Before starting today’s rant (or perhaps the first of the day’s rants), I want to take a moment to talk about the guys today who embrace the new fashion of tight clothes. You’ve seen them: shirts that barely make it down to the belt line (which may be irrelevant because hipsters have turned to suspenders), skinny jeans, and most sadly of all, suits that are about two sizes too small. I can’t help it – every time I see someone dressed like this, one image comes to mind:

 Source: straight.com

I thought of these guys when I saw an ad for some new condos that are for sale on Placentia Ave. in Costa Mesa. The ads feature a hipster couple and if Pee Wee were not wearing a suit, he’d be dressed like the guy in the ad.

I get it: I’m not the target audience and the ad is not meant to appeal to me, it’s supposed to capture the attention of hip young singles and hip young couples without kids.

But I still think they look goofy.

The typical reaction to the likes and dislikes of these prospects is that because they don’t have kids and aren’t planning to have kids for a few years, if ever, that the quality of the local schools would not be an issue.

But that’s wrong. These people do care and what the developers and marketing people and real estate agents fail to understand is that for every person or couple who visits the site to inspect the units, there are dozens who have been online and decided to pass without looking. In my world, marketing, that’s called a lost opportunity, or, in my sports analogy world, it’s a missed at-bat.

These home buying prospects are smart and should be given more credit. They do the research, which these days includes both a street view and a satellite image of the area in which the property is located. Aside from the light industrial neighborhood (which, I realize, may actually appeal to them), there is the question of the quality of the neighborhood schools, which they can easily check at greatschools.org.

When they check they’ll see that the surrounding elementary schools are not doing very well. Schools are rated on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best. Here are the scores for the elementary schools in the area:

Whittier 3
Wilson 4
Pomona 4
College Park 3

There are two more. Rea Elementary scored a 1, and the once proud and fantastic Victoria Elementary, a former Blue Ribbon school, scored a 6.

While I was researching these schools this morning, there was a banner ad for the aforementioned condos in the middle of the results. That tells me that the marketing people get it, that they understand that these prospects, even though they do not have kids, still care about the quality of the local schools. I heard it recently from a real estate agent and saw this post this morning by another real estate agent who was responding to a home buying question from a childless couple who wanted to know how much schools mattered:

“A good school district is a huge factor in the community value in your home purchase. It will also help for future resale value. Even if you do not use the school district directly a good school district is a bonus for the community and ensures higher property values.

It is surprising, astonishing really, that with so much at stake there is no developer stampede before the school board and the administration to fix Costa Mesa’s underperforming schools.

That’s goofy, too.

Steve Smith

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