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Old 02-10-2021, 09:51 PM
 
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My wife and I are considering a move to Detroit for jobs with better pay and benefits. We will be commuting to Royal Oak and Sterling Heights.

Our budget is $350k and we're looking for a postwar 4 br house on min 1/2 an acre. Good schools, open space, and quiet are big factors. Lower property taxes would be a huge plus as well. Lastly we'd prefer somewhere liberal or moderate, but not hardcore conservative.

Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2021, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Central Mass
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Kids? Schools?

Most liberal: Washtenaw county (350k is a stretch in Ann Arbor), but that's over an hour to Sterling Heights. My sister-in-law is married to a guy from Louisville who was living in Ypsi at the time, so it happens.

Least liberal: anywhere north of Royal Oak - northern Oakland County is really conservative, as is Macomb county, and Lapeer county most of all. I'm not sure how liberal Rochester Hills is, but your budget is pushing that area too. Livingston county (Howell, Brighton) are pretty conservative too.

My most liberal friends who still live in MI live in nice neighborhoods in Detroit, but they have intrawar houses on much smaller lots.
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Old 02-11-2021, 08:46 AM
 
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Almost all of Metro Detroit suburbs are predominately moderate, middle of the road, mixed minded people, and/or keep their political views to themselves and everyone gets along just fine.
Just ignore the neighborhood hot-head idiot, or the blow-hards that rant and rave on the community FB pages.

Pockets of areas in places like Ferndale tend to skew a bit more outwardly liberal since its been home to a large concentration of the LGBTQ community for decades.
The only places you really start to see a lot of outwardly and/our loud mouth conservative stuff in large doses is the more rural parts of Northern Macomb county (Romeo, Richmond) or Northern/Western Oakland (Milford, Highland, Holly) and Livingston county.

That being said, you can probably find stuff in parts of Troy, Rochester Hills, Sterling Heights that give you a reasonable commute, within budget, and good schools. Most of the new builds in these areas tend to be on smaller lots and packed-in closely. Some of the "older" homes from the 60s, 70s, 80s tend to have larger lot sizes.
It will be hard to find anything on bigger lots south of 16 Mile/Metro Parkway/Big Beaver in most cases as a lot of that was developed right after WWII is is smaller lot bungalow / tract houses.

Home prices and taxes, in general, tend to be slightly less for the exact same house in Macomb County (east of Dequindre Rd) than in Oakland County (west of Dequindre Rd.)
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Old 02-11-2021, 08:59 AM
 
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I would also look at Shelby Twp.

You are going to struggle to find something in Rochester Hills or Troy that meets all of those criteria within your budget.

There are 4 BDRM houses out there in places like Sterling Heights but on much smaller lots.

Inventory right now is super-low too in the depth of winter. From what my realtor friend has said, is that the real estate market has "locked-up". There was a fury of transactions last summer and fall after COVID eased-up a bit. Then it fell off a cliff late fall and now there is just no inventory. They think it will ease-up by spring a bit as they see a lot of pent-up demand, but all depends on how the inventory situation goes this spring/summer.
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Old 02-11-2021, 10:14 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,253 posts, read 74,323,387 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faksko View Post
My wife and I are considering a move to Detroit for jobs with better pay and benefits. We will be commuting to Royal Oak and Sterling Heights.

Our budget is $350k and we're looking for a postwar 4 br house on min 1/2 an acre. Good schools, open space, and quiet are big factors. Lower property taxes would be a huge plus as well. Lastly we'd prefer somewhere liberal or moderate, but not hardcore conservative.

Thanks!
There are a ton of amazing suburbs and town in the area. That is probably the top benefit of the metro Detroit area. You have a lot of choices. However you may have to prioritize your wish list.

Most newer homes are built on tiny lots except for very expensive homes. However you have a decent shot at finding some homes on acreage from the 1970s or 1980s. Many of these homes are worn and not updated/resorted so they will be more affordable. By way of example, my fathers house (which he will need to sell fairly soon) is on 3 acres. It was built in 1970 and still ahs the original carpet and most of the décor. He has a well, septic and heats with propane gas which has to be delivered to a tank in his yard. His 2100 s.f. house will likely sell for $350,000 to $450,000. Then you will need to put $20k to 450 k into it, but you could do that over time. (it is pretty far from were you want to be but just an example. The locaitn (rural Lyon township) pretty well meets most of your other wants list. Would something like that be of interest to you, or are you looking for granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and white cabinets with soft close doors?

