Moving Family Forward

When purchasing a home there are many factors that must be taken into consideration. Location, local amenities, potential resale value, and your wants/needs in a home. Whether you choose to live in this home or make it an investment property to flip, there is one thing you must consider: the school district.

But, how does one, who may be new to the area, know what school districts are better than others? Thankfully, there are several online tools that can help you vet a school district.


You’ve found the house, but the next step is figuring out if the school district that it’s located in is a good option for your family and the family that moves into your home next. The World Wide Web is on your side and offers several options to research schools. A few of these are GreatSchools, Niche, and SchoolDigger. We’ve broken down the pros to each site.



This site lets you search schools by state or zip code. Once a map is populated, you’ll be able to sort each school by different ratings - test scores, college readiness, and student progress. Aside from academics, you are also able to review the equity and environment of the school and location.



Niche also lets you search schools by zip code. Each school gets its own report card with a grade for features like academics, teachers, clubs and activities, diversity, college prep, and health and safety. That way, you can easily see how its ratings are calculated.


Niche also breaks down cost of living in the area, school reviews, and an overall ranking compared to other schools in the area.



SchoolDigger lets you search by zip code to get the lowdown on different schools by specific area. Not only that, but you'll have the option to pull up rankings by state so that if you're not sure where to begin your home search, you can see which school districts are ranked the highest and work from there.


Aside from online resources, another great resource is talking to your real estate agent or finding actual parents whose kids are enrolled there to talk about their experiences. If you think you’ve found a school that is a great fit, don’t hesitate to call the school to set up a meeting/tour to learn more about it.


So why worry so much about the school district? A more recent study by the Brookings Institution found that housing costs tend to be higher in areas where high-scoring schools are located. The study, which looked at the 100 largest metro areas in the country, found an average difference of $205,000 in home prices between houses near high-performing and low-performing schools. Homes around high-performing schools also tended to be larger, with 1.5 more rooms than homes near low-performing institutions. In addition, the number of rentals in areas near high-performing schools is around 30 percent lower.


“We think of public education as being free, and we think of the main divide in education between public and private schools,” Jonathan Rothwell of the Brookings Institution was quoted as saying at the website for the National Association of Realtors. “But it turns out that it’s actually very expensive to enroll your children in a high-scoring public school.”


The downfall? It can create a challenge for those who are looking to move into a specific neighborhood. 


Source: Public School Review



Don’t shy away from doing a lot of research or asking a ton of questions when you’re looking for a good school district. After all, you want a better quality of life and it should be a priority. Once you narrow down your choices, consider visiting the neighborhood and schools to help you decide.


By weighing all the pros and cons, you’ll be able to decide what’s best for you and your family.