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More home sales in Palm Beach County contingent upon private school spots for children

Out-of-state buyers put education at top of list
Posted at 4:46 PM, Nov 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-17 18:53:43-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The influx of new residents to Palm Beach County in the last few years is not only impacting housing but also local schools.

Outside buyers are coming up with creative ways to obtain their desires both in real estate and education for their children.

Home is now South Florida for Kelly Klein, who moved here from New York City about five years ago.

Klein said she had the Greene School, a private school in West Palm Beach, in mind for her child once she moved here.

Kelly Klein speaks about what it was like when she moved from New York to South Florida and the search for private schools for her child.
Kelly Klein speaks about what it was like when she moved from New York to South Florida and the search for private schools for her child.

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"The competition in New York City private schools is difficult, and here it's getting more difficult because there's more and more people coming from all over," she said. "Chicago, California, Texas, people are moving here."

Caroline Harper, a realtor with the Meyer Lucas Team at Compass, said all of the pieces have to line up now for some out-of-state buyers.

"We are coupling the home with the ability for the buyer to secure a spot for their child," Harper said. "Greene School, Benjamin, Kings, I've had some at Jupiter Christian."

She said that means contingencies in some contracts to buy homes. Oftentimes, Harper said there is a time limit, a non-refundable deposit, or the ability to still show the home for a better offer as a way to protect the seller.

Caroline Harper, real estate agent with the Meyer Lucas Team at Compass
Caroline Harper says she has clients that won't move to South Florida until their child is able to get into a private school of their choice.

"It's happening more often, especially from Colorado, California, New York," Harper said. "They are pretty specific on not just the quality of the home, but the quality of the lifestyle for their kids. They want these schools."

Some educators and real estate agents said for some of these families finding an educational home for their children is just as important as the actual home that they live in.

"If you think about it, back in the day when people would move into a certain area for a public school it's almost the same thing as parents would look for where is an A-rated public school, let me find out where I should purchase my home," Dr. Denise Spirou, the head of the Greene School, said. "It's really now transferring over to the private school education. What's a school that is going to meet my child's needs, and where can I find a house that will be within driving distance."

Dr. Denise Spirou, head of Greene School
Dr. Denise Spirou discusses how more parents are seeking a private school of their choice before making the move to South Florida.

She said the school was "prepared for the influx" and that education and homes seemed to be going hand-in-hand.

"I actually just had a parent that wanted to come down here four months ago and couldn't because they couldn't find a house, and they literally picked up the phone last week and said, 'Denise, we found a house. We are ready to go.'"

Harper said sometimes the deals work out and sometimes they don't.

"We were able to give the seller the price they wanted, and on the contract, since it was a cash deal, we put contingent upon the buyer successfully enrolling his daughter at the Benjamin School," she said. "I had one with Kings Academy, and it didn't work out, and the seller was OK with it because they were able to market it for a backup offer. …They didn't move here, yet."