You do not find a lot of liberal rural areas. Liberal areas are mostly in densely populated places. That is a trade off unless you triple your budget. You are unlikely to find a half acre in ferndale and they donto have good schools, at least not super good schools.

You also need to define some of your wants. quiet? You can find rural areas with little traffic or airplane noise but they are not quiet in the warm months. crickets frogs, coyotes owls and all sorts of other things will create a rather loud ruckus. Some people find it intolerably loud. Do you just mean traffic? No gunfire and people screaming? No trains nearby? You cannot hear/see your neighbors?

How "good" of schools are you looking for? Do you feel your kids need top ten in the state, or are you just looking for schools that are not generally identified as "bad" schools. What criteria? Just test scores? Do you want big schools or small schools? What age range are you looking for the schools to be good? Public schools only or can you consider private school? Are you willing to drive your kids to a neighboring school district to get into schools with better test scores? Do you need a school that is good in any particular area? (Special needs, particular sports or performing arts, robotics, non-mainstream kids, stem? Arts? lots of AP classes, just the really good in the basics? ). Do you want to go by statistical ratings, parent reviews, general urban legend type reputation?

Lower property taxes than what? In Michigan property taxes are generally tied to real estate values. So if you want lower property taxes, but a cheaper house. the second factor for taxes are mileages. We get to vote to tax ourselves for things we want. If we want better schools, we vote for school mileages and tax ourselves to generate money for school improvements. There are also mileages for roads, libraries, police, fire and public safety, public recreation (parks, pools, golf courses, marinas all kind of things that a municipality might own). If an area does not approve such mileages, they have lower taxes but they do not get the amenities and services (or nicer schools). By way of example, our township owns and operates a marina, an indoor tennis place, a farm with a riding stable, a gold course, soccer fields, sledding hill, hockey rink, kayak launch beach, water overlook deck, airport, 20 plus miles of bicycle trails, 680 of greenspace (forests and trails), probably things I am forgetting. Our taxes are higher than surrounding areas because of mileages to pay for all those things, but then we get the benefit of having those things available for our use. We also have excellent schools and the best safety resources. But we pay for all that. So you have to decide whether you want to pay for exemplary amenities and services or do you just want a house where you can go inside and watch Tv? That is cheaper.

When you get to larger properties without huge price tags, you get into lots with wells for water, and septic for sewer. This comes with some inconveniences and maintenance obligations. Is that OK for you?

Larger property generally comes wiht longer driveways. In the winter that can mean a day of shoveling, or pay $150 each time it snows, or buy a $3000 snow blower. You are also probably going to want a riding lawn mower if you go with more then 1/2 acre. That can be another $2500. Acreage allo often means mosquitoes, so include treatment in your budget.

Do you want to be on or near water?

How long of a commute is tolerable to you?

What nearby amentias are important to you? Shopping, dining, chains, malls, recreation, etc. What is your tolerance for driving in traffic? In snow?

You need to figure out some of these issues for yourself and then people here can help you narrow down your options to a few dozen communities that fit your higher priorities and then you can figure out what you a want to trade off.

I strongly suggest you rent someplace for a year before committing to a community. There are so many really fabulous places to live here, that you may well end up wishing you had waited to choose until you understood the area better.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:45 AM
 
4,959 posts, read 4,074,407 times
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Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
The locaitn (rural Lyon township) pretty well meets most of your other wants list.
With the exception of the non-conservative bit, that was where my mind went, as well. Maybe the outer parts of Novi, but that's more or less in the same direction. Maybe also Milan alongside Carpenter, which is Ann Arbor adjacent and might catch some liberal spillover. A buddy of mine bought a house pretty much as the OP is describing, way under his budget, not too long ago. But the commute, either way, will be hell.

Acreage, while synonymous with "rural" is pretty antithetical to "non-conservative". I don't think I'm breaking any new ground with this revelation.
Quote:
I strongly suggest you rent someplace for a year before committing to a community. There are so many really fabulous places to live here, that you may well end up wishing you had waited to choose until you understood the area better.
This, this and more of this, ten more times over. The OP or his wife may not even like their jobs and/or simply decide that Metro D isn't for them.

