QUICKTIP: If you're a parent (or planning to be one soon), neighborhood schools will undoubtedly influence your decision on where to live. Unfortunately, real estate brokers are limited in what they are allowed to tell buyers about local school systems--plus, just because you live in a school's zone doesn't always mean your child will get to enroll there.
So head on over to real estate data site PropertyShark, and type in the address of that apartment you're eyeing. A detailed property report ($9.95 each, or $39.95/month for 150 monthly reports) gives you useful information on all the educational institutions in the area.
Which schools are nearby?
Before you put in an offer on that dream apartment, look at the G1. Distance to Schools section of PropertyShark's property report to see which "zoned" schools correspond to the address.
Take, for example, this two-bedroom duplex condo at Harlem's Park Central building at 220 West 111th Street. Under different tabs, you can see all the elementary, middle and high schools (plus universities) in the vicinity, as well as the grades offered, name and contact information for the principal, and distance to the address.
Though the Harlem two-bedroom isn't zoned for any elementary schools, according to the report, there is a private school, Sister Clara Mohammed Elementary, about a third of a mile away, and the Harlem Success Academy charter school is two blocks north.
You can also click on the map to zero in on what schools are available around the neighborhood and the city.
And are they any good?
If you look at the A5: Building Overview section of the report, you can see which school district the apartment falls into. More importantly, you can check out the school rating by clicking through to the relevant page of Great Schools, a non-profit that provides school performance information for institutions across the country. The organization has profiles of elementary, middle, high, charter and private schools, with stats on the size and grades offered, plus parent reviews and numerical ratings.
A final caveat
When you're apartment hunting, keep in mind that the right address doesn't guarantee your child a desk at your desired school, even if you're in the right district and the right school zone. You'll still have to apply, though you'll have priority for the school your apartment is zoned for.
Finally, boundaries are constantly shifting, so before you sign a lease or contract to buy, be sure to call the school and verify that your address falls within its zone. You can find the contact information for the principal in the PropertyShark reports.
PropertyShark.com is a real estate website that provides in-depth data for more than 75 million properties in New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay Area, and other major U.S. markets. The company covers most of the U.S. with a primary focus on the New York real estate marketplace. Click here to see what services and data are offered in your area.
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