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Old 04-25-2017, 02:48 PM
 
21 posts, read 14,727 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello all,

I'm in the process of getting close to saving up enough money to become a first time homebuyer. It's definitely an overwhelming process, but one that I am ready to go through.

The only problem is I don't know what area would be best for to me look in, since the phrase "location, location, location" is constantly being blared into my head.

I'm trying to keep my budget under $160-$170k, and am trying to live not too far away from Richmond (where my SO works) and Dearborn (where I work). This is going to be a starter home, so schools aren't too important right now, but would affect potential resale value down the road.

I'm curious what everyone thinks about my situation.
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Old 04-25-2017, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
27,759 posts, read 65,597,364 times
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It depends on what you are comfortable with. If you get a run down house and know how to fix it up, you can get a better deal (more s.f. or land for the moeny, or a better location). If you want a popular location, you will need to go with a condo and those can be hard to sell if the market falls.

A lot depends on your personal preferences. If it were me, I would look in Romeo, Mt Clemens and St. Clair shores. There are probably some others near Richmond and not to terribly far form Dearborn. Hamtrammck maybe but that is a long drive for your wife. Personally I wold go for the shorter drive for my wife and the longer drive for me. I am wired to put my wife's best interest above mine.

Or, if you like to gamble, pick where you think the next up and coming part of Detroit will be.

I would not even consider new. Not for a starter home. You pay a premium for new, and the next day it is the same value as any other used home. You do not really lose money in this market, but you pay more, so you are starting behind.
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Old 04-25-2017, 04:13 PM
 
979 posts, read 1,116,827 times
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Based on that split of jobs in completely opposite directions you are likely wanting to be looking in somewhere like St. Clair Shores, Harrison Township area. I would strongly look at both the realistic longevity of both of your job situations and your relationships to consider where to buy a house and if there are any potential changes coming up in the near-term.

One thing to consider is that her commute to Richmond from southern Macomb County is a reverse commute and almost rush-hour traffic free. Your commute to Dearborn is with traffic and depending on the route I-94 gets significantly backed-up through downtown during peak rush hour. You need to look at commute times not absolute distances.

St. Clair Shores seems to always be a place that is in demand and a good investment on that side of town. Not sure exactly what you can get for your money there but it should get you into some type of a starter home that you could stay in for a while.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:04 AM
 
2,173 posts, read 2,817,432 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DTWflyer View Post
One thing to consider is that her commute to Richmond from southern Macomb County is a reverse commute and almost rush-hour traffic free. Your commute to Dearborn is with traffic and depending on the route I-94 gets significantly backed-up through downtown during peak rush hour. You need to look at commute times not absolute distances.
This. 100%. I commute from Novi to Dearborn, and know people who have the exact same reverse commute. Exact same distances, but their commutes are 15 minutes shorter each way.
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Old 04-26-2017, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Ann Arbor MI
2,105 posts, read 1,349,813 times
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I agree a reverse commute is a wonderful thing when you can arrange one.
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Old 04-29-2017, 06:31 AM
 
169 posts, read 131,453 times
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If it were me I wouldn't buy a starter home. I'd rent until I was more established and continue to save for a down payment for a "forever home". If you're basing your home buying decisions on a person who you're not married to, there's a good chance you may regret the decision. I did exactly what you're contemplating in 2005. Bought the house for $165K because it was drilled into my head that "Real estate is always a good investment!" Ended up selling the house in 2016 for $130K. $35K less than what I bought it for 11 years prior. If I could turn back time, I would've just rented until I was more established. Do you plan on marrying someday? If so, this "starter home" may be a ball and chain.

I know this isn't the answer you asked for, but please consider it.
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Old 04-29-2017, 08:27 AM
 
Location: Metro Detroit
1,786 posts, read 1,932,106 times
Reputation: 3554
+1 to St Clair Shores, also parts of Northern Warren are pretty nice and in that price range. The schools aren't very good, but if that's not your concern... however, one thing to consider may be that an area with good schools will have more appreciation in a good economy and less depreciation in a bad one. Good schools are always a hot commodity, even if the market itself becomes less hot.

When considering a commute though, Warren to Southfield is pretty bad every morning on 696, while the other direction is not. Have you considered Madison Heights or Hazel Park? Both decent towns with lots of inexpensive homes in safe neighborhoods.
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Old 04-29-2017, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Bloomfield Twp.
57 posts, read 126,217 times
Reputation: 48
I read your post and immediately thought St. Clair Shores fits exactly what you're describing perfectly. I see I'm the third person to mention that. I'd start there. The whole city provides quick access to 94. In your budget you can get a nice brick starter in Lakeview (middle SCS). Which is a perfect starter home.
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Old 05-03-2017, 07:36 PM
 
21 posts, read 14,727 times
Reputation: 15
Quick update for everyone. I'm looking at potentially Sterling Heights area now. Not as close to I-94, but seems a bit nicer overall than Saint Clair Shores and Warren.
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Old 05-03-2017, 09:29 PM
 
23 posts, read 14,517 times
Reputation: 46
From my experience, "location, location, location" basically translates into "schools, schools, schools". Even if you don't think schools are important now, they will be later. Whether it's for resale value or where you want to send your kids to school, it's ultimately probably going to matter.
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