Real Estate

How to find a house

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 6th, 2021 4:21 pm
[OP]
Member
Apr 20, 2011
357 posts
63 upvotes
Toronto

How to find a house

First of all, I wasn't born in Canada. I came here to do masters and decided to settle here. now i am planning to buy a house and one of the issue that i am having is understanding "school" system and how/what should i trust.

1. Is admission in a school based on address? I am using HouseSigma and sometimes i look for a house it shows me "multiple" schools (multiple elementary/multiple secondary etc). If the admission to a school is based on address then why it shows my multiple schools? wouldn't each address have only 1 school associated to it?

2. How much should i rely on the ranking/score listed in HouseSigma? Does this score ranking matter at all? One of the concern tha ti have that some schools may have good ranking now but they may not be in couple of years. Whats the best way (tips) to shortlist a school/neighborhood

3. What is best way to "confirm" that the school listed on housesignma is actually the school my kids will get admission to? I mean is there a possibility that housesigma may have wrong data or not up-to-date data?

4. Most of the "good" elementary schools in Milton happened to be associated with religion (Catholic). I don't want my kid to learn from religious school. How much catholic schools differs from regular ones? (it has nothing to do with a school being catholic. i am muslim myself but i believe religion is my personal matter and shouldn't be taught in schools. main reason why i am not choosing an islamic school for my kid)

5. Someone told me that private schools have better rankings since they chose to send only smart kids for the tests. (in mississauga, all top 3-5 schools are private)

6. I heard another term which was "french emmersion"? What are those schools? Should i consider them?

I am looking for information that i can use to provide best education to my kids. I will appreciate any other information/pointers/tips that you think may help me decide it.

thank you
12 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 30, 2005
1330 posts
750 upvotes
Ottawa, ON
I grew up in the ghettos and went to a less desirable school and I think I turned out ok. I think any school in an affluent neighbourhood will be fine. How your kids will turn out is based on luck, you, the general arbitrary nature of life and so many other factors, I wouldn't go out of my way to sacrifice so much just to get them in a particular school. I think in most cases, you can apply for out of boundary schools (just won't qualify for buses) if the school has room.

But yes, the school can be based on your location and you can always confirm by calling the school or having your agent look into it. To admit your kids into catholic school, one parent needs to be catholic or the kids need to be baptized. Most catholic schools are not really teaching heavy religion but rather the general values. I am not Catholic but my wife is so we are sending our kids to a catholic school because they're generally better funded. Catholic/Muslim/Buddhism, dual citizenship, it's all good, I don't think God will mind. Private schools are very expensive so unless you want to drop 20k a year per child, a good public school is fine.

Learning multiple languages is always good so your choice.
Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1418 posts
1144 upvotes
GTA
hyph3n wrote: First of all, I wasn't born in Canada. I came here to do masters and decided to settle here. now i am planning to buy a house and one of the issue that i am having is understanding "school" system and how/what should i trust.

1. Is admission in a school based on address? I am using HouseSigma and sometimes i look for a house it shows me "multiple" schools (multiple elementary/multiple secondary etc). If the admission to a school is based on address then why it shows my multiple schools? wouldn't each address have only 1 school associated to it?
Glad you decided to stay! Anyways, I will try to shed some light on this....

Each school has a catchment, meaning that there is an area or boundary made up for each school, and if you're in that area or inside that boundary, you can go to the school.

There are multiple schools, because there are multiple school boards.

Public
Catholic
French

To name the main three in TO/GTA.

As such, you can choose what school to send your kids to of the ones listed. Generally speaking IIRC, Catholic requires the kid or one of the parents to be baptized?
hyph3n wrote: 2. How much should i rely on the ranking/score listed in HouseSigma? Does this score ranking matter at all? One of the concern tha ti have that some schools may have good ranking now but they may not be in couple of years. Whats the best way (tips) to shortlist a school/neighborhood
I would say score and ranking matter to some degree, but is not the end all.

As with most things in life, the funding and wealth of the neighborhoods matters a lot. In a more affluent neighborhood schools get more funding and the kids get better resources in/at school. Their home life and parents also are more likely to be more conducive to learning.

So a school with higher ranking may not have better teachers so to say, or better teaching, but they may have more resources and a better learning environment.

