With families looking to purchase a home today with record low interest rates and prices that by all accounts have hit the bottom and are beginning to climb; how do you choose the right house? One large factor I have noticed among buyers this spring and summer season is the schools. How do we know the school is good?
I usually direct families to a couple of different websites that give statistical information on schools in the Charlotte school system. One is www.ncreportcards.org and the other is www.greatschools.org. However; these give you some idea of how the school performs in comparison to other schools in the district and the state. But is the school the right one for you and your children?
I have started this year scheduling appointments for potential homeowners that want a house to visit the schools that are going to be in their district when they purchase the house. You can learn so much more about a school by visiting it and going to see it than you can from statistics.
Is the school safe/ how is the learning environment? What are the teachers like? What is the school schedule like? Do they offer special programs? What if your child wants to go down a certain major of study; does the school offer it or are you going to have to transfer to a magnet school program?
Being a father of four children; my wife and I were put in the same dilemma when we moved to charlotte area seven years ago. We based our decision on information we found online on various websites and forums. But it did not give us the true picture of the schools. We know we liked what we read about the schools and felt comfortable sending our children there. But we did not know the schools.
After enrolling the children in school we met with the principal and guidance counselors and a few of the teachers from different grade levels...At that time we realized we made the right decision for our children. however; a friend of ours dis the same thing but ended up sending his son to a magnet school for middle school because of his love for arts. That led to a longer day and more complicated schedule of getting him to a bus stop and ensuring he is picked up at a certain time. They admit that had they visited the schools and learned about the different programs offered they would have looked at homes in an area closer to the school their son goes to now....
I always tell home buyers for every positive comment you find about a school you can find a negative one. You need to meet the school principal and talk honestly about your expectations and what you are looking for out of the school and make sure that the school is best suited for your child needs. What is important for one family may not be for another. And a lot of us purchase homes today because of the schools in order to give our children the best possible chance of a great education as we can... So why are we not visiting the schools before buying a house?