How to Find the Best Schools in Your Area

Posted by Laine Smith on 3/13/15 8:00 AM

Topics: Home Ownership

A Realtor.com® survey found that 91 percent of homebuyers said school boundaries were an important element of their housing search. As if finding a new home doesn’t require enough decision-making, families with children must factor in finding quality schools to their home search, which can be tricky if moving to a new city or state.

FindingtheBestSchools

Here are a few ways to find the best schools in your area.

Talk to Your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent should be your first go-to for knowledge of local schools. Not only should they be able to provide you with information about local schools, your real estate agent can also narrow down housing possibilities based off your preference of school district (assuming you wish your children to attend a public school).

If you are thinking of sending your children to a private school, you will have more flexibility of choice as you won’t be restricted to a specific district boundary.

Do Your Own Research

Once you have a broad understanding of the schools within your area, you should further research specific schools online. Websites such as GreatSchools and SchoolDigger® allow you to view data, including test scores, student/teacher ratios, enrollment numbers, rankings, and reviews. SchoolDigger® lets viewers compare schools side-by-side and determine which schools are in the district of a prospective home address.

For more in-depth information on both private and public schools, visit The National Center for Education Statistics.

Make a School Visit

Perhaps the most important part of any school search is visiting beforehand. When you’ve narrowed down your list of prospective schools, set up a time to meet with teachers, principals, or administrative staff to get a feel for how your child would fit with their curriculum, policies and procedures.

Some good questions to ask include:

  • How are parents notified of students’ progress? How often?
  • What is the school’s disciplinary policy?
  • How does the school compare/differ with others in the area?
  • What extracurricular programs are available to students?
  • Is there free school busing available?
  • How does the curriculum fit with my child’s current knowledge level? If my child is behind, what will be done to get them up to speed?

Regardless of having school-age children, many homebuyers are privy to the knowledge that local schools affect home value. Finding a great school district is not only a significant advantage to your child’s education but your home’s resale value, as well.

For more information on home buying and financing, download our free Mortgage 101 Handbook, a great resource for first-time and repeat homebuyers.

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