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Old 03-15-2012, 03:38 PM
 
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Correction--I just found that Hamiliton school district in Holland is good (ranked in the 80's & 90's)! It looks like it's between Holland & Saugatuck. However, a house search in our range there again brings up slim pickin's. *Sigh* The search goes on . . .
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:30 PM
 
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Well, while searching under Hamilton SD, I forgot I had Holland in as the city. So when I took off the city I got more results. Anything wrong with Hamilton the town? Some properties were along Rabbit River . . . nice?
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
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Saugatuck is a resort town for affluent Chicagoans, with all the good and bad that brings. It also explains the somewhat higher prices there. Some people like the extra amenities; others hate the summer crowds. It's also very LGBT-friendly, especially when you compare it to much of Ottawa County. (Mentioning that because it does come up in some folks' decision matrix.)
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogi142 View Post
Well, while searching under Hamilton SD, I forgot I had Holland in as the city. So when I took off the city I got more results. Anything wrong with Hamilton the town? Some properties were along Rabbit River . . . nice?
Hamilton is rural, mostly farmland and cornfields. It is pretty much a part of the greater Holland area. Its not what I would call charming, but it is a low crime area and a good place to raise kids. I think most people would consider it boring.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:20 PM
 
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South Haven
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Old 03-17-2012, 09:21 AM
 
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Thanks for all the info., everyone!
I'm sure we'd like S. Haven too, but it's getting too far from GR for poss. commuting. We know about Saugatuck being LGBT-friendly which is OK with us; my brother's gay, so he'd love it.
We've got plenty to explore on our visit. I hope we can narrow things down. :O
I'll update with anything worthwhile.
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Old 03-20-2012, 08:18 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
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Originally Posted by gogi142 View Post
We are a bit more interested in southern areas so that we wouldn't distance ourselves too much from poss. job opportunities in Holland or Zeeland (in addition to GR) though Grand Haven or Spring Lake sound really nice.

Holland has the best/most houses in our low price range, but the school districts are iffy, being generally ranked around 50 (out of 100) in the state. Although people on these threads have said that Holland schools are good. So we'd have to do more checking on that.

It turns out Saugatuck middle & H.S. are pretty good; the elementary is so-so. The house choices in our range are quite slim, but I found one with a cottage included! We just might have to check it out! Thanks.
What about West Ottawa Schools in the Holland area? They can't be that bad?
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:36 PM
 
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Magellan,

The W Ottawa school are slightly better, from the list I have, but still not great-- still in the 50's for the middle & high schools; lower for the elementarys except for one. I've also become a bit skittish about Holland after reading the thread about "Liberals in Holland". I don't care much about politics, but religious zealotry would be irritating. Too bad, because the Dutch cultural influence there makes it unique. We'll still visit when we're there, but we may feel more comfortable living elsewhere.

I've also realized that G. Haven & Spring Lake are no farther away from GR than Saugutuck, so they are definitely under consideration as well. I found a cute Tudor in our price range in Rockford that we may check out & a couple nice ones that are actually in GR, but in Forest Hills SD. They look to be quite close to East GR. My brother is really gunning for the house in Saugatuck, but it may need too much work for us. Well see how it all pans out! Wish us luck!
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:01 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gogi142 View Post
Magellan,

The W Ottawa school are slightly better, from the list I have, but still not great-- still in the 50's for the middle & high schools; lower for the elementarys except for one. I've also become a bit skittish about Holland after reading the thread about "Liberals in Holland". I don't care much about politics, but religious zealotry would be irritating. Too bad, because the Dutch cultural influence there makes it unique. We'll still visit when we're there, but we may feel more comfortable living elsewhere.

I've also realized that G. Haven & Spring Lake are no farther away from GR than Saugutuck, so they are definitely under consideration as well. I found a cute Tudor in our price range in Rockford that we may check out & a couple nice ones that are actually in GR, but in Forest Hills SD. They look to be quite close to East GR. My brother is really gunning for the house in Saugatuck, but it may need too much work for us. Well see how it all pans out! Wish us luck!
Good luck!
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Old 04-25-2012, 11:09 AM
 
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I though I would give an update on our impressions after the spring break visit. We loved the shops, restaurants, & atmosphere of Saugatuck & loved all the beautiful old houses in East GR. However, after crunching more #'s, our comfortable house price range has gone down, & we are priced out of both areas. :_( We also really liked Holland's look & feel, but are most likely crossing it off due to poorer public schools & possible stringent religious attitudes.

Next on our list is Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Grand Rapids township (Forest Hills SD). These are pretty even--we can't decide because each has its benefits. All have good schools (G Haven only slightly lower rankings). Forest Hills has fewer housing options for us, but we would also consider Northview SD since it's not bad. We liked the little village shopping area in Ada. I don't think anyone mentioned this. We just quickly drove by, so I didn't get a good idea of what exactly was there though. I googled for photos of it when we came home but didn't come up with much. If they're all upscale boutiques, I won't be much of a plus for us. Being near Frederick Meijer Gardens is a plus though because I would become a member & walk there all the time.

Obviously the lake is a big benefit for G Haven & Spring Lk., plus what looks like a nice farmer's market, & more housing options. Are there any public gardens in these areas to walk in, or historic housing areas with sidewalks? Trails are great, but they get a little boring after a while.

We didn't go to Lowell because we decided it was getting too far away from Holland as a potential job source, and we weren't that impressed with Rockford.

We're getting set up with a couple agents now, & may look into foreclosures, so it might come down to the house if all areas are pretty equal. If anyone has any more pros/cons about GR township, Grand Haven, or Spring Lake, we'd love to hear them! Thanks.
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