Is moving for a better school district worth it?

I’m sure you’ve heard friends or neighbors mention how they wanted to move because they wanted to be in a better school district for their kids or they didn’t have kids yet but they wanted to make sure they found a home that was in a school district they wanted.  It’s one of the top ten reasons people choose a certain house to buy.  But is it all just a bunch of baloney?

MSN has a new article about whether that is, in fact, something you want to focus on that it causes you to move.  A house can cost more if it’s in a highly desired school district.  So before you choose to go that route, you’ll want to ask yourself these questions:

  • How many children do I have/plan to have?
  • How secure is my job?
  • How long do I plan to stay in this area?
  • What are my social expectations for this community outside of the schools?
  • How diverse is the school?
  • Is the environment right for my child? Is it too high pressure?
  • Will I need two incomes to make a mortgage payment there? Will we want to keep up with the Joneses and blow our budget?
It’s important not just to go by what you hear.  A lot of people have strong biases toward or against certain school districts because of personal experience or problems they may have had with a teacher or employee.  It could have just been a personality conflict.  So it’s important that you do your own research first.
Find out the student/teacher ratio.  Visit the schools and speak to the staff and ask for a tour, especially of the ones you’re interested in.  You may find that it’s not as good of a fit for your child as you had originally thought.  And then you just gave up your home because you heard how great the schools were.  
It’s also possible that your community offers a charter or magnet school that have a more progressive teaching philosophy.  For instance, there’s a charter school in a suburb near mine that’s very focused on green living, growing your own food, and sustainable resources.  Now, you have to be located in that suburb to enroll.  However, if you are located within a different school district, you’re open to enroll as well, and it’s not for the community that’s right next door.  So, again, it’s important to do your research.
Also, it could even save you money to send your children to private school rather than put down extra money to purchase a new home.  You’ll want to look at tuition costs and figure out if it is a valuable investment.  You also want to make sure you’re not shelling out a ton of money in gas by driving your kids to a school further away and going back and forth for all their various activities.  So research is key in determining what is best for you and your family.
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Get your move on with these tips

Whether you’re moving cross country or just down the road, if you have a lot of possessions, chances are you’re going to be hiring movers.  Here are some helpful tips to make your move as pain-free as possible, and save you money, too.


1. Ask your family and friends for recommendations.  This is a lot simpler than just picking up the phone book.  If you have somebody new that just moved into your neighborhood, ask them who they used and what they thought of the company.  If you are going through the phone book, get at least 3 estimates before hiring someone.  Equally as important, ask those companies for references.  They should be able to provide you names and numbers of past clients who used them who you will be able to contact to make sure you’re comfortable.  You can also contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to find out about any complaints.  Go to their Web site here. Also check out MovingScam to see if they have a lot of registered complaints.

2. Make sure you get in-home estimates.  If you’re worried about a quote, make sure to have the company come out to your house.  Walk them through the entire home and show them what you’ll be moving in each room.  If you’re strapped for time, this can be done online or over the phone, but the estimate will be much more realistic if you walk through the home with them.

3. Ask questions.  Do they charge extra for gas?  Do they charge by the mile?  Do they charge more if moving furniture upstairs instead of just bringing it in the front door?  These are all important factors to consider so you’re not surprised when you get the final bill.  Let the companies know that you’re getting estimates from multiple companies.  They’ll then realize they’re in competition and hopefully be more honest and upfront with their estimate.

4. Recycle!  Save money on boxes by finding your own.  Many storage companies and moving companies will sell you boxes to help you pack.  Instead, go to your local grocery or hardware store.  A lot of them just toss the boxes when they’re done.  They’ll be happy to hand them over if you ask.  Look online at Craigslist or Freecycle to see if people locally are giving away their moving boxes when they’re done with them.

5. On moving day, make sure you have the movers’ contact information and a complete inventory list.  This way you’ll be able to get a hold of them if there is a last minute problem.  You’ll also know exactly what to expect when you open all of your boxes and can call if something is missing.  Don’t panic if you can’t find what you’re looking for right away.  There’s a good chance the movers placed it somewhere else.  It could easily turn up with a simple phone call.

More tips and resources can be found here, here, and here.

Visit me online if you’re ready to list your home for sale!