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Whether you’re moving to a new city or a new neighborhood, you might be wondering about the quality of the schools. Fair housing laws prohibit agents from steering clients, whether toward a particular area or away from that area, based upon the buyer’s race, color, religion, gender, disability, familial status, or national origin. That means your REALTOR® will avoid giving opinions on school districts, because a comment could be construed as influencing your housing choice based on demographic information.

However, your REALTOR® can advise you on how to make an informed decision. Here are a few tips for researching schools during your home search.

KNOW WHAT “GOOD” MEANS FOR YOU What is your definition of a good school or a good school district? Do they offer AP courses or special education programs? Is there a variety of sports teams or clubs? Having an idea of what you think makes for a good school can help you narrow down your choices.

RESEARCH SCHOOL DISTRICT OPTIONS Some school districts allow students to attend schools they aren’t zoned for, or there could be magnet schools that focus on certain disciplines. Also, publicly available data can give a better understanding of a district. For example, the Texas Education Agency posts district test scores and other school information.

STAY OPEN-MINDED School quality is a subjective issue, and you’ll inevitably hear negative feedback. While it’s good to get anecdotal information, don’t let it be the deciding factor in your school research. Visit schools and talk to administrators and take a well-rounded approach.

Images: Daniela Barreto/

SHARE YOUR DIRECTION Once you’ve done your research on schools and you have a particular direction in mind, it’s OK to tell your REALTOR® you want to look for properties within that school district. But since it’s your REALTOR®’s job to provide you with options, he or she may present other listings outside those boundaries. If the district zoning is a deal-breaker, just tell your REALTOR®.