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Old 10-30-2012, 05:04 PM
 
30 posts, read 41,948 times
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So. We may be moving to Grand Rapids. I've read quite a few of the "what neighborhood should we look at/avoid" threads, so thanks for that info. From what I seem to understand, the SE is the hipster mom/young professional area and the NE is the slightly older but still able to rock the weekend professional and the NW is leaning towards the "get off my lawn" set. Not sure I've got that right - and I don't seem to see a lot of info on the SW side - so feel free to correct me if I'm way off base.
At any rate, it seems GR is very family oriented, which is great if you're in a family way, so to speak. Obviously the American Dream for most is to find a great place to settle down and raise a family.

I guess my question stems from this - we are not interested in the pitterpat of tiny feet unless they're the furry kind. We have 2 dogs and a cat and that's as much of a family as we intend to have. I think children are absolutely adorable......from a distance. I even like them well enough to have made a long and reasonably profitable living photographing them for their doting parents and I love every minute of it. As long as they go home in a reasonable amount of time.

So my question is twofold:
How much grief will we get for not procreating in a timely manner?
And what neighborhoods would be most suitable for a couple who don't want to be completely surrounded by toddlers and elementary school age children?
I've looked at houses all over and there are some charming places all over the city that fit our price range ($150ish) and it SEEMS the NE may be our best bet....but I'd love to hear from someone who lives in the city.

Also - I'm not Dutch, but my dog is. Does that count?
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Old 10-30-2012, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,746,616 times
Reputation: 3833
Quote:
Originally Posted by RitaTome View Post
So. We may be moving to Grand Rapids. I've read quite a few of the "what neighborhood should we look at/avoid" threads, so thanks for that info. From what I seem to understand, the SE is the hipster mom/young professional area and the NE is the slightly older but still able to rock the weekend professional and the NW is leaning towards the "get off my lawn" set. Not sure I've got that right - and I don't seem to see a lot of info on the SW side - so feel free to correct me if I'm way off base.
At any rate, it seems GR is very family oriented, which is great if you're in a family way, so to speak. Obviously the American Dream for most is to find a great place to settle down and raise a family.

I guess my question stems from this - we are not interested in the pitterpat of tiny feet unless they're the furry kind. We have 2 dogs and a cat and that's as much of a family as we intend to have. I think children are absolutely adorable......from a distance. I even like them well enough to have made a long and reasonably profitable living photographing them for their doting parents and I love every minute of it. As long as they go home in a reasonable amount of time.

So my question is twofold:
How much grief will we get for not procreating in a timely manner?
And what neighborhoods would be most suitable for a couple who don't want to be completely surrounded by toddlers and elementary school age children?
I've looked at houses all over and there are some charming places all over the city that fit our price range ($150ish) and it SEEMS the NE may be our best bet....but I'd love to hear from someone who lives in the city.

Also - I'm not Dutch, but my dog is. Does that count?

Cheshire Village and Riverside Park areas for homes. There may be a few toddlers, but most people move out of those areas once the kids get into kindergarten. Would you consider a condo?
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Old 10-30-2012, 05:58 PM
 
30 posts, read 41,948 times
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Ah, thanks for the tip! I will start obsessively looking for houses in those areas.
Actually a condo would be a nightmare for the other residents because our 2 dogs are horrible barkers and we both like to have a bit of dirt to dig in, so we'd want a house.
In fact, one dream would be to find some smallish acreage with a reasonable house not too far from the city and I've found a few heading towards the Sparta/Rockford direction - but the commute time worries me. It's not the actual driving time, which I understand is pretty reasonable, it's the having to learn how to drive in snow for more than a mile or two that shakes my booties. My spouse was born and raised in Chicago, so snow is no big deal for him, but I've lived my entire life in the south where snow is just a rumor.

eta: I have a long list of houses I have found through Realtor.Com and just so happens my absolute favorite one (I'd almost buy it sight unseen) is in Cheshire Village. In fact there are several listings I've saved in that area. Good to know it would be a suitable area for us! Thanks!

