August Folsom Lake Entertainer Article

Real Estate

In August, it's the start of school season.  There have been some changes to how the state measures school performance.  In this article, I outline some of the information.  Check it out.  Go to http://www.folsomlakeentertainer.com/sections/1432. scroll to page 24.  If you have any feedback, questions or input, please contact me.  

August in Folsom: Back to School.  Home sale shortage.  Repeat.

August sure comes up quickly. In this town, that means Back to School time.  Already. I’m sure the kids feel like summer just started.

Schools are such an important part of our community.  They also impact our home values and increase the area’s desirability.  As a Realtor, I hear firsthand from future residents just how important it is to have high-performing schools for their kids to attend. In my experience, school performance is usually in the Top 2 of what’s important to the buyer.  Just how a buyer picks Folsom or El Dorado Hills as a future place for their home varies.  Sometimes it’s a job transfer.  Other times, it’s looking for an area that is less expensive than the Bay Area and offers high value.  School scores & ratings alone are important.  But more than likely, the school’s performance and boundary lines play an important part of a family’s decision on where to move.  Oh yeah.  Utility costs are a factor too.  

Many people simply use Greatschools.org.  There, it’s easy to see that Sandra J. Gallardo Elementary School receives a GreatSchools rating of 10; the highest score awarded.  Some want to know more.  That’s where the California School Dashboard Report comes in. This column is not meant to be a primer on the details of CA Department of Education’s accountability system but it’s important to have a basic understanding of how schools are now measured.  In California, the measure of a school’s performance used to be measured by one number; the “API”, or Academic Performance Index. Each school had a number based solely on standardized tests.  Schools received a score between 200 and 1000.  If their score was over 800, life was good.  They also focused on year-over-year score growth. Folsom schools consistently scored over 800 and 900.  But the system had its flaws. 

Recently, California changed its educational standards, moving to a set of Common Core State Standards.  These standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject in each grade.  The CA State Board of Education defines these standards for all students, from Kindergarten through high school.  They are designed to prepare students for college and the workplace.

Now, California uses a School Dashboard Report that includes 10 indicators of School Success.  The score is no longer based on a single number based on student performance on standardized tests.  There are 6 state indicators that include Academic Performance, Graduation Rates, Absenteeism and more.  Each indicator receives one of five color coded performance levels and how current performance compares to past performance.  The other four indicators are local indicators that include basic conditions like safety and cleanliness of buildings and Parent Involvement.  Districts collect and report local data on these indicators and receive one of 3 performance levels. 

Now, anyone with access to the internet can visit the California School Dashboard website and see  that the same Gallardo elementary school gets the highest score awarded English Language Arts, English Learner Progress and Suspension rate for Spring 2017.  They received the 2nd highest score for Math.  You can also see change from previous year and student performance by various groups. Similarly, district information for local indicators is as easy to access and read. 

As a result, Dashboard reporting may allow our local schools have more opportunity to shine in the eyes of the public and those interested in moving to this area.  It seems like people are still moving into the Folsom area as quickly as they can.  They’re also moving as quickly as they can just to see and bid on the home.

I recently had a current listing in Folsom where the home went on the market on a Friday around 12 noon.  By 6pm, a handful of showings occured, and an offer had already been submitted.  Followed by another offer the following morning.  And more showings.  And more showings.

If a home is presented to reflect the price and priced effectively, the seller should expect to receive one or more offers in a reasonable amount of time.  So what’s a reasonable amount of time?  Well, at my deadline for this column, there were 131 homes on the market in Folsom.  That’s really low.  Our high water mark so far this year was 171 in May.  In July 2016, 215 homes were on the market, July 2015 had 212.  July is usually one of the months of the year with the highest number of homes available.  No more water shortage.  Just a homes-on-the-market shortage.  So for the 1st half of 2017, in Folsom, the average home sold was almost $511,000, up from last year.  Homes also sold in an average of just 20 Days on the Market.  20 Days. I know.  For you buyers that are trying to get their offer accepted, you call B@#! S*&#. As soon as you see the home come on the market, you rush out to see it, make a buying decision in 20 minutes flat before dinner, just to find out that someone else has also submitted an offer.  And then someone else.  This happens in a weekend.  Not 20 days.

Now’s a great time to sell.  I also work with lots of buyers and help them through the buying process and regain control. I talk with sellers and buyers about these topics and more all the time. With proper planning and a good Realtor (Luckily, I know a really good one….), you can smoothly get to your next stage in life.  For more tips on how to successfully navigate the real estate purchase or sale, or suggestions on Folsom topics, please contact me.