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Decision 2018: Lincoln School Building

Lincoln MA school building project image
  • After comprehensive community collaboration, we will undertake to (re)build and pay for an innovative and attractive $94.9M preK-8 Lincoln Pubic School, meaning a 17-19% increased property tax bill.
  • Property value impact cannot be forecast; it was a decision the town needed to make without market speculation.
  • The project makes it EVEN MORE important to use a Lincoln Realtor when selling.

At the December 1, 2018 Special Town Meeting, Lincoln voted overwhelmingly to advance a school building project. Then, on December 3rd, the town again overwhelmingly approved a $88.5M bond to pay the balance of the $93.9M school. This will cause a substantial increase in property taxes, and it will fill a deep need for improved spaces for Lincoln Public School students who are currently impacted by inconsistent temperatures, leaking roofs, and aging mechanicals and layouts. Lincoln will bear the cost without state funding, and therefore will have total control over the project, which will help keep the school a functioning community center and allow innovation in design and environmental impact. The tax implications will be substantial, with an increase of nearly 20% (before accounting for the non-deductability of local taxes against federal income tax burdens). This complex situation demanded that we stay quiet even when advocates or detractors sought our opining on the impact on property values. We did not make a statement about the impact because there is NO possible way to know the impact, especially over the next few years. It was of course inevitable that major renovations are necessary and the long-term market implications for inaction would have been negative.

In 2017, we surveyed top Lincoln Realtors about what they experienced with buyers and you can read the results here:  REALTOR SURVEY regarding SCHOOLS We submitted the results to FinCom. What it confirmed is that buyers already believe the Lincoln Schools are good, and are generally unaware of any issue with the school building. They are often sensitive to tax rates and consider other towns as alternatives. However, this survey was conducted before an exhaustive exploration of the buildings’ deficits was made public across many websites including LincolnTalk, the Lincoln Squirrel, the SBC website and others. Buyers have access to those sources and those who investigate the community before buying now have a much more comprehensive background on the infrastructure.

There will be buyers who decide they’d rather be in another community where their money will buy a similar house but the taxes are lower. There will be other buyers who read about our innovative school and choose Lincoln for that reason over neighboring towns. Which buyer pool will be larger, and willing to pay more for housing CANNOT be forecast at this time, so the impact on housing prices CANNOT be known. 

What can be known is that when selling your home in Lincoln, it is VITAL that to maximize your sale price you list with a local agent. We’re not trying to toot our own horn here (even though we do outperform the market), but because: 1. Our buyers in Lincoln have gotten OUTRAGEOUS deals on houses listed with agents unfamiliar with value in Lincoln, and 2. We know how to sell the value of this major building project to buyers and detail why it was a necessary and responsible choice — what buyers NEED to hear to understand why they should buy your house. Lincoln Realtors know the real value of our town and what it offers EVERY potential buyer – something you need to maximize your home’s value to the market.