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Old 03-08-2017, 06:45 PM
 
6 posts, read 5,231 times
Reputation: 21

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My boyfriend and I are currently looking into leaving Las Vegas (been here over 20yrs) and are fishing around for local input on multiple places. We have never considered Michigan, but some family have moved there in the past year so we figured to get some info from long-standing locals. I'll throw out some details below to best get what info would help us and if this would be a possibility to consider.

Why we want to move:
Vegas has good qualities and has been relatively generous to us, but the last 5 years have been rough with bad employers, tons of work hours and no real outdoor life or time to do much but recuperate from work. We love to be outdoors and active, but the heat here and lack of greenery make being outside a no-go for us here. In fact we hate the heat! Vegas, although trying to evolve more, just doesn't have a "home" feel to it. It is a transient city that often has a "temporary" sort of vibe. It's a cheap good place to live with a lot of entertainment, but just not quite "us".

We are looking for a more outdoorsy, homey, green, less hustle & bustle kind of place with friendly neighbors and cute non-stucco homes at reasonable prices in relation to pay scale and bills. We would love a place that you can walk around and see natural beauty more often than concrete and cinder blocks (and preferably not melt!) Also not have too much traffic or long long commutes (if avoidable, aware nowhere is going to be perfect!)

Jobs:
We are early 30's, I'm a professional Graphic Designer (7yrs experience) and my boyfriend has experience in marketing, sales, R&D, and distribution over a 12 year span. We would be looking for somewhere with full-time jobs in those fields with competitive pay for the area. In Vegas I make $65K in my position (I was most recently a creative manager) so would hope not to make less than that. My boyfriend is open to positions in the fields he has experience in or something different as long as it can pay $50k+

Concerns:
what I've read so far about Michigan is beautiful scenery, but horribly cold unbearable winters. Snow is not a "no" for us, but want to know how bad it is on average (shoveling, how it affects driving, roads, etc.). We do not like heat or strong humidity, but haven't had a ton of experience with snow.

Taxes are a concern as NV has very low property taxes and no state tax. Our max price for a home would probably be $200k but less would be preferred because of the higher taxes. I'm not sure how doable that is or how groceries, gas, insurance, and pay checks are affected by the higher taxes.


If more specifics are needed to get some feedback just let me know! I'd love to know what pros and cons there are, and any other interesting insights! I will also be visiting GR this month to see it myself so I am excited to read any comments!

Thank you!!
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Old 03-08-2017, 09:50 PM
 
Location: Louisville
4,392 posts, read 4,197,046 times
Reputation: 7534
Quote:
Originally Posted by DontJuno View Post
My boyfriend and I are currently looking into leaving Las Vegas (been here over 20yrs) and are fishing around for local input on multiple places. We have never considered Michigan, but some family have moved there in the past year so we figured to get some info from long-standing locals. I'll throw out some details below to best get what info would help us and if this would be a possibility to consider.

Why we want to move:
Vegas has good qualities and has been relatively generous to us, but the last 5 years have been rough with bad employers, tons of work hours and no real outdoor life or time to do much but recuperate from work. We love to be outdoors and active, but the heat here and lack of greenery make being outside a no-go for us here. In fact we hate the heat! Vegas, although trying to evolve more, just doesn't have a "home" feel to it. It is a transient city that often has a "temporary" sort of vibe. It's a cheap good place to live with a lot of entertainment, but just not quite "us".

We are looking for a more outdoorsy, homey, green, less hustle & bustle kind of place with friendly neighbors and cute non-stucco homes at reasonable prices in relation to pay scale and bills. We would love a place that you can walk around and see natural beauty more often than concrete and cinder blocks (and preferably not melt!) Also not have too much traffic or long long commutes (if avoidable, aware nowhere is going to be perfect!)

Jobs:
We are early 30's, I'm a professional Graphic Designer (7yrs experience) and my boyfriend has experience in marketing, sales, R&D, and distribution over a 12 year span. We would be looking for somewhere with full-time jobs in those fields with competitive pay for the area. In Vegas I make $65K in my position (I was most recently a creative manager) so would hope not to make less than that. My boyfriend is open to positions in the fields he has experience in or something different as long as it can pay $50k+

Concerns:
what I've read so far about Michigan is beautiful scenery, but horribly cold unbearable winters. Snow is not a "no" for us, but want to know how bad it is on average (shoveling, how it affects driving, roads, etc.). We do not like heat or strong humidity, but haven't had a ton of experience with snow.

Taxes are a concern as NV has very low property taxes and no state tax. Our max price for a home would probably be $200k but less would be preferred because of the higher taxes. I'm not sure how doable that is or how groceries, gas, insurance, and pay checks are affected by the higher taxes.


If more specifics are needed to get some feedback just let me know! I'd love to know what pros and cons there are, and any other interesting insights! I will also be visiting GR this month to see it myself so I am excited to read any comments!

