A family looking to make a move is one of the most exciting and challenging client experiences. Kids are trying to pick out rooms during showings, while parents kitchen sizes and living areas on their mind. No doubt realtors already know that one of the first things parents know about a potential house is the schools their family will be zoned for.
While it’s not the only consideration for a client choosing or not choosing a home, it’s an important one for young families looking to settle down in a place long term. Seasoned realtors know the basics on where the good schools are, but taking the time to ensure your clients are empowered with information is tougher than just “what you’ve heard.” A lot of clients don’t know all of the ins and outs of choosing both a house and a school district. As you guide a family through this important territory, here are two reasons you should be cautious when discussing schools, and two reasons you shouldn’t let the rankings completely dictate what you show to a family.
They can change frequently. Almost every election cycle brings some kind of rezoning or redistricting along with it. Websites that clients check aren’t always accurate, and hearsay is even less reliable. We’ve seen directly that clients have purchased a home because of the proximity to a great school, only to find out that the district was redrawn and that they’re actually a large distance away from where their child was supposed to attend. Trust us, that makes for an awkward conversation! Make sure you give your clients the most accurate information about the district they could potentially call home.
Especially if your clients are new to the Chattanooga area, YOU are their trusted resource. You are the gatekeeper of impartial information. Local family members or colleagues, if the client has any of these, are certainly important, but clients typically look at these opinions as biased. You have the opportunity to provide unbiased, fact-based opinions. A client might ask for your opinion, and you certainly should be helpful, but make sure all of your statistics and data are solid. Make sure you know how to navigate the Hamilton County Schools website and keep up to date with what schools are doing. It’s also helpful private school information ready so clients can consider all of their options.
School districts aren’t the top item for everyone. You may have a family that chooses to homeschool their kids or have already chosen private school. Or, a client might already love the community they live in and the schools they would potentially be zoned for, no matter what. In that case, your comment or opinion might be considered insulting. Getting to know your clients from the first meeting is critical so you know how to best serve them as their realtor. That way, you can prioritize their needs and get them in the perfect home in the area they desire.
Chattanooga has great magnet, charter, and private school options. When a client gets stuck on a house in a district they’re not crazy about, it’s important to reassure them of all the options they have. Especially if they’re new to the area, they might have limited information about schools outside of a quick internet search. Chattanooga magnet schools like Center for the Creative Arts, Normal Park Museum Magnet School, Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, and many more are some of the top performing schools in the area, and our private schools have a long history of excellence as well. Be prepared to give a family all of their options, so that choosing a home doesn’t limit their school choices.
The more you know about our area, the better you can serve families looking to settle down in our great city!