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Old 04-02-2019, 10:27 AM
 
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I posted here before about my wife and I's interest in possible relocation to MI from Denver. I grew up in MI, but she is from TX. We are taking one step closer in this process, and we're going to try to visit some areas this summer while visiting my family and spending some time on Lake Michigan's coast. One of those areas includes Grand Rapids, but we're also going to scope out the Metro Detroit area. She really wants to live on a lake, so we're interested in places like St. Clair Shores. She's a high school Chemistry teacher, so she can live almost anywhere there are schools. I will attempt to see if I can take my job remote, but otherwise, I will need to find something else locally.

Our budget will probably be between $200k and $300k. We are selling in a hot seller's market here in Denver (~$300k for our townhome), but we'd like to save on our housing costs and so we're looking primarily at $250k or less. We don't really require a lot of space, but she'd like to have a house with a dock on the lake. We've found some reasonably priced listings on Zillow in the low $200k range in or around St. Claire Shores area. Are there any other places near the urban core that we should look into that might be on the up and up? If I don't take my job remotely, it's important that I live in an area where I can job hunt and find something relatively quickly and that pays well ($75k+).

Any other thoughts about a Denver to MI move (for those of you who have visited or know about both)?
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Old 04-02-2019, 04:11 PM
 
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Well, since your SO has her sights on living on a lake, Coldjensen's will surely provide some in depth information on Grosse Isle. Although not on a lake, Grosse Isle is an island in the Detroit River so it is surrounded by water, and has a lot of waterfront property. It is about a 10-15 minute ride to downtown Wyandotte, one of the largest suburban downtowns in the area.

Have you looked at any waterfront properties in the Grosse Pointes?
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:18 AM
 
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Originally Posted by usroute10 View Post
Well, since your SO has her sights on living on a lake, Coldjensen's will surely provide some in depth information on Grosse Isle. Although not on a lake, Grosse Isle is an island in the Detroit River so it is surrounded by water, and has a lot of waterfront property. It is about a 10-15 minute ride to downtown Wyandotte, one of the largest suburban downtowns in the area.

Have you looked at any waterfront properties in the Grosse Pointes?
Are the Grosse Pointes in our price range? When I was growing up there, that area was always considered ritzy.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:27 AM
 
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Another update: My wife is applying to two master's programs in school psychology. One of them is at a school here in CO, and the other is at Wayne State. Depending on which program she gets into, that could determine a lot about where we end up and how soon. Program wouldn't start for her until next fall at WSU.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Ann Arbor MI
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I think you would be hard pressed to find a house in the Grosse Pointe's with a dock. The few that do would be 10 times your budget.

Once Lake Shore Drive swings down to the lake everything is on the other side of the road. Plus in any of the Grosse Pointes if you can see the lake from your yard its not going to be in your budget....not remotely.
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by craig11152 View Post
I think you would be hard pressed to find a house in the Grosse Pointe's with a dock. The few that do would be 10 times your budget.

Once Lake Shore Drive swings down to the lake everything is on the other side of the road. Plus in any of the Grosse Pointes if you can see the lake from your yard its not going to be in your budget....not remotely.
That's what I figured. We found some reasonable places up north in St. Claire Shores. That's probably more our flavor in the near future.

Once she graduates from her program, and starts making her expected salary, we'd probably be in the $400k to $500k market long term.

Last edited by Sir Quotes A Lot; 04-03-2019 at 10:11 AM..
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Old 04-03-2019, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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I do not know what your price range is. Houses with a dock in Grosse Ile run about $500,000 all the way up to $29,000,000. Don't buy the $29,000,000 house, I think it is overpriced. It isn't even finished. There are much better deals for a third of that price. Houses on the water with water view but no access/dock are as low as $350,000 - $450,000 and up; and you can just use a neighbor's dock if you pay them a little.

Houses on the canals can dip down as low as $300,000, maybe even $250,000. Some have boat launches, not really a dock, but a boat lift/launch. I think they have to dig out a sub canal it put one in. I do not think you are allowed to impede the canals. Canals give you access to the River and lake Erie, but limited to jet skis and smaller boats with a shallow draft.


