Public school boundaries impact home values and should be a concern for all homeowners whether they have school-aged kids attending public school, or not. Once homebuyers have children, schools often become a high priority in the home buying process. So, it’s not surprising that real estate professionals are often asked, “Is this home assigned to a good school?”
After attending some recent school boundary meetings, it’s clear that people have differing ideas on what makes a good school. Whether you place capacity, proximity, performance, size, diversity, or the availability of specific programs at the top of your list, real estate agents are not trained, nor licensed to evaluate schools. The onus is on buyers to do the research.
So, how can a home buyer make sure the home they purchase will be assigned to a school that matches up with their priorities? Here are a few tools to help buyers make informed decisions.
Researching Schools Online
School evaluation websites use rating and ranking systems that enable you to make comparisons and dig deeper for more specific data on each school.
GreatSchools.com has a mapping tool and covers pubic, charter, and private schools from Pre-K through High School. It’s grading system of 1-10 is quite popular with home buyers right now.
Niche.com covers K-College and includes feedback from students. It also reviews neighborhoods and companies.
By using one of these web tools to view multiple schools, you’re able to identify the strengths (and weaknesses) of individual schools and compare them to see which match your specific wants and needs.
School district websites also provide valuable school evaluation tools.
School Locators help you figure out which schools are assigned to a specific address or neighborhood. Search the name of the city or county and the words “School locator” and you’ll be directed to the page where you can enter a home address to get a list of the public schools assigned to that household.
Remember that school boundaries can be changed to meet the needs of the school–age population in that area so the schools assigned to that home may change over time.
School Profiles are report cards covering many factors one might use to select a school. They are available for each school within a school district and because the reporting information is standardized, these report cards help you compare the performance of schools against each other. Just search the name of the school district and the words “school profile” to get to the reports.
Links to the school district pages for most schools in the DC Metro Area are available on our Community Page.
What about word of mouth?
Consumers are accustomed to using recommendations and testimonials when making a buying decision for a product or service. However, most parents will have a hard time admitting that the school where they’ve enrolled their own children, is anything but great. So be specific with your questions to get answers that address your priorities.
In short, searching for a home in a great school district requires you to do some of your own research.
Looking for a home in a specific school district? Give me a call to Get Started.