This said, in an apples to apples comparison, consistently better scores may be more reliable.
hyph3n wrote: 3. What is best way to "confirm" that the school listed on housesignma is actually the school my kids will get admission to? I mean is there a possibility that housesigma may have wrong data or not up-to-date data?
You can go to each schoolboards website and pull up their maps. Then you just check the house you are buying is in said area.
hyph3n wrote: 4. Most of the "good" elementary schools in Milton happened to be associated with religion (Catholic). I don't want my kid to learn from religious school. How much catholic schools differs from regular ones? (it has nothing to do with a school being catholic. i am muslim myself but i believe religion is my personal matter and shouldn't be taught in schools. main reason why i am not choosing an islamic school for my kid)
Catholic schools essentially get double funding, and may have more affluent families in some cases. So this would relate to my point above about funding and more conducive learning environments.
hyph3n wrote: 5. Someone told me that private schools have better rankings since they chose to send only smart kids for the tests. (in mississauga, all top 3-5 schools are private)
Again, this generally goes along with my point above. More money, better learning environments, parents are going to be invested in having their children succeed. Also, there is more handholding in private schools.

I'm sure the argument could be made that private schools are better, and it be objectively true. This said, a lot of people don't have $8-40k a year per kid to send their kids to private school.
hyph3n wrote: 6. I heard another term which was "french emmersion"? What are those schools? Should i consider them?

I am looking for information that i can use to provide best education to my kids. I will appreciate any other information/pointers/tips that you think may help me decide it.
Its another school board, basically if you want your kids to go to a school where they only speak in french. You will have to learn french to to speak to the teachers.

Hopefully that provides you with some guidance.
Deal Addict
Dec 7, 2011
2524 posts
867 upvotes
Whitehorse
You should totally consider French Immersion - or even a francophone school if you can get your kids in.

It's a massive advantge to learn French really well early on. It is not difficult the older they get. They will learn English anyway.

Any additional language is a boost for the brain, and a trilingual kid simply has much better job and earning prospects.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Nov 2, 2020
1414 posts
2018 upvotes
hyph3n wrote: First of all, I wasn't born in Canada. I came here to do masters and decided to settle here. now i am planning to buy a house and one of the issue that i am having is understanding "school" system and how/what should i trust.

1. Is admission in a school based on address? I am using HouseSigma and sometimes i look for a house it shows me "multiple" schools (multiple elementary/multiple secondary etc). If the admission to a school is based on address then why it shows my multiple schools? wouldn't each address have only 1 school associated to it?

2. How much should i rely on the ranking/score listed in HouseSigma? Does this score ranking matter at all? One of the concern tha ti have that some schools may have good ranking now but they may not be in couple of years. Whats the best way (tips) to shortlist a school/neighborhood

3. What is best way to "confirm" that the school listed on housesignma is actually the school my kids will get admission to? I mean is there a possibility that housesigma may have wrong data or not up-to-date data?

4. Most of the "good" elementary schools in Milton happened to be associated with religion (Catholic). I don't want my kid to learn from religious school. How much catholic schools differs from regular ones? (it has nothing to do with a school being catholic. i am muslim myself but i believe religion is my personal matter and shouldn't be taught in schools. main reason why i am not choosing an islamic school for my kid)

5. Someone told me that private schools have better rankings since they chose to send only smart kids for the tests. (in mississauga, all top 3-5 schools are private)

6. I heard another term which was "french emmersion"? What are those schools? Should i consider them?

I am looking for information that i can use to provide best education to my kids. I will appreciate any other information/pointers/tips that you think may help me decide it.

thank you
One thing you may want to consider is definitely buying in an area where there are good school scores if you have the means to do so. This will be better for re sale of your house later. You can also compare school scores on this website:
https://www.compareschoolrankings.org/

You will see some areas have higher school scores. It does not necessarily mean lower scores mean your child will do less well. Sometimes neighbourhoods with lower scores may have parents that are more marginalized having to work two jobs, so sometimes those families are just busy surviving. But as I said if you have the means to purchase a home in an area with a better school you absolutely should do that because it will be helpful for your kids, and also for your home's value. I have a sibling who sent their kids to private school so for them the school scores were not important at the time, the trouble is it affects the value of the house so now they won't get as much as if they went to an area where the schools had higher scores.
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2009
815 posts
816 upvotes
I think the most important element to a child’s success is parenting. If the parents aren’t involved (in the right amount/way) it doesn’t matter what programs the parents put their kids into.

But with that being said, here in the GVRD you go to the school in your catchment unless there is no space. Don’t rely on the realtor listings, since they just include whatever schools are nearby. You have to go to the school board catchment websites and plug in your address to see the school catchment.

