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Old 02-27-2017, 11:29 AM
 
148 posts, read 216,818 times
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Middle-aged white people want to leave it all behind and move to the D.

That's us. And we've never even been there either (of course!).

But I've read all the blogs and even a couple of the books

And we're super into being part of a community, knowing our neighbors, feeding people, art, music, culture, bike riding, sustainable living. All that.

We don't care what color our neighbors are or if there are "good" schools (no kids) or Whole Foods or whatnot around. We don't mind the grittier parts of any given city. We need space but don't want too be far away from potentially fun stuff to do.

I have an ebay business where I can make money from home. My husband has skills that he could freelance. Currently he makes just over 100k, but it's expensive for us to live here (Connecticut) at 2k per month in rent, in addition to other expenses that we wouldn't have in Detroit.

So..... I wonder sometimes what we're doing here, when we could take our 50k savings, spend, say, 30k cash to own a house in somewhere like Highland Park, fix it up as we can/want support ourselves doing ebay and freelancing, grow food, do hippie stuff, no rent, no mortgage, no commute.

The (seemingly) substantially lower cost of living would allow us to spend more time together and do all the artsy-fartsy stuff of our dreams.

And realizing that property taxes are higher, car insurance is higher, yes, all that....

But Michigan will let me grow my own medical marijuana whereas Connecticut will not. A significant savings.

Is there something we're missing? We plan to visit soon to help us decide.

Of course, everyone thinks we're crazy, but we've never talked about it with anyone actually living in Detroit.

Do you think we're crazy?
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:41 PM
 
12,486 posts, read 7,585,778 times
Reputation: 4755
Quote:
Originally Posted by FriendOfWaffles View Post
Middle-aged white people want to leave it all behind and move to the D.

That's us. And we've never even been there either (of course!).

But I've read all the blogs and even a couple of the books

And we're super into being part of a community, knowing our neighbors, feeding people, art, music, culture, bike riding, sustainable living. All that.

We don't care what color our neighbors are or if there are "good" schools (no kids) or Whole Foods or whatnot around. We don't mind the grittier parts of any given city. We need space but don't want too be far away from potentially fun stuff to do.

I have an ebay business where I can make money from home. My husband has skills that he could freelance. Currently he makes just over 100k, but it's expensive for us to live here (Connecticut) at 2k per month in rent, in addition to other expenses that we wouldn't have in Detroit.

So..... I wonder sometimes what we're doing here, when we could take our 50k savings, spend, say, 30k cash to own a house in somewhere like Highland Park, fix it up as we can/want support ourselves doing ebay and freelancing, grow food, do hippie stuff, no rent, no mortgage, no commute.

The (seemingly) substantially lower cost of living would allow us to spend more time together and do all the artsy-fartsy stuff of our dreams.

And realizing that property taxes are higher, car insurance is higher, yes, all that....

But Michigan will let me grow my own medical marijuana whereas Connecticut will not. A significant savings.

Is there something we're missing? We plan to visit soon to help us decide.

Of course, everyone thinks we're crazy, but we've never talked about it with anyone actually living in Detroit.

Do you think we're crazy?
Seems like a lot of people on the east coast are interested in Detroit. I mean......that is how Detroit will come back.....people moving in at rates faster than people moving out. Its far from that right now....but there are a lot of people on the east coast who could repopulate the city.

I think you have to be cognizant of class. If your combined income is comfortably over 6 figures, you might look like a meal if you all of a sudden pop up in a high poverty area. You should be VERY careful of where you pick.....Detroit is not as monstrous as people like to make it out (unless you are into illegal activity).....but it is far from being Mr Rodgers Neighborhood. Your drug growing might attract attention of a different kind too......and I am not talking about the police.
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Old 02-27-2017, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Metro Detroit
1,786 posts, read 1,929,903 times
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I've got some friends that live in Detroit for the exact reasons that you mention. They're white, about 30, no kids, just wanted somewhere they could live and own a home to fix up to their liking without having to worry about the costs of living that come with the upscale suburbs - and they love it. They live in the Bagley neighborhood and have had nothing but good to say about it. I've been over to visit and it feels like any other regular suburban American neighborhood, except that the demographic is quite different. I believe they bought their house for 40,000, but that was a few years ago. Many of the more stable neighborhoods in Detroit have homes selling in the 60-100k range today, but this isn't to say there aren't still deals in the 30-40k range, just that most of those homes are going to be in unstable neighborhoods.

