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Picking School Districts

school-districtWhen preparing to buy a new house, it’s always “location, location location,” but the right location for your big move may need to be in a certain school district. It is important to know your community and how the schools are rated. Make sure your realtor is familiar with the history of the house and the community surrounding the home. Whether you are thinking about having children, or already have children, choosing a home that resides in a great school district should be at the top of your real estate checklist. Remember, your tax dollars go towards them!

My husband and I were already dealt some pretty tough cards as we were planning to move. We primarily were buying a home to get into a great school district. Our 14year old son has Autism-PDD NOS. We were forced to look outside of the city we were living in, and choose a home in the suburbs. City schools can still be good schools, but for our area, this was not a good option, especially for “special needs” programs Of course, there’s always charter and private schools in every location but in the end, you need to choose a school that’s the right fit for your family and your budget.

I began my research in all surrounding districts, making calls to the heads of the special education department as soon as we were considering our move. I spoke with administrators in different suburban districts about what services they had in their specific schools to meet our son’s needs. Some of them shared info openly, some shared none at all. I kept notes on everything and even marked some districts as red flags as soon as I heard them state that they have no Autism programs currently in their high school.

The best information is “inside information” that you get from speaking with neighbors of the houses we went out to see. Also, close family and friends living outside the city gave testimonials about the certain areas we were looking into. This was very helpful! All of the districts would not allow me to tour or observe their Autistic Support rooms. I actually needed to be a resident living in their district first. That is the catch 22. My advice is to learn as much as you can ahead of time, before purchasing your new home. Check out this video to learn more about the key parameters to focus on:

And if you have older  kids who are getting ready to be shipped out to a college campus, check out these great tips to help prepare for a college move, as well as finding the best moving company in your area.