Helping Clients Beyond the Obvious Image

Helping Clients Beyond the Obvious


Stigmatized properties, flood zones, there’s so much to think about when you’re buying a house. But if you’re a parent – there may be additional considerations.

The Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB) recently announced changes to their catchment area for some schools. Essentially, this means they’ve redrawn the boundaries for some schools and people who planned to send their kids to one school are finding out they’ll be sending their kids elsewhere, which may require a much longer bus ride.

And Edmonton isn’t unique in this regard.

Many cities and towns have faced similar issues. Maybe a new neighbourhood has grown more quickly than anticipated and the closest school can’t accommodate the influx of kids. In that case, kids may be bused further away. Or, perhaps a school has scored particularly highly on a school ranking or on standardized testing and parents are actually looking to buy a house specifically in the neighbourhood that feeds into that school.

Either way, there will be parents who want to consider these issues when buying a new home. What, as a real estate professional, can you do to help them?

As with most other things when working with clients, get to know them, and their needs and wants. For buyer clients, you need to engage them in a conversation about what’s important to them. Obviously, the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and parking spots will probably be a consideration, but in getting to know them, you’ll likely find other less obvious things. For parents, one such thing may be school zones.

What should you do when asked about the local schools? To start with, a change in a catchment area for a school that would affect a specific property doesn’t qualify as a material latent defect. That being said, of course you want to help your buyer clients buy the property that is most attractive to them. The more knowledge and information you have that you can pass on to your clients, the greater value you bring.

If you don’t know anything about the local school zones, that’s not necessarily a problem – but make sure you don’t lead your buyer clients astray by giving them wrong information. Direct them to the local school board for more information or, make a point of informing yourself about the neighbourhood schools. Just make sure any information you pass along is accurate.