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Old 02-01-2016, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
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IMO, one of the big selling points of GR is that you can generally find (still) affordable housing in a good school district that has jobs, shopping, parks, and most entertainment within a 15-20 minute drive except that it's 45-60 minutes to get out to the beach in Grand Haven or Holland in the summer. Definitely a far nicer getting around the area experience than much of the very sprawling and congested metro Detroit.
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Old 02-01-2016, 05:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
IMO, one of the big selling points of GR is that you can generally find (still) affordable housing in a good school district that has jobs, shopping, parks, and most entertainment within a 15-20 minute drive except that it's 45-60 minutes to get out to the beach in Grand Haven or Holland in the summer. Definitely a far nicer getting around the area experience than much of the very sprawling and congested metro Detroit.
I have to agree with this.

There are plenty of other great reasons to live in Grand Rapids but this, for me at least, is the #1 reason that GR is awesome. It's one of the last places where you can live the American dream on a modest salary.

If housing prices continue to rise, and the COL increases, I'm afraid Grand Rapids would start back peddling.

I've seen what happens to areas where the average resident is house-poor(Hampton Roads back in the mid-2000s) and it isn't pretty. Crime increases, properties are not maintained like they should be, foreclosure rates increase, title loan places open all over the place, etc. Another good example is San Diego. Very difficult place to live for the average-joe.
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Old 02-01-2016, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
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Originally Posted by usroute10 View Post
Just curious, what exactly are people who are moving from southeast Michigan to Grand Rapids escaping from in southeast Michigan?
Very high taxes, congestion, poor management, high housing prices, commute times, mediocre schools, lack of recreation, crime, bad roads, etc.. (FYI, these are things I hear).

I should add, that's what most people moving away from a large city would probably say .

Last edited by magellan; 02-02-2016 at 06:46 AM..
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Old 02-02-2016, 04:44 PM
 
1,914 posts, read 2,407,872 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
Very high taxes, congestion, poor management, high housing prices, commute times, mediocre schools, lack of recreation, crime, bad roads, etc.. (FYI, these are things I hear).

I should add, that's what most people moving away from a large city would probably say .
Very High taxes - I can understand it...for some communities like Detroit and Grosse Pointes

Congestion - I can understand it

Poor Management - I can understand it...for the city of Detroit and Wayne County only though

High Housing Prices - I can understand it

Commute times - I can definitely understand it

Mediocre Schools - There are a lot of great school districts - Grosse Pointe, Troy, Plymouth-Canton, Novi, Northville, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Chippewa Valley, and many other solid districts like Farmington and Berkley

Lack of recreation - false, there a PLETHORA of large metroparks, county parks, state parks, and state recreation areas, as well as parkways/trails like Hines Drive, Paint Creek, I-275,etc. Many of these parks have rolling hills. The Riverwalk, Belle Isle, marinas galore on Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, and Lake Erie, and many inland lakes in western and northern Oakland County. The 3rd largest Michigan state park is an hour west of downtown Detroit.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jJQNPUQE4E
Sterling State Park, 36 miles south of downtown Detroit, along Lake Erie

Crime- I can understand it...if you are coming from Detroit, Pontiac, Inkster, or a handful of inner ring suburbs like Harper Woods

Bad roads - I can understand it

Thanks for that list, it is a fair critique for the most part. Sorry for the threadjack.
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Old 02-02-2016, 05:37 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,039,687 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usroute10 View Post
Very High taxes - I can understand it...for some communities like Detroit and Grosse Pointes

Congestion - I can understand it

Poor Management - I can understand it...for the city of Detroit and Wayne County only though

High Housing Prices - I can understand it

Commute times - I can definitely understand it

Mediocre Schools - There are a lot of great school districts - Grosse Pointe, Troy, Plymouth-Canton, Novi, Northville, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, West Bloomfield, Chippewa Valley, and many other solid districts like Farmington and Berkley

