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Lee Ginsburg is an award-winning Realtor with 30 years experience in Peninsula residential real estate. With the utmost attention to detail, Lee delivers expert marketing, negotiating, and management of all financial matters. With a strong commitment to honesty, fairness and hard work, Lee has successfully helped first time home buyers, move up buyers and investors.

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Is the Bay Area Home Buyer Obsessed with School Scores

Many homebuyers in San Mateo, San Bruno, Burlingame, Millbrae and up and down the peninsula purchase their homes based on school scores. I am not sure if API, Academic Performance Index, (http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/ ) scores is an accurate evaluation method to determine a young person’s education. I find the API scores of a school to determine the college you child goes to as reliable as a City’s Median home prices is in determining the value of your home. Homes in a city are varied and encompass a large diversified area just like a school’s diversified student enrollment and have high and low performing students.

kids in school

Many of our public schools have a large population of intelligent non- English speaking immigrants. Teachers are trained and cater to that specific group and they also teach to the more advanced student by offering enrichment classes, honor classes, etc. Both of my son’s went to a public High School in San Mateo that possibly has the lowest scores amongst the San Mateo High Schools. They both graduated and went to very good schools. In their graduating class several students were accepted into Harvard, Stanford, MIT and more of the top schools. Some of their friends went to a private high school, were not happy, did not perform well and transferred out. A peninsula high school with a rating of 10 has had an epidemic of suicides. Top scores is not the final answer.

I think some parents feel if their child goes to a high achieving school their child will be a high achiever. I believe an educated, happy and successful child comes more from the family and home not from a school’s API scores. A parent must spend quality time with their child as a person and also as a teacher. They must work as a team with the teacher. They must read to them and listen to the child read. They must review homework and make sure it is completed. President Obama said in his state of the union address (http://www.whitehouse.gov/state-of-the-union-2011), "We need to teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair."

I believe some home buying parents depend too much on school scores. I think they should also look at the parent participation, the teacher/student ratio, the teacher relationship with the students and parents, the extracurricular classes, sports, clubs, spirit, music, language classes, art programs, fund raising, and more. They should visit the school and sit in on the class. We must keep in mind some people will perform better when they are the high performer amongst their peers rather than an average performer in a high performing peer group. Often a high self esteem will lead to a more successful, happy and satisfied adult. And isn’t that our goal.


Many buyers whom prefer a high performing school are on the right track. They are probably the same parents that will begin the leaning process in their home. They will read, do math, get involved in class projects and in the school. They will bring up their children with the idea education is of vital importance. In my home it was understood that after High School it was college. In today’s home after college it is advanced degrees. As caring parents we must understand our children. Not every child needs to go to college to be a successful adult. Many of the schools are beginning to offer vocational classes again. I applaud that. There are culinary, mechanic, nursing and other very good programs.

As Margaret Lavin writes in the San Jose Mercury news, http://www.mercurynews.com/san-mateo-county/ci_16994346?nclick_check=1 "we need to talk to our children. Often that is difficult as we are working long hours and try to have a life also but tete-a-tete with your school aged children is important."

I will close with a quote from Margaret; “Standardized test scores influence teachers reputations, school funding, and of course Real Estate Prices. Being a brainiac is great, but being personable and well rounded also leads to future happiness and success.”

I would love to hear your thoughts.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

2010 Remodeling Cost as Compared to Resale Value

Remodeling Magazine annually researches the cost of remodeling with the help of Home Tech Information Systems. They also research the value remodeling adds with the help of the National Association of Realtors. They put this information together by regions. For a complete report please go to http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2010/costvsvalue/national.aspx

Below are the results for the San Francisco region.
A small difference in the size or scope of a project, or in the quality of finishes and accessories you choose, can dramatically affect the cost.

The “value” of a project at resale is always subject to forces that are difficult to predict. Changing how a space is used may meet the immediate needs of the current homeowner, but may be at odds with what prospective buyers are looking for. How the value of a remodeling project is perceived also depends on a variety of factors that traditionally affect home values, including the condition of the rest of the house, the value of similar homes nearby, and the rate at which property values in the surrounding area are fluctuating. Comparable values are particularly difficult to judge in the current economic climate, in which the effect on the value of surrounding homes of foreclosed properties and short sales are part of the equation. The mere presence of a large number of unsold homes, whether new or existing, well-maintained or distressed, can have a constricting effect on surrounding home values.

The Cost vs. Value Report provides an accurate snapshot of the general housing market, but it cannot be applied accurately to an individual remodeling project for your particular home. Resale value is only one factor among many that a homeowner must take into account when making the decision to remodel. I think the best course of action is to obtain construction cost estimates from reputable local remodelers and then give me a call at 877-Lee-Sells to discuss the value it will add to your home.

Project Job Cost Resale value % recouped

Attic Bedroom $70.938 $74,206 1 04.6%

Bath Addition $54,927 $44,476 81.0% ­

Bath Remodel $22,014 $22,440 101.9% ­

Deck Addition $18,636 $18,987 101.9%

Deck Addition $15,091 $17,025 112.8% ­

Entry Door $ 4,197 $3,438 81.9%

Entry Door $ 1,546 $2029 112.8%

Family Room $113,274 $109,553 96.7% ­

Garage Addition $79,104 $64,208 81.2%

Garage Dr. Repl.$1,579 $1,992 126.1%

Home Office $34,574 $21,641 62.6%

Major Kitchen Remodel $71.015 $67,583 95.2% ­

Minor Kitchen Remodel $25,039 $27,816 111.1% ­

Master Suite Addition $143,853 $123,003 85.5% ­

Roof Replacement $28,699 $21,821 76.%

Siding Replacement $14,931 $11,111 74,4