Proximity to good quality schools is one of the most important factors considered when purchasing a home, especially for young families or young couples who are planning to have children. Homes that are located near top-quality school districts generally have higher property values and huge resale potential. Many home buyers are willing to forgo certain home amenities just to have access to quality schools.
Here are some things you can do to choose a good school district when searching for a home:
1. Create a checklist of the qualities and values that are important to you and your child's education.
If you consider a good school district as one of the major factors in your home-buying decision, contemplating what values matter to you most when it comes to your child’s education is also relevant. A school will be your child’s second home, so you need to be clear about your preferences. Do you want a traditional or an alternative style of learning? How important are extracurricular and skill enhancement activities to you and your child’s development? What are your child’s skills, strengths, and weaknesses, and how can these be improved? What sort of contributions are you willing to make to improve your child’s learning? These are just some of the questions you have to ask yourself when deciding what type of school you would like your children to attend.
2. Do your online research.
Most schools and school districts have respective websites where anyone can get extensive information. Spend some time checking the sites of each school you're considering and read local reviews. Also, check out other resources that provide valuable information, such as GreatSchools.org, NeighborhoodScout, and the National Center for Education Statistics, among others. Take time reading downloadable school newsletters and calendars to familiarize yourself with local news and events. It is also worth looking at some of the following information:
Standardized test scores
The offered curriculum
The latest rate of students attending higher education
Awards and certifications the school has recently received
The educational qualifications of most teachers
Any specialized programs for gifted students or students who need extra assistance
3. Consult your local real estate agent.
The next best resource for neighborhood and nearby school knowledge is your local real estate agent. They have a good understanding of the local school districts and can provide you with an objective opinion. Consider their tips and recommendations, as in many cases, data and rankings may not properly guide you to the school that's truly the right fit for you and your child.
4. Learn from other parents whose children already attend the school system.
You may have done your online research about particular schools and their reputation, but hearing about the personal experience of local parents whose children already attend the school system is more valuable. Speak to them or read reviews so you can get a general understanding of what a specific school is really like to attend. This way, you may also learn whether their children attend any amazing after-school programs or individualized education programs that could also be great for your children.
5. Get the real picture by actually visiting the school.
Once you've narrowed down your choices, actually visit the school so you can see how it operates and how interactions are taking place. Is the school generally clean and orderly? Are you confident about campus security? Learn more about the school’s culture and values by observing its people and surroundings. How well does the front office interact with the kids? How are the students’ works and achievements being displayed? Is the school secretary good-natured and professional? And don’t forget to ask enough questions to make sure you’re comfortable about the school you choose. Just make sure to call first and ask permission before visiting as some schools may have certain visitor restrictions.