Square footage, architectural design, yard, access to parks and great restaurants–of all the factors that home buyers consider when buying a home, the school district is one of the most important. Buying a home in a good school district means there will always be a demand for your property and your home value is less likely to be significantly affected by fluctuations in the housing market.
Do Your Research
As you plan your move to the Triad, Triangle, or Charlotte area make sure you do your research. There are numerous websites that provide rankings of schools, as well as other helpful information to help you evaluate the district, like teacher-to-student ratio as well as reviews from parents.
The National Center for Education Statistics allows you to view data about school districts in your state including graduation rates, household demographics, and average real estate cost.
Great Schools is another helpful site that rates area schools, public and private, by standardized test scores, but also has a “community” feature that allows parents to rate their children’s schools.
Many schools now have FaceBook and Twitter accounts. “Like” or start following the schools that you are interested in so that you can get a feel for their culture. You can also set up Google alerts to let you know when the school (or anyone affiliated with it) is featured in the news.
It’s important to do this research as your realtor will be limited in what information that they can share regarding schools because they are responsible for adhering to the Fair Housing Act. Realtors can help you search for a home within boundaries that you identify for them, but they cannot guarantee that you will be able to enroll your child in a specific school.
Conduct a School Visit
Standardized test results can only tell you so much about a school. To determine if a school is right for your child, set up an in-person visit. You’ll want the opportunity to gauge the engagement levels of both teachers and students. You’ll also want to make sure that the school feels safe and fosters an environment that will inspire your child to excel academically and socially.
Make a list of questions to ask before your visit. Does the school adhere to a particular educational philosophy? What extracurricular activities are offered? How does the bus system work? Is there early and or after-care options to assist working parents? Are there advanced placement and special needs offerings?
Seek out Local Resources
If you’re moving for a new job, find out if you can email your colleagues for recommendations on neighborhoods with great schools. You may even end up with some new carpool friends!
Danielle Hegedus is a home decor writer based in Atlanta, GA. She writes for websites such as Modernize.com.