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Old 08-06-2012, 04:25 PM
 
168 posts, read 438,037 times
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Awesome info! I didn't realize those MI beach areas are so nice and easily accessible. We're definitely going to research these locations. Thanks very much for all these suggestions!!

chet, thanks for the feedback re: vacation home ownership. I completely agree with all your points. If we move to Chicago, which we're not even sure about yet, we'd spend a few years visiting all the possibilities. If we find a location we love and we decide we can use a vacation home often enough to justify the expense, we might buy. If not, we won't. At this point, I'm just researching the area to see if we'd have nearby water vacation options. It sounds like we definitely would. Thanks!
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Old 08-07-2012, 08:27 PM
 
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My vote would go to southwest michigan. great beaches and some nice inland lakes. a two to three hour drive depending. but why go to all the expense and buy. You tie up your money and have headaches with maintenance. You can rent a house or condo in any of the nice sw michigan towns and it will be cheaper than buying. Thats what I do. towns such as south haven, grand haven, saugatuck, new buffalo, etc. are good to explore.
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:13 PM
 
166 posts, read 339,198 times
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Originally Posted by ToriaT View Post
My vote would go to southwest michigan. great beaches and some nice inland lakes. a two to three hour drive depending. but why go to all the expense and buy. You tie up your money and have headaches with maintenance. You can rent a house or condo in any of the nice sw michigan towns and it will be cheaper than buying. Thats what I do. towns such as south haven, grand haven, saugatuck, new buffalo, etc. are good to explore.
I second that about the area. It's up to you about the buy vs rent equation.

The Lake Geneva area is nice, but I prefer the "Beach" towns of SW Michigan.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Hinsdale, IL
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Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
In reality the "value" of ownership is extremmelg hard to justify -- for what a few months of just property taxes on a second home cost one could probably rent a lovely vacation home multiples weeks of the year. I suppose if you live in some tiny box of a condo there is some solace is having a "weekend home" to retreat towards, but even then the combination of having to coordinate the costs of two homes with very high prices seems immprudent given the pressures on real estate prices...
Have you recently talked to my wife? Because this is exactly what she and I were just discussing on our way home from Michigan over the fourth of July. She makes the same arguments about renting v. owning a lake home in Michigan (where I'm from). Economically, it makes sense to rent. Practically speaking, however, the chances of (a) finding a place that really suits your needs, and (b) being able to rent it for weekends only or for multiple weekends during the summer without competing with other renters is very difficult (unless you know the owners). For me, I would rather own and, on the weekends that I don't use the home, just rent it myself. My wife, however, will win this battle.
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Old 08-08-2012, 04:24 PM
 
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SW Michigan, no brainer.

Door County is nice, but it's pretty far.
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Old 08-08-2012, 07:33 PM
 
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Great info, guys. Thanks! We really appreciate your suggestions.
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Old 08-08-2012, 09:30 PM
 
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Chris H 2, I just rented a condo in south haven which is directly on the beach and has a pool too. As I was looking through the website, there were tons of places for rent. Houses, condos etc. either on the beach (rare) or a few blocks away in south haven. I only rented this recently so I came late to the party. I think if you want to ensure your spot at a place you are interested you should start early. You can rent a house that sleeps 12 people or more. Its not the easiest to be a landlord. The lady who rented it had contracts drawn up, security deposits, she has pages of rules and procedures for her condo, etc. Also she has to go up there after every renter to ensure there is no damage to return the security deposit and has to have to place cleaned, etc. Its a headache. My mom once owned a place in FL and convinced me of the folly of owning a place out of state.
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Old 08-09-2012, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Whether the Wisconsin or Michigan resort areas make more sense would depend on which part of the Chicago area you end up moving to. If you live in the south or southwest suburbs then the Michigan lake areas make more sense. For most every other part of the area the Wisconsin resort areas make more sense. I'm more familiar with the Wisconsin areas so that's what I'll comment on.

Unfortunately the best lake resort areas are way up in the northern end of the state -- Vilas/Oneida and Sawyer Counties. You're looking at a 5 to 6 hour trip unless you live in the very northern reaches of the Chicago area, then maybe you can cut it down to 4.5 hours if you hustle. If I had to restrict myself to within 4 hours, I'd be looking somewhere in the Appleton to Fond du Lac area. That's where you'll find a chain of fairly substantial lakes (Poygan, Winneconne, Lac Butte des Mortes, and Winnebago) with enough elbow room for lots of boat traffic even on crowded weekends Other substantial lakes with enough elbow room would be Green Lake and Puckaway Lake.

Lake Geneva is way, way played out and lakefront property is unbelievably expensive. Lakeside condos start at around 400 grand. Roughly double that if you want a detached home in move-in condition.
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Old 08-09-2012, 05:14 PM
 
Location: Jefferson Park Chicago, IL
537 posts, read 987,984 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ToriaT View Post
The lady who rented it had contracts drawn up, security deposits, she has pages of rules and procedures for her condo, etc. Also she has to go up there after every renter to ensure there is no damage to return the security deposit and has to have to place cleaned, etc. Its a headache. My mom once owned a place in FL and convinced me of the folly of owning a place out of state.
This really depends on the location and rental market. We own an out of state condo at a popular CO ski resort. I rented it myself for the first year and you are right it was a nightmare. I was in charge of all bookings, contracts, payments, etc. Then I hired a local maintenance/cleaning company to handle between rental cleanings.

The 2nd year I met with many local management companies and found one I was comfortable with and also had a lower than average commission rate. Taking all the tax benefits/implications out of the equation we basically break even. If I had the time or inclination to tackle all the bookings myself we would be cash positive. As it stands I'm happy breaking even, owning a property that is very resistant to market changes, and having a free place to stay whenever we head out there.

Like I said I guess it really depends on the market, but where we own we're booked north of 150 days a year so it works out. SW Michigan probably has tougher time getting enough bookings to make it worthwhile.
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Old 08-15-2012, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Where the heart is...
4,927 posts, read 4,918,312 times
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Default Or...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vlajos View Post
SW Michigan, no brainer.

Door County is nice, but it's pretty far.
You could look at the many possibilities of Muskegon, Mi (my experience over the last twenty years or so is a comfortable 3-4 hour drive from the environs of Chicago). In doing so and if you buy/rent you may actually situate yourself to glorious pure sugar sand beaches, state parks, camping, to die for sunsets, and summer festivals from start to finish.

You may also take the Lake Ferry Express from Muskegon, leave traffic behind and visit the beautiful shores of Wisconsin.

I sincerely love Michigan as a whole but especially the western shores of Michigan and all the great family activities year round

It's just wonderful having both Michigan and Wisconsin at your leisure. Best wishes in making your decision...sincerely.

Best regards,

HIW...

Comments and Reviews?

Muskegon State Park

Lake Express - Lake Michigan's High Speed Ferry
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