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Old 11-03-2012, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,870 posts, read 17,739,660 times
Reputation: 3828

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RitaTome View Post
Isn't Fulton Heights pretty kid-centric?
It's not a deal breaker to be in a kid-centric area, but we'd probably be the "grumpy" neighbors.

Ok, here are a few more questions, if you don't mind taking a swing at them:

1. Property taxes are higher than where we are right now ($1500 year but with local option sales tax credit and school tax credit the total was reduced to $575), but I'm getting the sense that heating/cooling costs might be lower - which would make up the difference a little, if true.
I realize an older house would be more expensive to heat/cool, but it's gotta be better than what we're seeing in our current location. We have a very, very greedy power company and we have a very, very hot climate and our summers last for half the year. The last 5 months our electric and gas bill has been pushing $300 per month and usually in our very mild winter the bill is still $150 or so.
In fact, I just visited SCE&Greed and between Jan. 2012 - Oct. 2012 we have paid them the grand total of $2035.23, which averages a little over $200 per month. This is for a 1940s 1200sq ft brick house with admittedly poor insulation.
So, what are you guys seeing as an average heating/cooling expense?

2. Homeowner's insurance - how expensive on average?

3. Water/sewer/trash pick-up rates? Ours runs around $50 per month - unless we have a dry summer and I want to keep the trees and shrubs alive, then it tacks on another $30 - but those prices do include all 3 things plus curb pick up for leaf removal/tree limb removal or whatever else we need to get rid of - including household items like worn out couches (I KNEW I should have saved a few of those).
Is there an additional fee for snow plows? We don't have those here.

4. Toll roads? We don't have those. I know Chicago does.....what about GR?

5. Anything else anyone of you can think of that could be an additional expense we need to consider.


Thanks!
Answered in reverse order:

4) No toll roads. The roads are paid for by a variety of other taxes.

3) Water/sewer: if you have UG sprinkling, obviously high in the May - Sept period. Pretty low otherwise, particularly if you don't have a house full of kids. Trash: that's included if you live in the city of GR I believe. We're in a township and have trash service of $15/month for trash and recycling (we get an association discount). I think they'll do special yard waste pickup for $7. Only charge for snow removal is if you hire a service to clear your driveway, then it could be around $150/season (that's what we paid two years ago).

2) Homeowners insurance: good question. I think ours is about $400 or so. Michigan rarely (knock on wood) gets hit by anything catastrophic, so there's not a lot of big premium areas that I'm aware of. Maybe if you live in the very low lying flood plain areas along the Grand River?? Those people shouldn't be living there anyway.

1) Property taxes will vary depending on the area you settle in. It's based on mills and assessed value (about half your market value). Mills are different all over, depending on city vs township, what school district. They will be more than what you're paying now for sure.

Utility bills will also vary a lot. Newer homes with the latest energy ratings can be as low as $70/month for gas and electric (averaged out). Most homes are gas heated so gas will be more in Nov - Apr, electric higher in May - Sept for A/C if you have it. Big old homes can be $300 - $500/month. If I were buying an older home, I'd have on my checklist ) new(er) windows and exterior doors ) new(er) furnace ) new(er) insulation in the attic.
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:05 AM
 
30 posts, read 41,919 times
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Incredibly helpful, thank you very much.
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Old 11-02-2014, 12:05 PM
 
30 posts, read 41,919 times
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Resurrecting this thread because after 2 years of telecommuting from miserably hot South Carolina we are finally biting the bullet and moving to snowy GR.

The plan is to put our house on the market in January, sell it incredibly fast and be in our cozy GR home in time for my spouse's relocation start date of April 6th. I can hear the laughter from above already.

Newer set of questions since you were all so helpful 2 years ago (can't really believe we've been playing with this for 2 years):

Any recommendations for a real estate agent?
What about mortgage lenders? Anyone have experience with Treadstone or Lake Michigan Credit Union?

Any major changes afoot in the neighborhoods? I'm still mostly looking at the NW to Walker and the NE to Ada or Lowell areas.
I keep seeing some pretty awesome looking homes in the SE area (love the older 4 square and craftsman bungalow style houses!) and downtown, but I get the sense those are still pretty hit or miss as far as crime?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as this whole thing sinks in.....
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Old 11-02-2014, 03:55 PM
 
Location: between three Great Lakes.
1,947 posts, read 2,125,228 times
Reputation: 6782
RitaTome, I had to laugh at your phrase "hipster mom." An oxymoron, heh.
Eastown resident here. Husband and I are childfree as well. Eastown suits us to a "T"! Nobody gives us grief about anything. I even *gasp* retained my original name after marriage, and only suburbanites question that choice.
Please do consider Eastown or East Hills. Both neighborhoods are ultra-walkable, dog owners abound, and there's a nice mix of people like my husband and I (in our 60s), students, old hippies, grumpy old farts and hipsters, in no particular order. You will find your friends here.
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:16 PM
 
30 posts, read 41,919 times
Reputation: 56
Thanks for responding!!
I keep hearing Eastown is an eclectic mix of people which appeals to me a great deal. I'm an eclectic mix of people all by myself.

Problem is I can't seem to figure out exactly where it is!! Mind pointing me in the direction I would need to look?
And we are looking to buy, not rent, so do you think we could find something fabulous for around $120-150k?
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:19 PM
 
Location: between three Great Lakes.
1,947 posts, read 2,125,228 times
Reputation: 6782
Your wish is my command:
http://www.cridata.org/image/profile...town_800px.jpg

Oh, and as far as price, that's a very comfortable parameter you've set up. 150 K will get you a nice, small-esque Craftsman-ish wood house. They absolutely abound here in Eastown.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:34 PM
 
30 posts, read 41,919 times
Reputation: 56
Awesome! I suspected it was around that area but just wasn't sure.
So....stay north of Wealthy and east of Division? I seem to recall that was sort of the guideline for avoiding the more crime prone areas downtown? Or is that advice outdated?
I appreciate the help. It's hard to learn a city from way across the country and I'm not even sure I'll be able to work in a visit before we have to move.

Last edited by RitaTome; 11-02-2014 at 07:50 PM..
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Old 11-03-2014, 06:05 AM
 
Location: between three Great Lakes.
1,947 posts, read 2,125,228 times
Reputation: 6782
"North of Wealthy" mmm, not so much anymore I don't think, although you may find better housing stock north of Wealthy. "East of Division", yes, still.

This is an excellent website to explore. Under the Places tab, you can see a variety of Grand Rapids neighborhoods; click on one to get a virtual feel for the place.
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Old 11-03-2014, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,870 posts, read 17,739,660 times
Reputation: 3828
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitaTome View Post
Awesome! I suspected it was around that area but just wasn't sure.
So....stay north of Wealthy and east of Division? I seem to recall that was sort of the guideline for avoiding the more crime prone areas downtown? Or is that advice outdated?
I appreciate the help. It's hard to learn a city from way across the country and I'm not even sure I'll be able to work in a visit before we have to move.
I sent you a DM RitaTome. I think you could pull off a January - April transition.
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Old 11-04-2014, 04:20 PM
 
30 posts, read 41,919 times
Reputation: 56
So, how is Kentwood? There seem to be quite a few nicer ranch type houses available in that area. Are there areas to avoid?
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