Anyway, I guess my answer is no - you don't sound crazy at all. In fact, I'm surprised there aren't more people who take a step back and go, "I have a $2,200 mortgage payment in this fancy neighborhood with top tier schools and a Whole Foods, neither of which I ever use. Why am I doing this?" and then pack everything up and move to a stable area of an inexpensive city like Detroit, Cleveland, or Buffalo - but I suppose we care about what people think. The prestige cost and all that.

Taxes really aren't that bad. People claim "Detroit has such high taxes..." but what's meant by that is "Detroit has high millage rates." The reality is that due to low property values, a high millage rate still translates to a tax bill of about $2,000 a year on a $50,000 home - which is pretty low for a city. That same home in the suburbs would have a tax bill of $3,500-$4,000. Insurance can be high, but if your credit is good, your insurance will be nothing near the horror stories you see of people who have bad credit. I'm a suburbanite, but to insure two newer cars, my wife and I pay about $130 a month.

I don't know, it sounds like you've got high income, if I had that much and the ability to buy something fancy and classy in Detroit, I may even look at some of the historic homes in University District or the Boston-Edison neighborhood. Then again, you'd be getting away from your dream of mortgage-free hippie-stuff, but it's worth a thought. Some of the stuff you can own in Detroit for under 200k is mind-blowingly beautiful. There are areas I'd avoid - Highland Park would be one of those - and that's simply because if you move in making 6 digits and growing drugs in your basement... that's going to get some attention.
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Old 02-27-2017, 10:00 PM
 
148 posts, read 216,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Indentured Servant View Post
I think you have to be cognizant of class. If your combined income is comfortably over 6 figures, you might look like a meal if you all of a sudden pop up in a high poverty area. You should be VERY careful of where you pick.....Detroit is not as monstrous as people like to make it out (unless you are into illegal activity).....but it is far from being Mr Rodgers Neighborhood. Your drug growing might attract attention of a different kind too......and I am not talking about the police.
I understand what you're saying, but we aren't ones to flaunt wealth, and especially around people who are less fortunate. We drive beat-up old cars, we don't wear expensive jewelry or designer clothes, etc.
I don't even carry a purse
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Old 02-27-2017, 10:14 PM
 
148 posts, read 216,818 times
Reputation: 339
Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo-Aggie View Post
I suppose we care about what people think.
Not me lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo-Aggie View Post
Taxes really aren't that bad. People claim "Detroit has such high taxes..." but what's meant by that is "Detroit has high millage rates." The reality is that due to low property values, a high millage rate still translates to a tax bill of about $2,000 a year on a $50,000 home - which is pretty low for a city. That same home in the suburbs would have a tax bill of $3,500-$4,000. Insurance can be high, but if your credit is good, your insurance will be nothing near the horror stories you see of people who have bad credit. I'm a suburbanite, but to insure two newer cars, my wife and I pay about $130 a month.
Part of the reason that we want to keep our purchase price low is so the taxes will be correspondingly low.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo-Aggie View Post
I don't know, it sounds like you've got high income, if I had that much and the ability to buy something fancy and classy in Detroit, I may even look at some of the historic homes in University District or the Boston-Edison neighborhood. Then again, you'd be getting away from your dream of mortgage-free hippie-stuff, but it's worth a thought. Some of the stuff you can own in Detroit for under 200k is mind-blowingly beautiful. There are areas I'd avoid - Highland Park would be one of those - and that's simply because if you move in making 6 digits and growing drugs in your basement... that's going to get some attention.
Those beautiful homes can be tempting......but the dream is to pay cash and live debt free. The six-figure income wouldn't be coming with us to the D, so we need stay on a budget. And those historic districts - lovely for sure but they are so up-in-your-business about what you can and can't do- it's not even funny. We want to live somewhere where they don't care if we plant pumpkins in the front yard, or build a chicken coop, or paint our house purple, because if I'm to be growing drugs then I'll need a purple house
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Metro Detroit
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I actually rented a purple house in Royal Oak, which is a suburb that teeters somewhere on the fulcrum of hip-college-grad-town and uppity-suburbanites-who-stuck-around-after-marriage. We didn't grow any drugs in our basement (that we were aware of.. we mostly stayed out of the basement as it was the place where nightmares come from.. ), but nobody seemed to mind the purple house. In fact lots of houses in that neighborhood were wonky colors - yellow, purple, bright blue, deep red... I think you may be surprised at how much more laid back the Midwest is than New England.

