I believe the best way to meet your goal of buying a home with a good school is to take these steps:
1) Obtain a True Pre-Approval - see: http://www.Steven-Anthony.com/GettingStarted
Be aware there is a â€œnight & dayâ€ difference between a Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval. Unfortunately, many people in the industry use both terms to mean the same thing (especially Retail banks like Wells, BofA, and Chase). They are NOT the same! Even if the top of the page says â€œPre-Approvalâ€ it may not be. Don't move forward with an offer unless you have this as you could not only waste your money spent on inspections, you can also risk you good faith deposit! I can provide a trusted referral if you like.
2) Research APIs
Find out where the "good schools" are in the Bay Area using the State's information for school performance, the Academic Performance Index (API) score. For example, here are the API scores for all schools in Alameda County: http://api.cde.ca.gov/Acnt2011/2010Base_Co.aspx?cYear=&c
Certainly, this step would be much easier if you narrowed down the possible candidate cities you are interested in first, but it's is always a great resource you can return to. As you move forward you will recognize a correlation between school API score and the listing price of homes.
3) Find a RealtorÂ®
I'm sure you can find a professional RealtorÂ® here on Trulia by reviewing their Profiles and answers. The Real Estate Company selected is not as important as what the individual you choose to work with brings to the table. Ask to sit down for an initial consultation and Q&A session.
Once you have found the RealtorÂ® you want to work have them construct geo-bounded MLS searches to concentrate on the attendance areas you end up selecting. This way you will automatically be notified via email when any property meeting your search criteria gets listed. If you are just getting started I can help you with this.
Assuming you do not currently have a RealtorÂ® but want to â€œsee whatâ€™s out thereâ€ you should use http://www.Realtor.com
which is the official National Association of RealtorsÂ® listing site. You can read why I suggest this in the blog post below:
MLS Data Accuracy â€“ Where to search if youâ€™re â€œwithout RealtorÂ®â€