Saturday, March 31, 2012

Auckland real estate - the value of lists #1, school zones

Now one thing you'll quickly learn in the property market is that everyone you deal with is nice but it's likely you'll be seen as a walking wallet.  The only thing distinguishing most companies from one another is their ability to keep the information from you and ration it out in exchange for either your custom or your cash.

So do it yourself, it's not hard...

First - a quick look at the market will show you a huge amount is based on school zones.  

Real estate agents crow that a particular house is within a certain school zone but why can't you do a search on their site or on any site for houses by school zone?  Because although that would benefit you as a buyer, it doesn't benefit the real estate agent (who wants you to rely on them for "keeping an eye out" in the right zones) and it doesn't really benefit the schools.  Yes you could check for this information but only on a property-by-property basis.  

You could try, the government site that shows online maps of school zones, but the information isn't downloadable and it's hard to print out the images.  And you'll need to manually search for each address.

Or try this site -  Back in 2010 someone made an Official Information Act request to the Ministry of Education and now you can download a handy list of ALL school zones in NZ that you can open in Google Earth and play with.  Yes it's a single alphabetical list and yes school zones vary very slightly over time but hey, it's free.

So... download it (it's free), open in Google Earth and save the .kml in a new folder.

Next, go to this site - - and download the schools directory.  Open in Excel and turn on autofilter, then sort schools by what's important to you (demographics, roll, level, decile, location, gender, etc etc).  Thin it down to a list of schools you like.

Next go to Google Maps and create some folders (e.g. "primary"/"intermediate"/"secondary") then just drop and drag the school .kml's into these folders which you can then turn on & off.

You can now surf and print satellite and street maps of anywhere in NZ, turn on and off different school zones and look at where the overlaps are.

Good thing for us is that many house prices are based on the decile rating of secondary schools, but the most important thing for us at the moment is a good primary school.  Have a think about what's important for you in terms of the school.

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