Grosse Ile is one of the best places in the country to raise a family IMO. Consistently the safest place in Michigan. Quiet, foresty as well as all the water. Great schools. Kind of small town/1950s ish atmosphere. But it is not right for everyone. It does not have much in the way of shopping, dining or nightlife, but Wyandotte is pretty neat for all of those and right across the water. I can literally canoe to a nice Wyandotte restaurant from my house. I have written a number of posts setting out the amenities, upsides and downsides of GI and downriver in general. If you cannot find them, let me know and I will ask someone to find them for you (I am not very good at finding old posts, some people seem to be able to find them in minutes).

there is a group of condos at the end of Macomb street that have very nice docks. The condos are somewhat dated, but they are not terrible. The docks are quite nice. You have to cross the street to get to the water, but you can look at it form most of the condos.

There are some waterfront houses and condos with docks in Wyandotte and Trenton. Not many. Cheaper than Grosse Ile though. You give up the great schools, top safety rating and trees. Trenton has a magnificent park. Wyandotte has a great downtown.


If you want lakefront property in the Detroit metro, many of the smaller lakes are very pleasant. Some would say much nicer than being on the big lakes. Northwest Oakland County and some parts of Washtenaw county are riddled with small lakes. The lots are small, but you have a lake for a backyard, so who cares what your lot size is? Look at Commerce Twp, and notrh/NW. there must be 50 small lakes in there. the lakes have names I can never remember. We have some friends who live on some of those lakes. It is a very nice lifestyle, especially if you waterski.

Out on the West side of the state, the lake Michigan Beaches are Uber beautiful (most of them). However if you are right on the water, it will be extremely cold in the winter. You will also get a lot more snow on the west side of the state but it is prettier by far. Grand rapids has some nice historic districts, but if you want to be on lake Michigan, you will want to look at South Haven, Grand Haven, Sagutuck, and the Gem of the lower Peninsula Traverse City. (among others, there are a lot of really nice cities on the water between grand Haven and TC).

If she is going to WSU do not rule out renting in Midtown. It is really cool there. and you can move to waterfront later. Also WSU has some great psychology programs. If she gets into WSU grad program she must be a superstar. My daughter was hoping to get a job teaching there but there was no good fit for her.

I will give you a better comparison with Denver in a few months if I remember. Another daughter is getting married in Denver in July (she lives in Aurora). I have not spent much time in Denver in a long time other than getting off a plane and into a shuttle up to the mountains. We will be there for a week, so I hope to explore some.

Last edited by Coldjensens; 04-03-2019 at 04:24 PM..
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:57 PM
 
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That budget with lake access is going to be really difficult to find in Metro Detroit unless you are looking at small lakes way out in the exurbs like Northern Oakland County, Livingston County etc. If you are looking commuting to Wayne State, these areas are a non-starter.

Like Coldjensen mentioned, there may be some areas in parts of Macomb County - St. Clair Shores, Harrison Twp that may have canal access to Lake St. Clair, and some areas in the downriver communities as well (one of the few areas of Metro Detroit I'm not that familar with at all). That said, canal property is really only worth it if you are going to have a boat, and actually use said boat.
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Old 04-04-2019, 08:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by DTWflyer View Post
That budget with lake access is going to be really difficult to find in Metro Detroit unless you are looking at small lakes way out in the exurbs like Northern Oakland County, Livingston County etc. If you are looking commuting to Wayne State, these areas are a non-starter.

Like Coldjensen mentioned, there may be some areas in parts of Macomb County - St. Clair Shores, Harrison Twp that may have canal access to Lake St. Clair, and some areas in the downriver communities as well (one of the few areas of Metro Detroit I'm not that familar with at all). That said, canal property is really only worth it if you are going to have a boat, and actually use said boat.
I think what we may have been seeing on Zillow is canal access. We were looking primarily around St. Clair Shores.

While she is in school at WSU (assuming this is where she goes), then I think we'd start out living in an apartment in or near Midtown.
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Old 04-04-2019, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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Canal access in SCS is often right on the water and often have a full view of the water. You need a canal to have a boar of any size because St. Clair is so shallow around the edges.

BTW as to water front living. I used to think it was foolish waste of money. How often do you actually use the water anyway? and you can just drive there. Then we bought a waterfront property. Now I never want to not live on water. It was way better than I ever imagined (and we do not have that great of a view). It is just a nice feeling to stand at the edge of a body of water in the morning before you drive off to work. It is such a great transition to drive home along a waterfront and get your mind cleared of "work mode." It is also a phenomenal way to get rid of tension, anger, angst to just sit on a rock and stare at the water for an hour. I cannot say why, it just is.

That is without even using the water. Being able to come home from work in the summer, jump in a canoe, or kayak and go for a paddle is also really wonderful.
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