Denise, most people have what we term "frozen equity". They need to sell their home in order to buy their new home, so looking at the potential selling price for your current residence will help you determine your "net proceeds". I suggest determining the probably value of your home (be convervative). If you would like me to refer you to an agent that knows your market, let me know and I can provide you with the names of Realtors with whom you can discuss your plans.
Proper planning is essential, just as seeing to it that your children have the best education you can provide.
You can follow the link to my website, then click on "school reports" and you can download information on any district in the US.
Second, I would suggest contacting a Realtor in your target school district and ask for information on housing options.
One of the options you have is to purchase a home adjacent to your target school district. My school district is accepting applications from families outside the service area because enrollment is declining and they are "flexible". I suggest having the Realtor do some leg work for you. When I mentioned 'Housing options", look not only IN the school district service area, but in the communities around it. Ask the Reator to find out if the district is flexible. You could probably find the district website and look for the School Accountability Report Card (SARC). Schools are required each year to complete this detailed report, which will provide you with great insight into your potential district's operation.
Assuming that you are both working, you obviously need to locate to a place that is convenient. Most markets have pockets of varying home values. A good Realtor can point out not only where your current home sits, but perhaps some options in your target community.
Lastly, I would ask the Realtor in your target town to refer you to a lender to review your current options.
Ask the Realtor you select in your current town for an "estimate of seller's proceeds".
Have the Reatlor in the target town provide you with Market Analysis of potential homes. (homes on the market that could potentially meet your criteria).
Take those documents to a lender in your target community (or that knows that market), and see what he/she can suggest.
As an additional step. I would have your CPA or tax advisor review your plan to see if there is any tax liability. If your home qualifies as your primary residence two out of the last five years, there may be no concerns. However, if fewer than two years, special exemptions may apply. Assuming your home has increased in value, you want to make sure you are not having to pay any capital gains if you can avoid it.
Also, check to see if the cost of the move may be totally or in part tax deductible.. Moving is expensive, so saving every dime is critical.
Also, have your CPA show you comptations on your "new tax situation" when you have completed the move. Increased housing costs do have some tax benefits that might work together to make your move possible.
I would be happy to answer other questions you may have.
You are not obligated to use any of the professionals I mention above. This is their opportunity to show you that they can perform, and for you and your husband to determine two things 1) if this move is financially feasible, 2) which professionals you trust to help you make the move in a safe and timely manner.