Money Matters,  Parenting

Choosing a School while Choosing a Home: Find the Perfect School District

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Choosing a home in the perfect school district

For parents with kids, or individuals planning on starting a family in the near future, buying a home comes with an added requirement of making sure your children will have access to a quality education. Therefore, choosing a home means choosing a school district, too. Just as homes and mortgage loans are not one size fits all, neither are school districts. Consider these factors to help find the perfect school district and the perfect home.

Determine the type of school you want for your child

Many families choose a home by looking at neighborhoods located in the best school districts. But public schools aren’t your only option. Consider the learning needs of your children when choosing a school and make a list of the most important factors before you start looking. You may be able to send your child to a specialized public school that places an emphasis on particular subjects. Charter schools and magnet schools often boast higher academic results for children. Still, other parents may choose home schooling or a virtual school accessed online. Choosing a religious or secular private school is another option. Even if you plan on sending your child to a private school, you should still consider the school district when choosing a home as it may impact the property taxes and resale value of your new home.

Research potential schools and districts

Once you have an idea of the type of school that would work best for your family, it’s time to research and compare your options. A great first step is to find the school district’s report card.  Under No Child Left Behind, all public schools that receive federal funding receive an overall report card rating based on academic performance on state tests, graduation rates and qualifications of teachers. You can also find information online on sites such as Great Schools and The U.S. Department of Education parent’s page. Your real estate agent may also be able to provide insight on the local school districts.

Visit schools and neighborhoods

As you narrow down your search to a few schools, it’s time to schedule a visit. Consider making an appointment with the school principal to have all your questions answered directly, or attend an open house where you can speak with teachers, parents and students. You also want to check out the location of the school. What kind of a neighborhood is it? Are you required to live in the same city as the school in order to attend? Are there homes for sale in the area in your budget? Where are the bus routes?

Shop around for the best mortgage rates and loans

Once you’ve chosen a school district you like, it’s time to choose a home. Before you check out your home options, you should begin by contacting lenders to learn about the mortgage loans offered. It’s important to understand the different mortgage rates available, both fixed and adjustable, and to find a lender who offers the best loans for your needs. Plus, having a mortgage pre-approval letter can give you an advantage when making an offer on a home.


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