Let Your School Help You Pick Your Home
Updated: Aug 1, 2020
There are so many factors that come into play when thinking about buying your home. Price, square footage, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, architectural style. Well, let's not forget one of the most important factors - schools!
Picking a school is a very personalized decision for each family. Which school is right for your child depends so much on your child’s personality. Here are some questions to consider when doing this analysis:
Would they thrive better in a more challenging environment or less?
Are they self-driven or would they do better with more direction?
Are they inclined towards the arts?
Are they more into sports?
Is your child academically oriented?
Picking The Right School
Looking at the nuances of a child's personality, the analysis of narrowing down on a school district should not end with looking at just the test scores. There are so many more aspects to be considered.
School facility upkeep
Stability of district leadership
Different resources focus on different parts of the aforementioned parameters. You can find an overall rating for different school districts based on state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, public school district ratings, etc. from Niche. Great Schools used to assign ratings to schools based on test scores earlier. Now, they consider a lot of other factors in their easy-to-comprehend 1-10 ratings. These factors include how much a school helps students improve academically, how well a school supports students from different socioeconomic, racial, and ethnic groups, and whether or not some groups of students are disproportionately affected by the school’s discipline and attendance policies.
Other than these rating systems, I recommend looking at the CA Department of Education website caschooldashboard.org.
The State's website doesn't just assign a number to the test scores, it gives a deeper insight into those scores based on student groups, which highlights the diversity of classrooms. It also displays how far a particular school or district is from standard measures and covers which direction a particular school/ district is headed in terms of improvement/ decline in scores.
Now That I've Narrowed Down My School, What Next?
Gone are the days when realtors would bring printed pages stapled together with a bunch of properties you would be driving to. The search starts very much at your computer/smartphone these days. While you search for the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square footage, there is usually a filter for a school rating as well. There are multiple websites offering a search filter for schools. These websites consider GreatSchools ratings that offer a good overview of the bigger picture.
Schools define the characteristics of a neighborhood and drive the prices of homes around it. They also help you identify how your property will hold its value over a period of time. Hence, it's important to not just look at age-relevant school that you need but other stages as well. For e.g. if your child is in middle school, look at elementary and high schools as well.
A good realtor will not just guide you through this process of finding out the right school for your child(ren) but will also have information from other sources such as the Parent-Teacher-Organizations of schools, school funding status, etc.