When it comes to Realtors they will be super helpful and necessary to you (do not buy without an experienced area Realtor) as they will find the right homes for your needs in size, price, style and locations, lot size etc., but they will also make the appointments accompany all showings, point out advantages and disadvantages of certain homes, show you comparisons of other homes on the market and those similar that have sold, help you make the offer, negotiate the terms and price in your best interest and on your behalf, and guide you through the entire process up to a successful closing, and make sure you also hire
a local experienced real estate attorney once you have a contract signed.
Good Luck a happy 2012
Edith YourRealtor4Life~! and your Chicago and Northern Illinois Expert
Working always in the very BEST interest of her clients, buyers, sellers and investors alike....
Edith Always goes the X-tra Mile with a Smile for her clients!
Referrals of your friends, family and acquaintances are always highly appreciated
For school information see http://www.greatschools.org/
Those are all very good concerns to have in your new home purchase. Unfortunatety I am unable to answer these questions for you. However as a Broker, I do have access to information thru the MLS that would help in your decision on a specific home if your Realtor has not already.