer considerably less simply because the schools in the area don’t garner a renowned reputation.

The latest infographic issued the California Association of REALTORS outlines the amenities some would forgo in order to ensure better schooling options. It brought to mind this story from years past and made me relook at the borders of our school districts.

Better to know than to assume. Some education can be rather costly.

Hugo Torres can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/monrovian21

July 22, 2014

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