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If you're planning to move to a new town, there's a lot to think about when choosing which neighborhood you want to live in. You'll have to consider the distance of the property from work, the safeness of the area, the amount of local restaurants, grocery stores and parks…the list might feel endless.

If you have kids, however, possibly the most important consideration is the local school districts. Depending on how the town is divided, two streets right next to each other might be in different districts. And one might be slightly better than the other.

So, before choosing your permanent address for the next several years, make sure you're setting your kids up for success by following these steps.

Seek Input From Locals

First of all, what constitutes a "good" school? The definition might be different for every family, but basically, you want to find a school with capable teachers, a safe and fun learning environment and an atmosphere that promotes the values you care about.

You'll find out all of this and more by looking into reviews from local families. You might be able to find these reviews on local real estate websites, or even in local publications. Or, maybe there's an online forum for families in your town where you can pose a question about the local school systems.

The schools themselves are always going to boast that they are the best in the neighborhood. You'll get the real scoop from the families that have experienced them first-hand.

Do Research

It doesn't hurt if a school is ranked highly, either. Schools whose students consistently score well on standardized tests or who overwhelmingly go on to attend top-notch colleges and universities are usually a safe bet.

You can find more about this information through online research. There are sites out there — like, for one — that compile facts and figures about school districts to recommend the best schools in certain areas.

Great grades aren't all that matter, though. Sometimes the schools that are ranked the highest are the ones with the most rigorous curriculums, and those can sometimes be overly stressful or overwhelming for children or adolescents. For more personalized recommendations, turning back to the community is always a good idea.

Tour Schools in the Area

Some districts might even let your family take tours of the schools. You'll likely get a chance to meet the principal or other administrators, and maybe some teachers that you can expect your children to learn from. You'll also learn about the school's amenities and extra-curriculars, which might just be the selling point.

Sometimes, you or your children need to step foot into a school to see if it feels right or not. If you go on a tour during academic hours, you might even get to see students at work or at play and get a sense for if they are happy, healthy, and thriving.

When you buy a home, we recommend that you stay in that home for at least five years before selling it. That means whatever school district you end up in will be your child's reality for a long time. Make sure it's the right fit for them before making such a huge commitment.

At The Federal Savings Bank, we want you to make homebuying decisions with 100% confidence. Contact us for more information about becoming a homeowner.

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