Carolyn Castro-Donlan needed a school in the Washington, D.C., area that would provide adequate services for her autistic fifth-grader.
Her family's experience with a Fairfax County, Va., public elementary school was bad enough that they sold their house and moved to another area with better schools.
To find their new home, the Castro-Donlan family took advantage of a relatively new option in real estate search -- the ability to search for homes for sale within a specific school's attendance boundary.
While for-sale listings often provide information about which school district a property is in, finding out the specific schools that serve a particular home often involves additional research. To choose a school first, and then search for a home online -- as the Castro-Donlan family did -- was all but impossible.
The Castro-Donlan family found an elementary school in Loudoun County, Va., that they felt would be perfect for their special-needs child. To find a home that would put them in that school's attendance zone, they used a school boundary search tool from Century 21 Redwood Realty, a brokerage serving the metro Washington, D.C., area.
"The search tool allows you to back into whatever you're looking for," Castro-Donlan said.