If you can, look towards the higher social economic neighbourhoods. You will likely find higher ownership vs rental rates, higher income families (and more networking opportunities for your kids and for you), higher parental involvement in the neighbourhood/community, etc. This doesn’t guarantee that your child won’t grow up to be an idiot, but you would definitely be putting your kid into a position to succeed.
Deal Addict
Jun 18, 2020
1005 posts
878 upvotes
One clarification to one of the replies here, French immersion is not a different board necessarily. Both the public and Catholic boards have french immersion, with varying amounts of instruction in French. Parents do not need to speak French.

The French board is entirely different from those, and require a parent to speak French. Instruction is 100 percent French.

All three are tax funded, thus free to enroll.

Always confirm the school with the address through the school board, last thing you want to do is drop over 1m and have your realtor not understand how schools work.
[OP]
Member
Apr 20, 2011
357 posts
63 upvotes
Toronto
Thank you everyone. @GTA12345 @Alpine84 @atom2020 @sokolov @SubjectivelyObjective @ZxExN . All of this was super helpful. I have another question. One of the common thing that i am getting out of this discussion is leaning towards higher social economic negibourhood. as mentioned in one of the comment that total family income could be $100K but it could be becuase both parent doing 2 jobs hence not enough time for good parenting? What variables/values should i consider to shortlist a neighbourhood like this.
Jr. Member
Oct 7, 2019
100 posts
68 upvotes
hyph3n wrote: First of all, I wasn't born in Canada. I came here to do masters and decided to settle here. now i am planning to buy a house and one of the issue that i am having is understanding "school" system and how/what should i trust.

1. Is admission in a school based on address? I am using HouseSigma and sometimes i look for a house it shows me "multiple" schools (multiple elementary/multiple secondary etc). If the admission to a school is based on address then why it shows my multiple schools? wouldn't each address have only 1 school associated to it?

2. How much should i rely on the ranking/score listed in HouseSigma? Does this score ranking matter at all? One of the concern tha ti have that some schools may have good ranking now but they may not be in couple of years. Whats the best way (tips) to shortlist a school/neighborhood

3. What is best way to "confirm" that the school listed on housesignma is actually the school my kids will get admission to? I mean is there a possibility that housesigma may have wrong data or not up-to-date data?

4. Most of the "good" elementary schools in Milton happened to be associated with religion (Catholic). I don't want my kid to learn from religious school. How much catholic schools differs from regular ones? (it has nothing to do with a school being catholic. i am muslim myself but i believe religion is my personal matter and shouldn't be taught in schools. main reason why i am not choosing an islamic school for my kid)

5. Someone told me that private schools have better rankings since they chose to send only smart kids for the tests. (in mississauga, all top 3-5 schools are private)

6. I heard another term which was "french emmersion"? What are those schools? Should i consider them?

I am looking for information that i can use to provide best education to my kids. I will appreciate any other information/pointers/tips that you think may help me decide it.

thank you
How many master degrees have you completed here?
Sr. Member
Dec 5, 2009
815 posts
816 upvotes
You can check out censusmapper.ca to get a general idea about where the higher social-economic neighbourhoods are. Keep in mind that these results may not be 100% accurate (especially if you view maps made by others) but in my experience, they serve as a pretty good guideline. These results can also be skewed if you look at areas that are primarily owned by people who earn their income overseas (which I don't think will be the case).

Once you have a shortlist, you need to go out and explore, drive around/walk around to really get a good sense of the area. Look at curb appeal, how well the homes/landscaping are maintained, the cars in the driveway, etc. Try to drop by during different times of the day to get a sense of who lives in the neighbourhood, how busy/loud/quiet it is, how many cars are parked on the street, etc. If you drop by after dinner you'll hopefully bump into some potential neighbors that you can chat with. Also, check out all of the parks in the vicinity.
Deal Addict
Mar 2, 2017
2200 posts
3900 upvotes
Toronto/Markham
OP, did you ever state what your budget is? Generally good schools are in expensive areas for the most part.

Are you optimizing your location for your kids education? Markham/Richmond Hill are your best bet for consistency in the public board, in general the YRDSB south board is one of the best boards we have (not the north part).
Realtor, Investor, CPA - Collaborate with like minded people
Sr. Member
Oct 30, 2017
551 posts
412 upvotes
Toronto
RichmondCA wrote: OP, did you ever state what your budget is? Generally good schools are in expensive areas for the most part.

Are you optimizing your location for your kids education? Markham/Richmond Hill are your best bet for consistency in the public board, in general the YRDSB south board is one of the best boards we have (not the north part).
This is why many middle-class immigrants flock to the suburbs.
Member
Jun 15, 2015
439 posts
483 upvotes
Thornhill, ON
OP, if you are looking for the best schools, look for public or separate schools which offer Advanced Placement programs or IB (International Baccalaureate) programs. The best students usually go to these schools.

Top