Moving to Detroit area - thinking Brighton/Hamburg. Tips? (Ann Arbor: appointed, low crime)
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Moving to Detroit area - thinking Brighton/Hamburg. Tips?
My wife and I are moving to Detroit shortly. We are in our early late 20's/early 30's with a newborn baby.
We have visited once, only for a weekend just to drive around and check out a few spots. I am going to be working at DTW (the airport). I will commute there about 4 times a month, and would like to be within an hour drive.
I have done a lot of research, and so far have been liking the Brighton/Hamburg area. When we drove out there, I liked the rolling hills and tons of trees out there.
I have also looked in to - Canton, Plymouth, Northville, Novi, Milford, and South Lyon. The first three would make my drive to the airport a bit easier.
Canton seemed more of the same - no character and subdivision after subdivision, with huge shopping areas in between. Suburbia at it's best. Nice homes, though.
We didn't look around in Northville too much. Drove through the downtown area, seemed nice. More expensive than Canton, right? Seemed like it had more trees.
Didn't drive around Novi, or Milford... just know about them by researching on the internet.
South Lyon seemed ok, but the downtown area was disappointing.
We walked around downtown Ann Arbor, seemed like that is a nice area to go for a lunch/dinner type evening.
Schools are going to be a concern, want a good school district.
Obviously low crime is a major concern as well.
As far as type of house, looking for something newer (10-15 years old). 3-4 BR, brick would be nice, 3 car garage. Don't want to be stacked on top of my neighbor, 0.5 acre is fine. Budget around $250-$300k.
I don't want to live in a subdivsion with either no trees or very young trees. That is where we live now. Love trees!!
I'd like to be within 20 minutes of shopping area (Lowes, target, etc.). It seems all the places I mentioned meet this criteria.
Parks are also very important to us. That is what is attracting us to Brighton/Hamburg and even Milford. The Kensington park and even the other smaller parks out there... seems like there are more of them. Canton has virtually no parks?
Sorry for the long winded post. Hope to get some opinions from some Detroit area people.
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,820 posts, read 30,869,110 times
Northville and Novi have the best schools in that area. Plymouth is right up there with them as well. South Lyon is next. Brighton and Milford have more average schools. However none of them are bad.
Northville and Plymouth have the best downtowns.
Personally I am not too fond of Canton nor Brighton. I like defined towns with a downtown and some history and character. Canton and brighton are just big suburbs with strip malls and subdivisions. Brighton has some spread out living if you get out a bit, but South Lyon has just as much spread outness and a shorter drive and better schools. You may also want to look at Silver Lake (Green Oak Township) if you can afford it. Part of Silver lake was South Lyon School District.
Also, the little villiage of Salem is cute and has rolling hills and space. Very close. South Lyon or Ann Arbor schools I think. (Both good).
South Lyon has a little bit of the cool old downtown left (Ten Mile and Pontiac Trail intersection - they have different street names in town, Ten Mile is Lake, Pontiac Trail I cannot remember what they call it). South lyon also has a semi neat park (McCatti Park).
Northville is just plain awesome. It has the mill pond park with a bazillion ducks in the pond begging for food, and the Mill Villiage where they moved a bunch of historic buildings and made a miniature Greenfield Villiage. Plus they ahve a great downtown and fantastic schools. Housing options are also really awesome if you like homes with character.
Plymouth has a great walkable downtown. Smaller homes mostly, but there are some large victorian era homes especially on Penniman and Ann Arbor Trail. It is a bigger city than Northville at least as far as the scope of their downtown.
Northern Livonia has some decent areas too. Not that many, but there are a few places that you might like.
Brighton is a bit of a long drive, particularly in the winter.
Northville has a terrific downtown. However if you get out along 8 mile into Northville Township or Lyon Township, you can have some space. Maybury park on 8 mile near Beck road is really nice. It is not Kensington, but it is a nice area and Northville Schools.
I can understand wanting to be near Kensington it has no rivals. (I worked there for 5 years and know it pretty well). In range of Kensington you will get the best schools in Lyon Township (New Hudson and the surrounding area). That will also give you the shortest drive. New Hudson also has a great hilltop park (once a garbage dump) where you an get the best views in the area.
Of the three "Kensington" towns, Milford has the best downtown (Brighton and New Hudson have none). However Milfrod probably has the least exemplary schools. Brighton also has a little bump (also made of trash) that you can ski down if you do not mind waiting in line for 15 minutes to ski down for less than a minute.
