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Old 03-29-2017, 10:02 AM
 
8 posts, read 11,027 times
Reputation: 25

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My wife and I are planning on moving to western MI in the next year or two, and we'd like to hear some thoughts about some of the central Lake MI towns.

I work remotely, but want to be in commuting proximity to Grand Rapids in case I need access to that job market in the future (I work in IT). At this point my options look like Holland, Grand Haven, and Muskegon. My wife and I are in our early 30's, with our first child on the way. We're looking for a condo or small house for around $150k. We tend to keep to ourselves in the evenings, but having access to a small nightlife with restaurants and bars would be a big plus (extra points for micro breweries). We also want relatively easy access to lake MI and mooring options for our small boat.

A few questions that I have about these towns:

What are the housing markets like? Do they favor buyers or sellers?
Which town is the "youngest?" We'd like to live in a place with other young families.
How is the commute to GR?
Which town has the best mooring options?
What are they like in the winter? Are these all tourist towns where 2/3rds of the population disappears after September?
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Old 03-29-2017, 12:52 PM
 
Location: Louisville
4,383 posts, read 4,169,402 times
Reputation: 7513
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghaleon View Post
My wife and I are planning on moving to western MI in the next year or two, and we'd like to hear some thoughts about some of the central Lake MI towns.

I work remotely, but want to be in commuting proximity to Grand Rapids in case I need access to that job market in the future (I work in IT). At this point my options look like Holland, Grand Haven, and Muskegon. My wife and I are in our early 30's, with our first child on the way. We're looking for a condo or small house for around $150k. We tend to keep to ourselves in the evenings, but having access to a small nightlife with restaurants and bars would be a big plus (extra points for micro breweries). We also want relatively easy access to lake MI and mooring options for our small boat.

A few questions that I have about these towns:
Quote:
What are the housing markets like? Do they favor buyers or sellers?

It's definitely a sellers market, real estate in West Michigan area is quite competitive. Muskegon area may be the cheapest in housing terms, however it's the least desirable.


Quote:
Which town is the "youngest?" We'd like to live in a place with other young families.

Holland may be the youngest it's hard to say. As a "small town" there are about 100,000 people in it's immediate urban area.


Grand Haven may be the most trendy, it might be a good mix between the other 2. Decent family community. I work with several professionals in your age range from G. Haven. It's housing market may be the most competitive. There are still about 50,000 people in the urbanized area that make it up. Don't be fooled it's small town city pop numbers.


Muskegon is more of a post Michigan industrial city by it's look and feel. It comes with some of the problems seen in similar cities. About 150,000 People make up the immediately urbanized portion of Muskegon. I don't know a whole lot about what Muskegon offers. I do know it's on the up and there are noticeable efforts to reinvigorate the city.


Magellan tends to be better versed in answering these questions.


Quote:
How is the commute to GR?

Depending on what part of Holland 25-40 minutes
Grand Haven is the most isolated because there isn't a direct freeway link, it's about 45 minutes from downtown to downtown.
Muskegon about 40 minutes solid. I-96 connects the US-31 corridor pretty solidly.


Quote:
Which town has the best mooring options?

Grand Haven - However Grand Haven tends to attract the more elite clientele so it may be the most expensive. The Muskegon and Grand Haven areas blend into each other so this may not matter as much.


Quote:
What are they like in the winter? Are these all tourist towns where 2/3rds of the population disappears after September?

Holland and Muskegon are fully functioning manufacturing centers with bustling retail corridors year round. Grand Haven is more touristy than Holland, but still doesn't turn into a ghost town during winter due to it's population base. The only difference is that it takes 20 minutes to drive through town during winter instead of 45. The local economy is supported by several midsized tier 1 and 2 auto manufacturers that are hidden a couple miles east of the lake shore. Muskegon is the least touristy of the 3, you're not likely to notice a difference in activity between the seasons. Perhaps less through traffic on the freeways.
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Old 03-30-2017, 12:22 PM
 
8 posts, read 11,027 times
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Wow, thank you for the detailed response. Looks like my wife and I need to plan a weekend trip to Holland and GH.

