There are a lot of things (beyond a property itself) to consider when buying a new home. One of those things that is especially important to families with children is the school district in which houses you are considering for purchase are located. Here are four tips to help you evaluate schools when searching for your next home.
Tip No.1 – Know What You Want in a School
For starters, you need to know what you consider important in a school. Consider things like learning styles, curriculums, and extracurricular activities. Does the school’s rating matter to you or are you more concerned with opportunities offered to the students? What does your child need to either improve upon any weaknesses or master certain skills? Knowing your expectations ahead of time will enable you to decide if a school is right for your child.
Tip No. 2 – Consult With Those in the Know
Talking to others who have insights and experiences with local schools is one of the best ways to gather relevant information. Your real estate agent is a great resource for an objective opinion on schools based on facts. To get information that is based more on experience, talk to the neighbors and/or families in the school district that had kids already go through the local school systems. They will be able to provide you with inside information based on first-hand experiences that may give you a better feel for a school.
Tip No. 3 – Do Your Own Research
You should also do some independent research on each school in a local school district. Visit each school and school district’s website and social media pages. This will give you a feel for the school’s culture. You will also be able to find out any important details regarding attendance at the school.
To access more data, visit websites such as GreatSchools, Neighborhood Scout, and School Digger. The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics is another valuable resource because it offers extensive amounts of data on individual schools in the U.S. Such data from these reference sites includes curriculum, standardized test scores, awards, student-to-teacher ratio, specialized programs, and how many graduates pursue higher education opportunities.
Tip No. 4 – Visit the Schools
After finishing your research, be sure to take the time to actually visit each school. There is no substitute for driving up to the school, walking the halls, and meeting the administrators and teachers. You will be able to see for yourself how the school operates, what the classrooms look like, how clean and safe it is, and what the culture is like. It is also a good opportunity to ask questions of teachers and administrators.
Buying a home is a big decision and school options play a big part in choosing the right house for your family. These tips will help you find a home close to a school that will meet your family’s needs.