How Private & Public School Admissions Affect the Bay Area Buying Season​

Though schools influence virtually every suburban move city families make, the Bay Area’s buying season has its own unique driver: San Francisco elementary school notification and admission letters. In mid-March city families find out which schools—public and private—their kids gained entrance to for fall. The end result? Families that didn’t score the coveted seats they were crossing their fingers for create a flurry of activity on the suburban real estate front. Now in search of the perfect school in suburbia, these city parents are on the hunt for the perfect community and the perfect home fast,—and that’s where Suburban Jungle comes in.

While every family is different when it comes to school admissions and, overall, what inspires their move to suburbia, we often see a common pattern in San Francisco. Families spend the 12-24 months leading up to the application deadline exploring schools and prepping their submissions—and then they wait, wait, wait. And, often, it’s not just about wondering what school their child will attend come fall it’s also wondering where the family will callhome once those letters land.

This year, public school notification letters dropped on March 11th, with private school admissions offers following just six days later. Families who are happy with their options at this point in the process usually stay put or start exploring other homes in the city. Those who aren’t excited about their offers kick off another round of the waiting game, sitting until mid-May when public school round two letters go out or, even, mid-June when round three happens.

And once it all pans out? That’s when the suburban scramble starts! Families are searching for towns with A+ public schools, or areas in close proximity to where their child will head to school come fall. It’s a busy time for families, for our strategists and for the agents in these local markets—everyone’s got limited time and a laundry list of must-dos that’s often condensed into just a few short weeks.

Our goal? To help families navigate this frenzied suburban process—or any urban-to-suburban transition, contingent on those all-important letters or not. We’ve seen families roll the dice in a big way—they move a year or two before kindergarten starts and hope for the best. Sometimes everything pans out—the community, the school, the house—and, sometimes, it takes a little pivot or two to get it just right. One family we know was living in an area for more than a year when kindergarten admissions letters were mailed. When their son didn’t get into the public school they were hoping for, they quickly explored other communities then bought a house in Burlingame just in time for the new school year—and they love their town and the life they’ve built in suburbia.

So we want to know—where are YOU in the school admissions process? Waiting patiently for round two letters? Already planning a leap from the city to the ‘burbs? Comment below and share your experience with the team and with other San Francisco families in the midst of their own should-I-stay-or-should-I-go debate!

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