And since you're so familiar with the area, I've got to ask: If you had a budget of $150k and had to buy a home near Lake MI in commuting distance of GR in the next two years, where and when would you aim for?
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Old 03-30-2017, 05:27 PM
 
Location: Louisville
4,383 posts, read 4,169,402 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghaleon View Post
Wow, thank you for the detailed response. Looks like my wife and I need to plan a weekend trip to Holland and GH.

And since you're so familiar with the area, I've got to ask: If you had a budget of $150k and had to buy a home near Lake MI in commuting distance of GR in the next two years, where and when would you aim for?
Well in fairness I'm not sure how close 150k can get you to the lake. If you go a few miles inland you start getting to that price range. Really that's going to be the low end. That said you should still be able to find something if you compromise with yourself. A few of the areas I'd consider:

Grand Haven City
Grand Haven Twp.
Robinson Twp.
Spring Lake Twp.
Ferrysburg
West Olive
Crockery Twp. (More rural but bordering the others)

It may even be worth looking at places like Fruitport or Norton Shores. Technically they are in Muskegon County but keep in mind that the Muskegon and Grand Haven areas blend into each other. These are quality suburbs and may have more options in the price range you're looking for. In any case you can be to the water in about 10 mins max from any of them.

A quick zillow search can give you an idea. The Holland area is a little more complex and there are some questionable neighborhoods, but nothing i'd classify as scary. Look at

Holland City
Holland Twp
Laketon twp.
Park Twp.
Zeeland City
Zeeland township
Port Sheldon Twp.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-17-2017, 10:57 AM
 
56 posts, read 246,473 times
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I would recommend Spring Lake, North Muskegon, the area surrounding North Muskegon that makes up the Reeths Puffer School district, Norton Shores and Grand Haven. They all have good schools, are close to Lake MI and have mooring options.

Grand Haven has a nice sized downtown, Spring Lake has a small downtown and North Muskegon and Norton Shores have no downtowns of their own. Muskegon's downtown is nice (and very close to North Muskegon and Norton Shores) but unless there's an event going on, there aren't generally a lot of people walking around.

As far as housing, Grand Haven and Spring Lake are the most expensive.

There's a mall (The Lakes Mall) and shopping area that services all of these areas located in Norton Shores just off of 31. It's about 15-20 minutes from North Muskegon/surrounding area, 10-15 minutes from Grand Haven depending on how far you live south into Grand Haven, 5-10 minutes from Norton Shores, and about 10 minutes from Spring Lake.

Grand Haven has a huge beach area on Lake MI at their state park, Spring Lake has a swimming beach on Spring Lake and is a short drive to either Grand Haven's beach or to North Beach Park on Lake MI in Ferrysburg which is a much smaller beach. Norton Shores has the P.J. Hoffmaster State Park beach on Lake MI and North Muskegon has a swimming beach on Bear Lake and is a short drive from the Muskegon State Park beach on Lake MI. There's also the Pere Marquette Beach on Lake MI in Muskegon.

Grand Haven has the largest High School with almost 2000 students. North Muskegon has the smallest with around 300. Spring Lake HS has about 850. I'm not sure about the others but I know they're larger than North Muskegon and smaller than Grand Haven. I know you don't have kids even close to HS age but if you plan on living in the area for a long time, eventually you will.
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Old 04-25-2017, 06:32 PM
 
3 posts, read 4,686 times
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Speaking as a special education teacher with 25 years of experience, I think the best bet for growth potential would be with Hudsonville Public Schools and probably second would be Rockford. I would add Zeeland Public to your list, too. But I would seriously just send applications to every district in the area because there are good jobs everywhere and the drive really isn't bad. Also, if the coaching in the same district you teach in weren't that important, I would look at maybe the Kent ISD or Ottawa ISD (depending what your certification is in).
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Old 06-02-2017, 10:03 PM
 
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Reputation: 6280
The south side of holland is fine and affordable.
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Wyoming Michigan
57 posts, read 40,174 times
Reputation: 90
I recently visited the Norton Shores area and was pleasantly surprised at the value you could get in a home when compared to some of the other areas near by. Plus it is super close to your boating options!
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