That was a big part of what drew us here instead of the Northeast as we had originally intended (I'm a transplant too).
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:28 AM
 
125 posts, read 132,904 times
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Don’t mean to discourage you but keep in mind that while property taxes might not be much because of low property values, that there is a 2.4% city income tax rate for residents without regard to where the income is earned.
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Old 02-28-2017, 06:48 AM
 
Location: NYC & Media PA
363 posts, read 224,493 times
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Crime in the seedy areas really will be an issue though. I'd look in Bagley, Corktown and maybe Hamtramck. You'll still need to gas your cars, get groceries and such and most of the east side of Detroit and Highland Park are filled with a lot of people who dont view life as you do. If you cant afford Bagley or Corktown you may even like the outer fringes of Brightmoor near Telegraph. A lot of Urban Farmers there, the neighborhood was one of Detroits worst but much of the blight has been torn down.
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Old 02-28-2017, 07:49 AM
 
12,486 posts, read 7,585,778 times
Reputation: 4755
Quote:
Originally Posted by FriendOfWaffles View Post
I understand what you're saying, but we aren't ones to flaunt wealth, and especially around people who are less fortunate. We drive beat-up old cars, we don't wear expensive jewelry or designer clothes, etc.
I don't even carry a purse
Believe me....people can tell. You do not have to flaunt wealth....but little things that you do or do not do will make you stand out. I mean.....the optics of a middle age white couple moving into the community.....I mean....what percentage of middle age white couples are poor? It might just be assumed that you have more than the people around there.

I hope you do move to Detroit.....but like I said....you have to be very careful. Don't think you are going to fool anyone about your economic status. People are aware of gentrification....and its not usually poor people who gentrify.
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Old 02-28-2017, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
27,749 posts, read 65,567,547 times
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You need to be careful. Yes, you can still do in Detroit what you want to do, but you have to know the area.

Some areas are begin re-gentrified. That means they are sick of the purple houses, cars on the lawn, sofas on the porch, unpaired broken windows, etc. To correct this, they are engaging in somewhat strict code enforcement. It is the only way to make an awful area nice again. So, if you want to be left alone to do as you will, you do not want to be in an area that is on the upswing. They tend to be even more strict than already nice areas. They have to enforce evenly, so your purple house cannot be tolerated any mroe than the junk cars on the front lawn - if a purple house is not allowed. There are many places where the color of your house is not a concern, but you will have to maintain it and follow other rules. It is my understanding you want a place where you will be left alone to do as you please. Such areas exist, but many of them are not in places where you would live very long.

On the other hand, you do not want to be in an area where you need to surround your property with razor wire and buy six dobermans trained to kill.

It may be tough to find what you are looking for.

Del Ray might be such a place. It is basically empty. You do need security though. Del Rey is going to change dramatically with the construction of the Gordie Howe Bridge. No one can reasonably predict what it will be like two years after the bridge is completed.

Some place like Corktown, while safer and more in the fun zone is not going to have the live and let live attitude I think you are looking for. There are trying to attract more re-gentrification to the area, purple houses and eclectic lawn sculptures made of car parts, are not the kind of thing they want there.

Maybe you could buy those geodesic dome houses/buildings just outside of Corktown. It does not seem likely anyone will care what you do there, at least not for a while. Perhaps there is something available in the Heidelberg Project area, not sure.

Realistically, it sounds like for what you want, you might be better off in a rural area.

As for growing pot, I think you will need a license and inspections,etc. You will also have to be careful about not letting it be known and protecting your place form theft. That is a huge attraction for the criminal element.
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