Thank you!!
So obviously the best thing you can do is actually visit Grand Rapids to get the vibe. From April through October it's pretty much fantastic in terms of the greenery and the access to awesome nature. Whether the lake shore, or the trails and hills of the north country. Michigan is pretty humid in the summer relative to other places. Being surrounded by more fresh water than any other place on earth can have that effect. You will notice the humidity. As a former Phoenician I can promise you that you have a different definition of hot than the people here can understand. It is not hot. You will notice a few weeks of uncomfortable days during the summer. The air, the greenery, the vibe of the city neighborhoods is pretty magical and more than make up for it.

Winter is not bitterly cold by global standards (It's not particularly mild don't get me wrong). On average highs are in the high 20s or low 30s during mid December - mid March. You will have some days in the 40s and 50's too. You can also have snaps in the teens and below, but they are not the norm. You basically treat it the same way you would treat a 105 degree day in Vegas just in reverse(stay indoors, go from warm house, to warm car, to warm wherever you're going). The Michigan cold season isn't as long as the desert heat season. The hard part for most people would be the cloud dome Lake Michigan creates in December and January.

From a job standpoint, unemployment in the area is under 3% and even less than that for degreed positions and skilled trades. Based on the description, your boyfriend should have no trouble finding jobs within his skill set at or above the pay range listed. I do not have a good grasp on the graphic arts pulse in Grand Rapids so I won't pretend to know specifics. With the shortage of skilled labor you should be able to find something that suits your needs, if you are good at marketing yourself.

You can find a decent house in the $150k range, not a palace, but not a dump. The housing market in the area has been pretty competitive over the last few years so it may not be as cheap as the national impression thinks. Based on your criteria you should definitely find something that suits your needs. If you get to a point where you have more specific questions about where to look in what neighborhoods, we'd be more than happy to give you answers.

I know taxes in NV are low, but it's relative to the cost of other things in the Mountain West. Generally speaking the price of real estate is cheaper here which tends to even the playing field. You likely won't notice a difference unless you gravitate toward one of the more exclusive zip codes. Michigan isn't known for it's cheap taxes, but it's not known as a standout for high ones either.

I hope this helps. If you have more pointed questions, I'll do my best.

Last edited by mjlo; 03-08-2017 at 10:00 PM..
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Mile High
325 posts, read 320,345 times
Reputation: 721
Quote:
Originally Posted by DontJuno View Post
My boyfriend and I are currently looking into leaving Las Vegas (been here over 20yrs) and are fishing around for local input on multiple places. We have never considered Michigan, but some family have moved there in the past year so we figured to get some info from long-standing locals. I'll throw out some details below to best get what info would help us and if this would be a possibility to consider.

Why we want to move:
Vegas has good qualities and has been relatively generous to us, but the last 5 years have been rough with bad employers, tons of work hours and no real outdoor life or time to do much but recuperate from work. We love to be outdoors and active, but the heat here and lack of greenery make being outside a no-go for us here. In fact we hate the heat! Vegas, although trying to evolve more, just doesn't have a "home" feel to it. It is a transient city that often has a "temporary" sort of vibe. It's a cheap good place to live with a lot of entertainment, but just not quite "us".

We are looking for a more outdoorsy, homey, green, less hustle & bustle kind of place with friendly neighbors and cute non-stucco homes at reasonable prices in relation to pay scale and bills. We would love a place that you can walk around and see natural beauty more often than concrete and cinder blocks (and preferably not melt!) Also not have too much traffic or long long commutes (if avoidable, aware nowhere is going to be perfect!)

Concerns:
what I've read so far about Michigan is beautiful scenery, but horribly cold unbearable winters. Snow is not a "no" for us, but want to know how bad it is on average (shoveling, how it affects driving, roads, etc.). We do not like heat or strong humidity, but haven't had a ton of experience with snow.

I grew up in Texas, spent my 20s in L.A., and when the 2008 downturn in the market occurred, my husband and I had to move sight unseen to Holland, MI, which is right outside Grand Rapids. The area is lovely in the summer (think mid to late May) through the fall season (early October). After that, it's snow and clouds all the way until May. For the four years I was there, I was daydreaming of deserts. I had seasonal affect disorder, and couldn't believe I wasn't able to see the sun for months on end. What you are proposing is a drastic, drastic change. Polar opposites. you'd be better off looking at places in East Texas or Louisiana.

Good luck!
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Old 03-08-2017, 10:25 PM
 
6 posts, read 5,231 times
Reputation: 21
Thank you so much for your responses!

Mjlo- I will be in Grand Rapids and Middleville next week for a sneak peek of the winter feel. I'm sure it will be a big difference from the 60-70 highs In Vegas right now, but I'm excited to see how different it is (and test out real winter clothes!). Fantastic information/advice so far, and I will definitely post more specific inquiries post-visit.

Ironlady - Texas is another state we are looking into as I am originally from there and also have family there. They are definitely different, very! My family that is in GR/Middleville now moved there from Vegas about a year ago and also said the lack of sun was a big change, but loves it there otherwise so far

Thanks again for your insights, it is very helpful!