Last edited by RitaTome; 10-30-2012 at 06:34 PM..
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
8,235 posts, read 16,834,326 times
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Riverside close to Riverside Park would be really excellent for dog walking. And it's a pretty straight & quick shot to downtown and adjacent fun.
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Old 10-31-2012, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,746,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RitaTome View Post
Ah, thanks for the tip! I will start obsessively looking for houses in those areas.
Actually a condo would be a nightmare for the other residents because our 2 dogs are horrible barkers and we both like to have a bit of dirt to dig in, so we'd want a house.
In fact, one dream would be to find some smallish acreage with a reasonable house not too far from the city and I've found a few heading towards the Sparta/Rockford direction - but the commute time worries me. It's not the actual driving time, which I understand is pretty reasonable, it's the having to learn how to drive in snow for more than a mile or two that shakes my booties. My spouse was born and raised in Chicago, so snow is no big deal for him, but I've lived my entire life in the south where snow is just a rumor.

eta: I have a long list of houses I have found through Realtor.Com and just so happens my absolute favorite one (I'd almost buy it sight unseen) is in Cheshire Village. In fact there are several listings I've saved in that area. Good to know it would be a suitable area for us! Thanks!
You might also try the Northwest side too. I don't think it gets the respect it deserves. Once you get out past Richmond Park area or out West off of Leonard, it gets pretty wooded and hilly and you can find homes with big wooded yards, like this:

625 Maynard Ave Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 | Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS ®

Commuting into Grand Rapids from the Rockford area in the winter might be a hassle. Particularly if you get out East or North of Rockford. I wouldn't do it.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:20 PM
 
30 posts, read 41,948 times
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Quote:
Riverside close to Riverside Park would be really excellent for dog walking.
Good to know! We do walk the dogs regularly and one thing I'm really noticing is that GR has great places to walk.

Quote:
You might also try the Northwest side too. I don't think it gets the respect it deserves. Once you get out past Richmond Park area or out West off of Leonard, it gets pretty wooded and hilly and you can find homes with big wooded yards, like this:

625 Maynard Ave Northwest, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 | Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS ®
That's not a bad little house, I'll stick it on the list. Thanks!

I'm not totally discounting the NW and in fact had found a great property with 2500 sq ft with a 4 stall garage on an acre and a half for 129k - located off of Leonard on Parkhurst (I think) that I was pretty excited about, but it sold pretty quickly. I will keep looking at that area, though.


One more question. Exactly how many couches are we going to need, anyway? You midwesterners do seem to have a lot of couch rooms. Living room/family room/rec room/spare bedroom converted into a room with a couch. I only have 2 couches. I feel inadequate.
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Old 11-01-2012, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,872 posts, read 17,746,616 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RitaTome View Post
Good to know! We do walk the dogs regularly and one thing I'm really noticing is that GR has great places to walk.


That's not a bad little house, I'll stick it on the list. Thanks!

I'm not totally discounting the NW and in fact had found a great property with 2500 sq ft with a 4 stall garage on an acre and a half for 129k - located off of Leonard on Parkhurst (I think) that I was pretty excited about, but it sold pretty quickly. I will keep looking at that area, though.


One more question. Exactly how many couches are we going to need, anyway? You midwesterners do seem to have a lot of couch rooms. Living room/family room/rec room/spare bedroom converted into a room with a couch. I only have 2 couches. I feel inadequate.
Haha! It will probably depend on the house layout. We only have two couches and a love seat. You're going to need at least 5 TV's though.

Houses are going fast around here, especially with inventory being so low. It used to be that you could focus on a particular area and then look for the house you wanted that had the amenities you need. Now, it seems like you have to find the house first, even if it's not exactly in the area you want. I know people who are ready to buy in a couple of specific areas right now and they're finding nothing, going on 6 months. I've also heard of people in areas like East Grand Rapids that are starting to get postcards on their doors asking if they'd like to sell, because there is so little on the market.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:58 PM
 
30 posts, read 41,948 times
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Quote:
You're going to need at least 5 TV's though.
Oh dear! And I suppose we're going to be forced to buy one of those 90 inch LED HDTV monstrosities to put in the rec room so that we can watch Netflix movies as nature intended so that we won't notice the long winter?

I'm pretty psyched about the idea of moving, but my spouse is hedging, so we'll see. His company wants him there but they have agreed to let him try telecommuting for a while.

I'm definitely going to have more questions.......hope y'all (see what I did there with that southern thing?) won't mind.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:49 PM
 
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Fulton Heights. Many actually have more than 1 bathroom plus a dog park down the street.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:17 PM
 
30 posts, read 41,948 times
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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!
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