New Hudson has a fantastic Methodist church with a great minister. We drive over an hour to go there. It si worht it.
Hamburg or Pinckney are very "quaint." Hamburg is definitely rural, but that is what makes it Hamburg. Parts of Pinckey / Green Oaks are very nice as well. Not sure if you want to be on the water, but there are some really nice areas to consider. Our niece and my sister-n-law live in White Hall (there is an HOA) but the location is wonderful.
Thank you both for the replies. I am going to digest the info and then ask some follow up questions. When you say "quaint" for Hamburg/Pinckey... do you mean redneck?
Also, what is the deal with downtowns? Are they a big deal in Michigan? It seems like most posts I see where people are asking for advise, the downtowns are always mentioned.
The other thing I liked about Brighton/Hamburg is there is a rails-to-trails park going through the area, isn't there? I think I remember reading it was 13 miles of paved trail through that part. Stuff like that is a plus for us. We saw Maybury park (well, the outside) when we drove around, seems decently sized.
It seems like you get a lot more bang for your buck, as far as home prices go, out in Brighton/Hamburg/Pinckey/Milford as opposed to Northville/Plymouth. How are property taxes in all these areas?
I will mention that I have friends who are leaving Brighton because of the schools. There is not a lot of emphasis on achievement in education. Their kids are bright but not challenged, and have learned the attitude at school that homework doesn't matter, all they need to do is the bare minimum and they still get As. They are leaving their dream home in Brighton to head to Ann Arbor - even though they'll pay through the nose for taxes - because they are so disappointed with Brighton schools, and work is in Ann Arbor.
The Walled Lake (Commerce Township & Walled Lake), Northville, Novi, Huron Valley (Milford/White Lake), and Pinckney (covers Hamburg and Pinckney) districts are all quite good, and generally better than Brighton. I'm involved in education, as is my friend (one parent of the family leaving Brighton).
Brighton to Pinckney area is a bedroom community for Ann Arbor.
You like trees - they got trees.
Several recreation areas are there: Pinckney, Waterloo, Brighton, Huron Meadows, Kent Lake, Island Lake. Explore with Bing Maps.
You're close to AA culture.
Re. downtowns: Brighton has shopping, AA has university culture, Hamburg has small grocery, Pinckney has gas, grocery, party stores.
Hell is a short drive.
quaint as in small town, not isolated, but secluded? Lots of nice folks and the Hamburg Pub is a great time. So is the area around Zukey Lake. I think it is far from redneck, as many folks just enjoy their weekends by hanging at the water.
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,820 posts, read 30,869,110 times
Many people like defined towns with a specific identitiy, and especially the quaint older downtwon area with lots of neat shops and cafes. People like to be able to walk or bike to shops and cafes or to church etc., or just walk around town and enjoy a quaint place. A specific downtown gives people a place to congregate and to come together for events parades, etc. Stip malls just do not create the sense of a single commuity that a downtown does.
If you are gong to live outside of town, then living inside of Northville city limits (for example) does not make a lot of sense. You can live in teh township and still attend Northville schools, still drive into Northville and participate in community events or enjoy the parks and shops, etc. If you are not going to live in walking distance of town, then why spend the money to live in Northville?
to me the ideal is to live on a half acre to an acre of land within walking distance of a small quaint town like Northville or Milford. You get the best of both worlds. Such places are hard to find, but there are there. We bid on one in Northville once (but got outbid).
Many Cities are simlpy suburban sprawl. Subdivisions and stip malls, convenience stores and chains (like McDonald's) abound and are generally the only viable options for many residents.
If you like the latter, you have a lot of options that are cheaper. You pay more for a quiant town and/or for better schools.
If you want to live rural, or semi rural, every town mentioned has such places available. You cna often save a considerable amount of moeny by living in the adjoining township rather than in the city limits. You will often get lower prices and lower taxes, but the same schools. Some places (Lyon township for example) have to contract out their police protection, and you may get a squad car down your street once a month or less, but then you do not need it much either.
Gonna revive this thread because my wife and I are planning another trip out to look at houses. Can any one recommend a realtor? I think we are going to be looking primarily in the Brighton/Hamburg area. I don't know if they want you posting names, so feel free to PM me. Thanks.
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