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Looking for a School District Change? Don’t Wait to Start Your Home Search

by | Jun 13, 2024 | Buying, Life

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For families with kids, relocating means more than just finding a new home—you’ll also need to carefully consider the school district options. If your goal is to enroll your kids in a new school by the fall, the time to begin seriously looking is right now.

It often takes months to find a suitable home in your desired school district. Though that might seem like a tight turnaround, we’ve covered what you can do to give yourself the best shot at success.

What Should You Look For in a School District?

While academics are naturally a top consideration when looking at potential schools, there are other factors to consider. Looking into graduation rates, what students do after graduation, and standardized testing scores are good metrics to start with, you’ll also want to consider:

  • Class size: the amount of students per class can vary from district to district—or even between grade levels. Smaller class sizes—or the presence of other educational professionals beyond a single teacher—means more attention for each student and their needs.
  • Other resources: What type of classroom technology does the district have? Are there enough administrators? How are the transportation and before/after school childcare offerings? These factors will help you get a more holistic view of daily life.
  • Extracurriculars: What does the school district offer in terms of enrichment? Are there arts programs, athletics, STEM interest groups? For example, a school that’s very STEM focused may have less offerings in areas like music or sports.
  • Special needs: If your child requires extra help or resources, make sure you look into the district’s specific accommodations, staff, and classroom approach.
  • District recognition: There are plenty of resources that can give you a ballpark ranking of schools. You can also look for accolades like being a National Blue Ribbon School. Naturally, higher-ranking schools will often give students a leg up in the future.

It’s also a good idea to visit the schools on your short list in person. Many districts allow scheduled tours, which can help to get an idea of what the school culture and physical learning environment have to offer.

Average Time from Offer to Closing

Once you’ve decided on the districts you’d be willing to relocate to, you’ll need to start seriously looking at homes. If you’re particular with your location, needs, and budget, it can easily take a couple months for you to find a home that feels right. Once you have an accepted offer, you’ll be looking at about 45 days until closing if you’re obtaining a mortgage.

Though starting your search 5-6 months before your planned move may be ideal, it is possible to find a home in a shorter time frame. To give yourself the best chance at a quick turnaround time, make sure you’re pre-approved for a mortgage (or have proof of funds if you’re offering all cash). With your financials in a row, you’ll be able to submit an offer ASAP when a listing that fits your criteria hits the market.

There are also other options if it doesn’t look like you’ll be closed by the start of the new school year. For example, you can look into enrolling shortly after school starts—or find a short-term rental within your desired district before the first day of classes if you really don’t want to interrupt the school year.

Other Things to Consider

Once you’ve figured out a district and your target timeline, there are still a few other points to consider. For example, think about how far it is from your new home or job to get to each school—and what bus services they offer. Keeping commute time low is always a positive, but even more so with younger children.

You’ll also need to look up any key dates within your desired district. Some open enrollment periods end as far as months out from the first day of school. You’ll need to figure out when these dates are and what your options will be if you miss them. 

If you’re able to transition districts over the summer, you’ll benefit from more decompression time in your new home. Kids will also be entering the school year at the same point as everyone else, which can feel more like a level playing field for a new student. 

In order to be in a new district for the next school year, you’ll have to start searching and planning ASAP (if you haven’t already done so). If you get all your ducks in a row quickly, there may still be time to get into your desired district for the fall.

Be Prepared, but Try to Stay Calm

A lot of research and preparation goes into changing school districts—especially when you feel you’re under a time crunch. Getting as early a start as possible will help you ease some of that stress and improve your chances of getting where you want to go.

Remember—while switching school districts between academic years is often ideal, it’s not the end of the world if you can’t. Moving always presents unique challenges but by planning for these hurdles in advance, you’ll set yourself up for the best chance at success.

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The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only, and while believed to be accurate, Trelora assumes no legal responsibility for accuracy. Information provided within should not relied upon as legal advice. Please consult with your local advisors for independent information regarding availability and applicability in your market.