Last edited by DontJuno; 03-08-2017 at 10:42 PM..
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,177,481 times
Reputation: 3895
Quote:
Originally Posted by DontJuno View Post
Thank you so much for your responses!

Mjlo- I will be in Grand Rapids and Middleville next week for a sneak peek of the winter feel. I'm sure it will be a big difference from the 60-70 highs In Vegas right now, but I'm excited to see how different it is (and test out real winter clothes!). Fantastic information/advice so far, and I will definitely post more specific inquiries post-visit.

Ironlady - Texas is another state we are looking into as I am originally from there and also have family there. They are definitely different, very! My family that is in GR/Middleville now moved there from Vegas about a year ago and also said the lack of sun was a big change, but loves it there otherwise so far

Thanks again for your insights, it is very helpful!
If you come next week you won't experience winter here. We haven't had snow on the ground for over a month, which is kind of unusual. I called winter "over" on my FB page about 3 weeks ago. So far I'm not wrong.

It was in the 60's and even 70 for several weeks but dropped drastically the last couple of days. Next week it will be in the 30's and sunny, probably no snow.

It's definitely a culture change on every level. You'll even feel it on your skin. The humidity here being surrounded by the largest lakes in the world is omni-present, even in the winter. Every time I go to desert areas I get rashes from dry skin. It's like my pores don't know what's going on. I've been to Vegas and out to Death Valley and while I thought Death Valley was beautiful, I couldn't wait to get back to greenery.

As far as outdoor activities though, we're probably second to Denver for things to do outside, even in the winter. Americans are a lazy and easily distracted by media bunch so most people do not partake in outdoor winter activities (mountain biking, fat biking, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hiking, etc). So some people can't handle it and move away.

The first thing I would do when you move here though is make friends with someone who owns a boat. Or buy a boat yourself! Plenty of places to trailer your boat to and put in for a day.
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Old 03-11-2017, 02:16 PM
 
Location: Holland, MI
208 posts, read 614,639 times
Reputation: 102
Snow will vary from year to year and which side of grand rapids you live on. The west side of Grand rapids will get hit with lake effect snow on a regular basis, which can be significant accumulation(1ft or more) or just a light dusting... and will increase the closer you get to the lake.

As someone who has lived in San Diego for a while and other places out west, I can tell you that in Michigan, good weather days (sunny and pleasant) will be few and far in between all winter long(November-April) so when you do get a nice day, everyone and their brother will be out and about and you will start to cherish those good weather days more and more as you live here longer. Summers here will vary from year to year as well, some years we experience many hot days(for here that is 90+) with not a lot of rain, and other years it will be more mild with a lot of stormy weather, however, you can expect the average summer temp to be in the 80's with storms a couple of times a month.

Another major difference than out west.... there are no mountains here, just very small rolling hills here and there. I don't know how big of a deal mountains are for you, but for me, I enjoy the mountain in the backdrop view that I got a lot out west.

As far as greenery and trees, they will be brown and dead for 6-7 months of the year, but when it's summer, it is very green and lush depending on how much rain falls. There will be humidity here, and far more than what you experience in Vegas but not much more than what you have experienced in Texas.

Going outdoors and being active, is in my opinion, crucial to enjoying the winters here. If you don't do much but stay in doors during the winter, you will end up depressed and want to move away.

I love it here though, the people here are what I enjoy a lot.
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Old 03-11-2017, 02:40 PM
 
8 posts, read 8,338 times
Reputation: 10
If you move here you will want or move to the apartments next to the van andel. The business district is full of homeless people.
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Old 03-13-2017, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,177,481 times
Reputation: 3895
Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
If you come next week you won't experience winter here. We haven't had snow on the ground for over a month, which is kind of unusual. I called winter "over" on my FB page about 3 weeks ago. So far I'm not wrong.

It was in the 60's and even 70 for several weeks but dropped drastically the last couple of days. Next week it will be in the 30's and sunny, probably no snow.

It's definitely a culture change on every level. You'll even feel it on your skin. The humidity here being surrounded by the largest lakes in the world is omni-present, even in the winter. Every time I go to desert areas I get rashes from dry skin. It's like my pores don't know what's going on. I've been to Vegas and out to Death Valley and while I thought Death Valley was beautiful, I couldn't wait to get back to greenery.

As far as outdoor activities though, we're probably second to Denver for things to do outside, even in the winter. Americans are a lazy and easily distracted by media bunch so most people do not partake in outdoor winter activities (mountain biking, fat biking, skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, hiking, etc). So some people can't handle it and move away.

The first thing I would do when you move here though is make friends with someone who owns a boat. Or buy a boat yourself! Plenty of places to trailer your boat to and put in for a day.
I take back what I said, winter came back today, lol.
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Old 03-14-2017, 04:00 AM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,408 posts, read 27,915,441 times
Reputation: 16564
Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
I take back what I said, winter came back today, lol.
Winter never over til the last snowfall in april
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Old 03-14-2017, 12:27 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,177,481 times
Reputation: 3895
Quote:
Originally Posted by burgler09 View Post
Winter never over til the last snowfall in april
That's not necessarily true.
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