Lack of recreation - false, there a PLETHORA of large metroparks, county parks, state parks, and state recreation areas, as well as parkways/trails like Hines Drive, Paint Creek, I-275,etc. Many of these parks have rolling hills. The Riverwalk, Belle Isle, marinas galore on Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River, and Lake Erie, and many inland lakes in western and northern Oakland County. The 3rd largest Michigan state park is an hour west of downtown Detroit.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jJQNPUQE4E
Sterling State Park, 36 miles south of downtown Detroit, along Lake Erie

Crime- I can understand it...if you are coming from Detroit, Pontiac, Inkster, or a handful of inner ring suburbs like Harper Woods

Bad roads - I can understand it

Thanks for that list, it is a fair critique for the most part. Sorry for the threadjack.
No threadjack at all. But actually:

Property taxes are considerably higher on average in Southeast Michigan. You have to go to South Lyon and parts of Northville to come close to the low millage rates in much of West Michigan. We pay 27 mills and live in one of the best school districts in the State (Forest Hills). That's hard to find in SE Michigan.

8 facts about property assessments and tax rates in Michigan | MLive.com

The good school districts in the Detroit area require quite a bit more household income to afford than housing here. You can get into quite a few Grand Rapids area districts that rate very highly, for quite a bit less housing cost (ie for instance you can buy a new home in Byron Center School district for mid $200's.)

The number of trails and greenways in West and Southwest Michigan way outnumbers SE Michigan. SE Michigan is not even a close second. Plus, most of WM is just a few minutes from these recreational areas. I'm not even including the lakeshore and all of the dunes and state parks.

http://www.wmtrails.org/Trail-Maps

Crime is mostly a perception issue. Hard to argue one way or the other. But Grand Rapids, the largest city in West Michigan, only had 6 murders last year, with a population of 200,000 people.

Last edited by magellan; 02-02-2016 at 07:02 PM..
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Old 02-06-2016, 10:34 PM
 
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I live in the Denver metro area. I can live almost anywhere for work and I have a lot of family in MI and PA. The thought of Grand Rapids crosses my mind. CO is great, but its isolated, the cost of living keeps rising, and the outdoor rec activities can be annoying for weekend warriors. Forget about skiing on the weekends. There are good food choices and the weather is pretty amazing. But what my house could sell for here with a 9k sq ft lot, I could buy a house on 2 acres and double the size in GR.
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Old 02-07-2016, 12:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sammy87 View Post
I live in the Denver metro area. I can live almost anywhere for work and I have a lot of family in MI and PA. The thought of Grand Rapids crosses my mind. CO is great, but its isolated, the cost of living keeps rising, and the outdoor rec activities can be annoying for weekend warriors. Forget about skiing on the weekends. There are good food choices and the weather is pretty amazing. But what my house could sell for here with a 9k sq ft lot, I could buy a house on 2 acres and double the size in GR.
Grand Rapids definitely does not have that isolated feeling. That feeling tends to come with mountain living. Grand Rapids has a ton of stuff within driving distance.

I wouldn't be so sure about twice the house. Three years ago maybe. House prices in many of the places you'd actually want to live in GR have gone up quite a bit.

I was looking at Denver myself(as well as Colorado Springs), and the prices in GR in desirable areas are comparable.
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:57 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lockdev View Post
Grand Rapids definitely does not have that isolated feeling. That feeling tends to come with mountain living. Grand Rapids has a ton of stuff within driving distance.

I wouldn't be so sure about twice the house. Three years ago maybe. House prices in many of the places you'd actually want to live in GR have gone up quite a bit.

I was looking at Denver myself(as well as Colorado Springs), and the prices in GR in desirable areas are comparable.
I dont know the nicer areas around GR, just been through it a few times. My parents have a lake house not far from Traverse City. But to put in perspective we bought a new home in a development 2.5 yrs ago for $380k. 2200 Sq FT, 3 bedrooms, unfinished basement, tiny lot. Today I could sell it for about $500k. Same model just sold for $490k and we have a view of the mountains. For $500k I could get a home over 3000 soft and with property not packed on top of every other house. Just not a good sense of privacy here. I would want to be a bit in the country around GR if we ever moved.

