Photo by Bill McChesney

Update: Having kids means a big upheaval in your life, especially if you have to move home. One of the biggest considerations in choosing a new home is finding one close to a good school. Of course this does also usually mean that house prices will be higher, but you’ll find it’s definitely worth it to live in a nice community where children can make lots of friends close by.

Unless your children attend private school, where you live usually dictates which school your children attend. This is great for building a sense of community in a neighborhood as children can walk or bike to school together. A school nearby can also cut down on travel time for dropping off and picking up your children. The importance of schools can be seen in the difference in the price of similar homes, even within a few blocks of each other. It is not uncommon for homes to vary in price by tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars based on the school attendance area that they are in. The example below describes how Sue and Larry dealt with this challenge.

When Sue and Larry were shopping for their first home, they had a limited budget but wanted to live in a nice community. Without children, schools were less important to them than the price, condition, and location of their new home.

They also reasoned that it would be eight to ten years before they would have school-age children. To try to buy a home now in a great school district might prove futile since the quality of schools and attendance areas could change in ten years. They decided to buy a comfortable home in a nice neighborhood and then move again when their children reached school age. Since the arrival of their children, they have added on to their home to give their small family more room. Because their home was one of the smaller ones in the neighborhood, the addition made their home average in size, making it possible for them to recover the cost of the remodel when they do finally decide.