You’ve made it to the point in your home buying process where you’re absolutely sure you’re ready to move. How exciting! You’ve seen many houses that fit the description of what you’ve been searching for. The entire family is excited about this fresh new start and the adventure that awaits.
But, before you sign the dotted line on your dream home, first make sure that you’ll be moving into an area with the best schools for your children. Not sure how to go about finding the best school districts in a neighborhood you love? Did you know that Illinois is home to 859 school districts? Feeling overwhelmed? No need to fear, that’s where 23 Legal comes in!
Being a family man himself, attorney Ben Weaver understands the importance of researching and choosing outstanding school districts. Use this helpful checklist to find an area that exceeds all of the educational desires and needs for your family…
“Ben is a great guy and attorney! He went above and beyond for my home sale. The world needs more people like Ben.” – Client Review, March 2021 (Google)
The best place to start is at the beginning. If you are currently in the market for a home, you are likely using the services of a real estate agent. These knowledgeable professionals have great insight into all the local schools and district ratings. Real estate agents generally have go-to lists handy of the top schools. If you don’t have an agent yet, read our blog about finding a real estate agent with your best interest in mind!
“More than half of all homebuyers with children under 18 years of age rate the quality of the local school district as a major factor influencing their choice of a neighborhood. The quality of the schools is more important than affordability or the buyer’s convenience to schools and shopping, even proximity to family and friends. But even if the quality of the schools in the area where you decide to buy is not terribly important now, it may become so in a few years. And even if children are not on your radar screen, you may still be better off in a school district that takes education seriously.” New Home Source
Here’s How to Find the Best Schools When Moving the Family…
Ask Your Attorney for Guidance
Maybe you’d feel more comfortable asking your attorney for school recommendations because he isn’t trying to get you to purchase a home. Instead, Ben is there to be a helpful guide through the sometimes challenging process of buying a home. Plus, Ben’s many years of expertise working with many local families has given him access to a network of key educational information!
“Ben is outstanding. He is really informative and works with you every step. I will definitely use Ben again and again. Good job!” – Client Review, May 2021 (Google)
Understand Your Family’s Needs
OpenDoor.com shares: “73 percent said school boundaries were a key factor in their selection, and 78 percent relaxed their real estate wish list to get into their preferred district, giving up things like a garage, a large backyard and updated kitchen. Before you start looking for schools and homes, understand and identify the needs of your family, and build your own list of criteria against which to rate your school options.
Your child’s needs:
- Academics (e.g. test scores, student-to-teacher ratio, teacher training)
- Special services and programs (e.g. IEP, advanced placement)
- Learning style (e.g. lecture-driven, hands-on)
- Subject matter focus (e.g. STEM, arts)
- Extracurriculars (e.g. sports, theater, student government)
- Diversity of the student body
- Other parents share your values
- Volunteer opportunities
- Parent-teacher relationships (e.g. PTA)
- Logistics (e.g. transportation, before and after school care)”
Understanding Local School District Rankings
We all want our children to have the best opportunities that life has to offer! Where they attend school is an important part of this equation. Most suburban school districts create educational track plans. They generally start from elementary school through their entire high school career. When researching school districts, expand your search to future grade school options. This will give you a good perspective of a district’s long-term efforts in conjunction with the student’s educational success. View Illinois school district rankings here!
Take Advantage of School Tours
School tours are always an excellent way to get a feel of any new district. This is especially recommended to those making shorter distance moves. It will give you a peace of mind as parents to see the environment your kids will be spending most of their time.
In fact, moving expert Jay Moves reminds us: “If you are planning a smaller move, one that takes you within a few hours’ drive, it’s worth taking some time to drive to your new neighborhood and visit prospective schools. Most schools offer school tours or informational nights for the parents of prospective students.
If you’re able to take advantage of those, you’ll be able to get an in-person perspective and feel for the school’s strengths and weaknesses, the programs they offer, the after school activities they offer, and whether it’s a good potential fit for your child.”
“Couldn’t have been happier with Ben as our lawyer when closing our home. He helped us navigate the stress of buying with calm professionalism and personal attention. He is simply the best!” – Client Review, June 2021 (Google)
Planning for Long-Term Success
Children grow quickly! Eventually they’ll be applying for colleges. While looking into a school near your future home, try not to forget that they will progress within that district. Researching schools with higher grades is helpful because let’s face it, little Alex is in kindergarten now, but he will soon be graduating from high school.
Reviews are always an excellent tool! As you start to get an idea of the area you are moving into, check out some of the reviews on the schools AND the teachers that you’re interested in. The National Center for Education Statistics is a great resource, this website can help you search local public schools in your area.
GreatSchools.org is also a great resource. You’ll see how parents rate schools in terms of teacher quality, principal leadership, and parent involvement. Just as insightful: You can read parent reviews. Plus, many schools now have Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, and if you “like” the school on Facebook or “follow” the Twitter account, you’ll automatically receive updates about events and other school news. You’ll get a feel for the community and social activities.
Additional Tips for Finding the Right School…
- Connect with Other Parents
- Seek Out Local Resources
- Contact the Schools
- Make a School Wish List
Lastly, don’t forget to let the little ones be a part of the home moving process! Moving into a new area can sometimes be scary for kids. They are being uprooted from their safe place. Try to remind them (and maybe yourself) that this is all a fresh start to a fantastic adventure. Keep them interested in the home buying process with our FUN new comic!
What’s that? Is it a bird, a plane? No, it’s you saving money on your new home purchase with Ben Weaver and his superhero friend, Transaction Titan! Wouldn’t it be spectacular if superheroes were real? Well, this one is…sort of! Transaction Titan is a comical representation of the helpful powers of our trusted local real estate attorney, Ben Weaver!
In addition to sharing local recommendations, there are endless ways that attorney Ben Weaver can be of assistance to your family during the home buying (or home selling) process! Ben is known for going above and beyond for his clients.
Let 23 Legal help set your children up for a successful future in a wonderful community! Would you like extra guidance regarding moving? Check out our related blogs:
Moving Between States Seamlessly
Top Tips for a Successful Move
Finding the Best Neighborhood for Your Children to Grow Up
Please feel free to contact us for assistance or with any questions you have. Click here to read 5-star client reviews!
Why Choose 23 Legal
23 Legal offers Real Estate and Estate Planning legal services to individuals, families, community associations and small business owners throughout Chicagoland. We know how intimidating “the law” can be. In fact, when most people think of law offices, they think of stuffy leather chairs, huge wooden desks and pompous lawyers who charge outrageous fees. That’s not us! We believe in 1-to-1; the same lawyer should work with you all the way through. Whether you have an estate planning issue, family trust concern, or you have a legal problem in regard to a new home, business, real estate or remodel, you need a lawyer who cares. That’s where Ben comes in! We are great listeners; more than that, we are lawyers who believe that our clients always come first.