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School bus with a red stop sign on the side.

How to Evaluate Schools When Buying a Home

If you’re moving to the Montgomery County area with children, you might be looking for a home near top-rated local schools. This tends to be at the forefront of parents’ minds, but it may also be beneficial even if you don’t have children! When you live near excellent local schools, you can use that to increase your re-sale value later on down the road.

There are a number of different ways to check on local schools. Websites like and allow you to search for schools in an area and see how they rank. Information like test scores, extracurricular activities, and student-to-teacher ratio may affect how well a school ranks.

Although there are plenty of benefits to living close to great schools, there are some other aspects to keep in mind as well. Here’s a brief, but informative, guide to evaluating local schools when buying a new home.

What to Look for in Local Schools

Happy couple doing research on the computer.For parents and families with younger children, proximity to quality schools is a big deal when it comes to buying a home. In fact, according to the National Association of RealtorsĀ®, 25% of homebuyers said school quality was a defining factor in their home search.

So what makes a school quality? Websites like GreatSchools rank schools based on student and parent reviews, test scores, graduation rates, and courses offered. However, every family is different so your priorities may vary from these.

Here are some tips for determining if a school district fits your families needs:

  • Schedule a time to visit schools near the home you’re interested in buying
    • This way you can get a firsthand feel for how the school operates.
  • Do research on websites like
  • Look into special services offered by the school
    • Do they have a robust special education program? Advanced Placement classes? This can usually be found on the district’s website.

One Example of a Great School District…

Is the Montgomery County Public School District. As the largest school system in Maryland, this district offers phenomenal elementary, middle, and high schools as well as six special schools and one career center. They boast high graduation rates and a number of advanced placement courses.

You can learn more about educational options in Montgomery County here.

When You Live Close to a School…

Apple sitting on a stack of books.

You should keep a few things in mind. When your home is located close to a public school, you can expect to notice. For example, your morning or afternoon commute may be interrupted by the school bus.

The road you live on, or the road leading to it, may also be subjected to school speed zones. You can also expect traffic to be worse in the mornings and afternoons due to the school bus and parents picking up their children.

We wrote a blog post about this in August of 2016, if you’d like to read more!

Work with a Relocation Resource

We’re here to help. If you’re looking for a home in Montgomery County that’s just right for you, we have the resources and expertise to assist. Give us a call today to get started.

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