Our main concern would be the weather. We both grew up in Pittsburgh and the gray gloomy days get old fast. My parents say the winter at their lake house in TC is a lot sunnier though.

We have our first child on the way, and my major clients now are based around Chicago/Ohio/IL areas now. Something we need to think about over the next 2-3 years. I know GR has a younger microbrew/outdoorsy vibe which would be nice coming from CO.
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
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Originally Posted by sammy87 View Post
I dont know the nicer areas around GR, just been through it a few times. My parents have a lake house not far from Traverse City. But to put in perspective we bought a new home in a development 2.5 yrs ago for $380k. 2200 Sq FT, 3 bedrooms, unfinished basement, tiny lot. Today I could sell it for about $500k. Same model just sold for $490k and we have a view of the mountains. For $500k I could get a home over 3000 soft and with property not packed on top of every other house. Just not a good sense of privacy here. I would want to be a bit in the country around GR if we ever moved.

Our main concern would be the weather. We both grew up in Pittsburgh and the gray gloomy days get old fast. My parents say the winter at their lake house in TC is a lot sunnier though.

We have our first child on the way, and my major clients now are based around Chicago/Ohio/IL areas now. Something we need to think about over the next 2-3 years. I know GR has a younger microbrew/outdoorsy vibe which would be nice coming from CO.
Yes, those numbers are higher than what you'd be looking at here. I have family in both Denver and Colorado Springs and I'm not a fan of the developments. The Vegas suburbs are the same way, and probably a lot of Southwest, they pack the houses right on top of each other with a bunch of ugly retaining walls.

If you stay active outdoors in the winter, you don't really notice the cloudiness. Fat biking has become really popular, as well as snow shoeing, cross country skiing, downhill (nothing like Colorado but still fun and not very crowded, only a 15 minute drive from GR). Cannonsburg Ski Area also has awesome mountain biking trails that you can ride year round. I just started riding them this year on my fat bike and I can't wait to go every time I get a chance.

And it's all pretty close. I could hypothetically ride my bike to all the various trails around the Northeast side of Grand Rapids (Merrell Trails, Provin, Seidman Park, Cannonsburg, Luton, Robinettes, White Pine Trail) but not all of the roads have good shoulders to them.
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Old 02-07-2016, 08:17 AM
 
1,485 posts, read 1,066,038 times
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Originally Posted by magellan View Post
Yes, those numbers are higher than what you'd be looking at here. I have family in both Denver and Colorado Springs and I'm not a fan of the developments. The Vegas suburbs are the same way, and probably a lot of Southwest, they pack the houses right on top of each other with a bunch of ugly retaining walls.

If you stay active outdoors in the winter, you don't really notice the cloudiness. Fat biking has become really popular, as well as snow shoeing, cross country skiing, downhill (nothing like Colorado but still fun and not very crowded, only a 15 minute drive from GR). Cannonsburg Ski Area also has awesome mountain biking trails that you can ride year round. I just started riding them this year on my fat bike and I can't wait to go every time I get a chance.

And it's all pretty close. I could hypothetically ride my bike to all the various trails around the Northeast side of Grand Rapids (Merrell Trails, Provin, Seidman Park, Cannonsburg, Luton, Robinettes, White Pine Trail) but not all of the roads have good shoulders to them.
Thats good to know. I really like MTN biking. Its probably my fav outdoor activity. Skiing is great, but in CO weekend traffic is a nightmare. I only get up maybe 5-8 times a yr. Issue with MTN biking is the foothill trails that are close are packed and biking in the high country is difficult. I shouldn't be complaining, CO is great. But I see us needing a bigger house soon and theres nothing to upgrade to. Even the $800k homes have tiny lots and packed together.

Not sure what property taxes in MI are though. Im roughly $5k for my home. PA in a good school district Id be close to $10k. If we did move, id probably find a lot and build my self though.

Thanks for the help.
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