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Old 05-18-2011, 04:40 PM
 
2 posts, read 11,718 times
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We are relocating from Ohio after my husband accepted a job in Detroit. Because of our little one's medical issues, we'd like to be somewhat close to Ann Arbor's children's hospital, too. We're looking for an area in between the two cities. As most families, we'd like a great school district and an area where the house values have stabilized somewhat.

So far we're considering Plymouth, Canton, Novi & Northville. Any thoughts or red flags on those areas? We might even consider the Eastern edge of AA.

We have a teen who will be a junior in high school next year and our little one will be entering kindergarten. I know drugs are an issue in practically every school district, but are some of these areas worse than others?

I appreciate any information you can supply.
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Old 05-18-2011, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Canton, MI
490 posts, read 791,141 times
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My opinion is any of those towns fit your criteria. Plymouth and most of Canton share a school district. My kids are in that system. We moved here from the East Coast last year and my kids had to catch up in certain subjects, especially math. Feel free to send me a private message if you want to know more about Plymouyh Canton schools.
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Old 05-19-2011, 12:25 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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Northville is the neatest town you are consideraing and also has the best schools. It is also the most expensive. Plymouth is a really neat little city and has excellent schools. Novi and Canton are suburbs (McMansion subdivisions and malls/strip malls.) They have more traffic and are less quaint (in fact not quaint at all). Canton has great schools if you are in the Plymouth Canton district. The other districts in Canton are not so good. Novi has excellent schools. It is centrally located. The downsides to Novi are traffic and blandness. You really cannot go wrong with any of these towns (unless you get outside the Plymouth Canton schools in Canton).

Livonia while not quite as nice as the other towns you are considering and not as good of schools, still has pretty good scools and is reaonably nice and more inbetween Detroit and Ann Arbor. North LIvinoa is nicer than south and Franklin High school is not so good as the other high school.

In either Northville or Plymouth, if you are not going to live within walking distance of downtown, then you may as well go live in a subdivision where it is cheaper, unless you just want to be in Northville schools (incidentally, Plymouth Township is a bit cheaper I think).
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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We recently relocated to Michigan after searching the area west of I-275 from Ann Arbor to Novi for houses in areas with great public schools, similar to you. A side note, while searching I found Coldjensens' comments (from older questions on forum) helpful. I just joined the forum to give my 2-cents worth. I can't give you specific comments on subs because I don't know what kind of home you can afford, and whether you can afford to buy something older and have cash to fix it up. Plus, I'm new to the area. Hopefully you have a good real estate agent (we did, thankfully).

You will need luck to find a bargain. Most of the great "bargain" homes out there that we saw needed renovation/heavy maintanence, while the foreclosed / short sale "bargain" homes were often empty (as in, no appliances, carpets, etc... everything GONE). New build in the "nicer" school districts is hard to find unless you have a lot of cash (and time to wait) for the big new homes, or luck (there are nice new condos, for example, but there are some strange fannie mae issue with condos if you are going through a bank ...).

If you want a "real" back yard (for your youngest?), possibly with a fence, you may need to look in older subs/neighborhoods, many of which don't appear to be stable economically, or just seem to be aging. You can and should consider taking a risk on aging subs in Plymouth, Northville and Novi since these places in general are stable economically (although see below on getting school district maps). There are great homes in Plymouth twp with yards in a little older but stable subs, but here you will need luck because there aren't (at least during 2010) as many on the market. In Northville, a decent back yard will probably cost you a lot of money, but again you could have luck on your side. You will have better luck in Novi for available homes with back yards. Of course your kid will end up never using it....

I also had a child that was starting kindergarten. I received advice from someone I spoke to in one of the school districts. Print out copies of all the school boundaries from all the districts you MAY consider (all are on the web). The areas you are looking at have strange and unexpected school district boundaries for all the different levels. While all districts are good, you don't want to get any hard shocks after you signed a puchase agreement. Online real estate may be advertised as being in "Northville" but actually may be zoned for other school districts e.g., South Lyon, Plymouth-Canton, Novi, Livonia, Farmington Hills.... Have your little maps ready to check (some maps are hard to read; all listed above are good districts, some better and less "patchy" than others). South Lyon schools recently changed to "choice", see their website, if that interests you (the district rates well). The highschools in South Lyon may be too far north however. Check with your high schooler as you which HS s/he would prefer, if you want a place to start. The HS's in Plymouth-Canton (a "campus"? of 3 HS's), Northville and Novi are all different and all competitive. The large mall in Novi attracts kids, potential teen employment.
good luck.
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Old 07-01-2011, 10:22 AM
 
2 posts, read 11,718 times
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Thank you very much for your detailed replies. Very helpful in our long search. I'll definitely look for the district maps so we're clear on school choices. I'm amazed by the size of all the schools in the area. Huge graduation numbers.

Where did you end up, Greenfort? I'm going to take a closer look at Novi as we had been concentrating our search in Plymouth and Northville.
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Old 07-01-2011, 02:21 PM
 
491 posts, read 1,065,553 times
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Plymouth and Northville. They both have wonderful downtowns and good schools. Northville is a little more upper class. Not that Plymouth isn't, it's just that Plymouth kind of has it all, from working class to mega millionaires, while Northville is all pretty much very upper middle class to rich, but still in that Victorian, understated, west-side way.

Plymouth has a much better downtown these days. Northville's downtown hasn't really recovered from the recesssion, lots of empty storefronts and kind of junky stores, though it has some beautiful parks, restaurants, etc.

Northville, to me, is like a little resort community without a lake. Unlike Plymouth it's more or less isolated. It feels more like a small town. And probably has better schools.

Plymouth has the Victorian thing, too, but because it is surrounded by ginormous suburbs like Canton and Plymouth Twp, feels more like a suburb.

A big thing to think about is the high school: PARC, if their still calling it that, probably has more than FIVE THOUSAND students these days. It is truly a unique high school experience. Northville has a traditional high school.

However, like I said, as much as I love Northville, if I had kids, I would probably live in Plymouth. The downtown is just that much more vibrant and it is more connected to the rest of metro Detroit. Northville is absolutely lovely but there really is almost nothing, and I mean nothing, to do there.
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