Use us as a cautionary tale. We just moved to IL (an hour outside Chicago) on very little notice and bought a reasonably-priced (basically the same price as our house in Ann Arbor, but bigger) house with only a perfunctory look at the neighborhood (good crime statistics, friendly neighbors, police station next door, WalMart within a long walk's distance). Trouble is, the nearest Trader Joe's is a 25-minute drive away. Same with Costco. Same with Barnes & Noble. Same with a bunch of other stores we prefer over Wally World. Under the circumstances and with prices being what they are, we really couldn't have done a lot better, but had we waited a year, we may have been able to find something even a tiny bit less exurban OR decided we weren't going to stay here long-term (which is still a possibility). We will probably still not take a major bath on the house should we decide to go back to MI or move somewhere else this year or next, but had we waited, the pain in the аss factor would have been greatly reduced.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:49 AM
 
1,866 posts, read 1,569,145 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpio516 View Post
Kids? Schools?

Most liberal: Washtenaw county (350k is a stretch in Ann Arbor), but that's over an hour to Sterling Heights. My sister-in-law is married to a guy from Louisville who was living in Ypsi at the time, so it happens.

Least liberal: anywhere north of Royal Oak - northern Oakland County is really conservative, as is Macomb county, and Lapeer county most of all. I'm not sure how liberal Rochester Hills is, but your budget is pushing that area too. Livingston county (Howell, Brighton) are pretty conservative too.

My most liberal friends who still live in MI live in nice neighborhoods in Detroit, but they have intrawar houses on much smaller lots.

I certainly don't agree that anywhere north of Royal Oak is highly conservative. As was said in posts above, most communities tend toward moderate. There are a whole lot of communities between Royal Oak and northern Oakland County, too.
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Old 02-11-2021, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,253 posts, read 74,323,387 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by highlanderfil View Post
With the exception of the non-conservative bit, that was where my mind went, as well. Maybe the outer parts of Novi, but that's more or less in the same direction. Maybe also Milan alongside Carpenter, which is Ann Arbor adjacent and might catch some liberal spillover. A buddy of mine bought a house pretty much as the OP is describing, way under his budget, not too long ago. But the commute, either way, will be hell.

Acreage, while synonymous with "rural" is pretty antithetical to "non-conservative". I don't think I'm breaking any new ground with this revelation.This, this and more of this, ten more times over. The OP or his wife may not even like their jobs and/or simply decide that Metro D isn't for them.

Use us as a cautionary tale. We just moved to IL (an hour outside Chicago) on very little notice and bought a reasonably-priced (basically the same price as our house in Ann Arbor, but bigger) house with only a perfunctory look at the neighborhood (good crime statistics, friendly neighbors, police station next door, WalMart within a long walk's distance). Trouble is, the nearest Trader Joe's is a 25-minute drive away. Same with Costco. Same with Barnes & Noble. Same with a bunch of other stores we prefer over Wally World. Under the circumstances and with prices being what they are, we really couldn't have done a lot better, but had we waited a year, we may have been able to find something even a tiny bit less exurban OR decided we weren't going to stay here long-term (which is still a possibility). We will probably still not take a major bath on the house should we decide to go back to MI or move somewhere else this year or next, but had we waited, the pain in the аss factor would have been greatly reduced.

Right now is a really good time to wait. It is no secret that a crash is coming. Sell now in a high market and rent until the crash, you will get a lot more for your money.
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Old 02-13-2021, 12:49 PM
 
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Much of Wayne and Oakland county bordering Detroit would fit the bill. I wouldn’t call most of the areas “liberal” but they are “democratic.”
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Old 02-13-2021, 01:13 PM
 
2,694 posts, read 1,286,941 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by faksko View Post
My wife and I are considering a move to Detroit for jobs with better pay and benefits. We will be commuting to Royal Oak and Sterling Heights.

Our budget is $350k and we're looking for a postwar 4 br house on min 1/2 an acre. Good schools, open space, and quiet are big factors. Lower property taxes would be a huge plus as well. Lastly we'd prefer somewhere liberal or moderate, but not hardcore conservative.

Thanks!
Your neighbors aren't immediately going to be as important as your co-workers when it comes to politics and forming friendships, especially wanting a half acre. Royal Oak is going to be much more liberal than Sterling Heights, but, as others have pointed out, you'll find people of all character everywhere.
There are still some older homes in say, Commerce township that would meet your land criteria. What's your budget? That's really going to make a huge difference where you end up, wanting 4 bedrooms.
One thing I would be concerned about would be the commute. 696 is Michigan's dragway, and the come to a full stop accidents are absolutely maddening. You don't want to commute more than 40 minutes or so because 696/i-75 gridlock can leave you sitting still for HOURS. I've been stuck with no less than 3 accidents blocking my progress on that expressway system in the SAME DAY.
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