Schools are a contributing factor for anyone buying a home. Even if you don’t have kids yourself, your next buyer might, and they might base their decision to buy on the school district which serves your home.
The question remains: How do you evaluate schools? What’s the best approach for understanding if your local schools will score your property an “A” or relegate it to the land of “D-”?
Luckily, there are some excellent resources out there for vetting schools online. Here are a few I’ve come across which provide a good place to start:
Education.com: A major portal site for education everywhere, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the schools section, found here: http://www.education.com/topic/school-and-academics/
GreatSchools.org: A good search engine for researching schools, you can do zip code based searches and learn lots about the public and private institutions in the area.
ProjectAppleseed.org: A website dedicated to improving public schools, you can learn a lot here about the crucial elements of what makes a local school and excellent local school.
Finally, here are a handful of questions to ask yourself if you’re doing research:
How comprehensive is the school’s safety policy?
What social/support services are available at the school?
How does the school handle discipline?
Are people involved in a parent/teacher organization?
How healthy is the school district’s annual report?
It is vital to do this research on your own. Preferences in what an acceptable school has to offer are subjective. One family may require a great sports program, another may see the sciences are the most important aspect of a district, while another family may have no school aged children and low taxes may be the appeal.
Ask your agent for help, but be sure to do this research when considering a move.