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Old 02-20-2017, 01:18 PM
9 posts, read 5,676 times
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I currently work in Troy & live in an apartment.
Early next year i'll be looking for a house in the $150-200k range, which won't really get you much in Troy.
I'm trying to figure out where to live where I can get the best value for my money & also live in a reasonably safe area.
I don't plan on having kids, so not too concerned about the schools.

I would probably want my commute to be no more than 25-30 minutes on a normal day.
A few that come to mind are Sterling Heights, Shelby Township, also more recently I've been growing fond of Waterford.
Royal Oak looks too expensive for the value.

Any recommendations?
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:03 PM
Location: Metro Detroit
1,786 posts, read 1,932,106 times
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Clawson. It's similarish to Royal Oak, but less expensive, less trendy, and a bit more socially conservative. Also a good investment right now. Other nearby towns like Madison Heights and Ferndale, may turn up nice things in the 150-200 range. There are a handful of older 2 BR homes in Berkley, Troy and even Royal Oak at that point, but in my opinion 2 bedroom is less desirable.

Shelby TWP has been described to me as a great place for moderate income people who care a lot about the size of their house. I believe that to be an accurate description. Sterling Heights is a good, stable city, but very much the 1960s/1970s strip mall, planned sprawl development. Today it feels dated. I don't know much about Waterford, too far from where I work, but when we bought a car out there it seemed nice enough. I don't know if you've considered Pontiac at all, but that's a town seeing a bit of gentrification at its core; could be a great investment, but there are definitely still issues in Pontiac.. Also, Auburn Hills isn't bad; a slightly less dated version of Sterling Heights.
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Old 02-20-2017, 03:07 PM
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Clawson or Madison Heights for more affordable inner-ring suburb areas

Sterling Heights, parts of southeastern Rochester Hills, or southwestern Shelby Twp may be an options in some of the older areas.

North Warren is an option.

By and large, properties in Macomb County (east of Dequindre) tend to get more house for your money/lower equivalent property values than in Oakland County.

Like you said, if you don't care so much or need to schools, don't necessarily pay the premium to do so.

Depending on location in Troy, Waterford could be a bit of a commute, especially if on the southern side of the city. I-75 is going through a multi-year reconstruction project through Troy that will make it challenging during peak rush hour periods is you are going to need to rely on using this highway to get to work.
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Old 02-20-2017, 08:43 PM
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Thanks to both of you. I definitely looked at Clawson but I never really see too many houses listed for sale there.
Same with Rochester Hills & Auburn Hills.
People have told me to stay away from Madison Heights/Ferndale.
It looks like I can get great value in Pontiac but the crime data looks really bad.
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Old 02-21-2017, 06:04 AM
Location: Detroit Suburbs , MI
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Pontiac taxes your income also, Like Detroit.
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:00 AM
Location: Metro Detroit
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The only major drawback I can think of about Madison Heights and Ferndale are their schools. Neither have very good schools, but if you don't plan on having kids I don't see why this would be a major concern. Madison Heights has a bit of an immigrant population, but I really like this. It makes for lots of awesome restaurants along Dequindre. Also traffic along John R is pretty bad most days, but as far as places where you can find good condition homes in the 150k range, near Troy, I can't think of any places better than Madison Heights, Clawson, and Ferndale. As for why you may hear bad things about Ferndale - it has a hipster vibe, it's rather liberal, and it tends to have a more transient/renter population; however, none of those things are necessarily bad, but some people may view them as undesirable. Also Ferndale borders Detroit, at 8 Mile, but it should be noted that it borders a stable and relatively safe part of Detroit (Bagley/Green Acres) and is very close to a couple rather nice parts of Detroit (Palmer Woods/University District).

As for the lack of inventory in Clawson, Auburn Hills and Rochester Hills - that's because it's February and those are desirable places. Things will change in April/May, but you can chalk up the current lack of inventory as a promising thing for those areas, but I wouldn't expect to find much Sub-200 in Rochester Hills. The places with a decent inventory still sitting around in February are generally that way because they're not on the top of people's lists of where-to-live. It sounds like you're not looking to buy for at least a few months, so keep an eye on the inventory in Clawson. If something awesome pops up, move fast, because it probably won't sit around long.
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Old 02-21-2017, 07:27 AM
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Okay thanks, if I can find a nice house in a good neighborhood of Madison Heights then I would probably be interested.
Clawson I will definitely keep an eye on.
I'm actually about a year away from buying a house, so very early stages of just looking to get an idea right now.
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Old 02-21-2017, 08:41 AM
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If you are a year away, use this year to observe the market, visit a few homes, and do your homework.
Homes in the 150-200k range are in a very popular price range and if not a total fixer tend to turn over pretty quickly.

Pay attention what hits the market in March-August to get an idea of whats out there. Many of the homes in this category that go up for sale tend to be "starter homes" for younger couples that are looking to trade-up to bigger homes and/or singles/seniors moving on to other phases of their life. A lot of the trade-ups hit the market in spring/summer.

You can do better than Pontiac, I would never go on a message board and recommend Pontiac. People need to do homework on their own to see if it fits their profile since its in the bottom quadrant of desirable places to live in Metro Detroit, more of an acquired taste if you will.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:43 AM
Location: Metro Detroit
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Agreed about Pontiac. When I throw out Pontiac, or stable parts of Flint and Detroit as viable places to live, I should put a huge asterisk by it. These places are for people who understand what they're getting into, which is a really cheap home with great investment potential (..at a risk) that is in a relatively undesirable city that has seen a pretty rough go of things for the last 20-30 years, but is currently seeing good things - good things that some people may want to be part of.

If one is hesitant about Ferndale being too rough... do not even consider Pontiac. - When I was 23 and single, had I worked in Troy I wouldn't have mind buying a nice pad in a formerly-upscale part of Pontiac, but that's certainly not for everyone, and I totally get that. There are major drawbacks to it - the only real pro being the $70,000 livable 2000 square foo homes, in a city - that's pretty impressive. You can't get that in 99% of the country.
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Old 02-21-2017, 01:45 PM
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Also, it wouldn't hurt to talk to a realtor.

A lot of times houses in the price range don't stay on the market very long.

They'll have a better idea of which neighborhoods would be good to look at and which ones to stay away from.

Depending on the area, it's not unusual for houses to have offers on them w/in a few days after listing.

It's really good that you're able to take the time to research the market.

A lot of the cheap housing around Troy was snapped up in 2008 after the market busted.

It's really a seller's market if you have a move in ready house these days.

Also, Madison Heights and Ferndale aren't that bad.
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