We have LOTS of older Cape style homes in Massachusetts and many homeowners are looking for ways to increase their living space. With sloped second floor ceilings limiting square footage, adding dormers to a Cape can be a relatively inexpensive way to gain space.
Gabled window dormers can add curb appeal and are less costly to build, while a full shed dormer, usually done in the back of the house, can allow for the addition of a bathroom.
Just a shed dormer itself may start around $20,000 but expect plenty of variation in cost depending on the size, materials used, and whether the new space will be used for a bathroom (i.e. added plumbing and electrical costs) or bedroom.
Often one project means others as well, so consider whether the dormer will mean replacing an entire roof, all the siding, or other windows in the house to match.
As with any renovation, it's a good idea to start with plans and choose a few different contractors to price the project, making sure to check references before moving forward with anyone. A dormer can grow to be a large project but can be kept simple and mean better curb appeal, increased living space, and higher resale value.
With so little housing inventory, it's hard enough to find the right home without trying to stay in a certain school district. This often prompts families to wonder if kids can stay in their schools or districts after moving elsewhere. The short answer is, it depends.
With enrollment changes and space constraints, district boundaries within a town tend to fluctuate. In some towns, many buyers successfully request that their children remain in a certain elementary or middle school after a move within the town. In lots of these cases, buses are not available.
Some towns offer school choice (Framingham, Holliston and Boston for example, all have different structures of school choice available) within the city or town that can make it easier for students to remain at their school after an in-town move.
Moving out of town can make it more difficult to stay in a certain school district but it's not impossible. Massachusetts school districts can participate in a school choice program allowing students from other towns to attend a school in a different town than their own. There are usually a limited number of spots available for this in a given district, and often a certain school within that district is assigned (so may not be an option for someone who is looking to be in a specific elementary school, for example).
When attending school out of district or out of town or attending a charter school in Massachusetts, parents are usually responsible for transportation. Another consideration is that many town activities like youth sports don't usually offer the same choice, so it's important to consider all of the pros and cons to attending school out of district.
Knowing that these options are available can sometimes open up more possibilities in a home search but it's important to consider what works best for the family and confirm any plans with local school districts before submitting an offer on a home.
For further information on school choice in Massachusetts, visit The Department of Education
For buyers with and without children, one of the most important considerations in selecting a city, town or neighborhood, is the school system. For those with kids, educational opportunities have obvious importance, and for others school rankings are an essential factor when it later comes time to resell. What makes a school district one of the best is far more subjective than rankings can demonstrate, so it's always important to get local opinions from parents, teachers, or town officials, but the top 25 list below provided by Niche, is a starting point. In Massachusetts as a whole we are fortunate to have some of the highest ranked school systems in the country.
Details on the 2019 Best School District Ranking from Niche