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Old 03-20-2019, 12:00 AM
 
21 posts, read 15,742 times
Reputation: 15

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Hi,

I grew up in GR but haven’t lived there for twenty five years. So I’m not familiar with the city now (and actually, I grew up in a suburb, and didn’t know much about city neighborhoods then either...).

I think I am relocating to GR in a few months (it will be either there or Ann Arbor) and would like to buy a house in a city neighborhood where I am:
* within walking distance of a local coffee shop and maybe a bar/restaurant
* able to buy an old house - built before 1955 or so. And a house that has a front porch. And not a gigantic yard.
* not going to stand out as some sort of alien simply because I am 45 years old and single, childless, and quite possibly a cat lady

Any suggestions??
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Old 03-20-2019, 04:51 AM
 
Location: Louisville
4,377 posts, read 4,162,410 times
Reputation: 7507
Quote:
Originally Posted by bexy11 View Post
Hi,

I grew up in GR but haven’t lived there for twenty five years. So I’m not familiar with the city now (and actually, I grew up in a suburb, and didn’t know much about city neighborhoods then either...).

I think I am relocating to GR in a few months (it will be either there or Ann Arbor) and would like to buy a house in a city neighborhood where I am:
* within walking distance of a local coffee shop and maybe a bar/restaurant
* able to buy an old house - built before 1955 or so. And a house that has a front porch. And not a gigantic yard.
* not going to stand out as some sort of alien simply because I am 45 years old and single, childless, and quite possibly a cat lady

Any suggestions??
You're in luck haha, just about every neighborhood that borders the downtown core fits this description.

Heritage Hill, the East Hills, Cherry Hill, Eastown, Baxter, The Westside (Specifically the areas around the Bridge St. Corridor. Downtown, Midtown, Fulton Heights, and Creston will all give you exactly what you and the kitties are looking for.

To start Id focus my search south of I-196 and to around Wealthy St and the areas around Lake Dr. You can expand to other neighborhoods after that but those areas (Mid-Town Heritage Hill, Eastown) are going to be the neighborhoods that fit your description the most. They are the furthest along in their resurgence, and they are full of restauratants, bars, and boutiquey coffee shops.

Feel free to ask more pointed questions if you have them.
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Old 03-20-2019, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Wyoming Michigan
57 posts, read 40,033 times
Reputation: 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by bexy11 View Post
Hi,

I grew up in GR but haven’t lived there for twenty five years. So I’m not familiar with the city now (and actually, I grew up in a suburb, and didn’t know much about city neighborhoods then either...).

I think I am relocating to GR in a few months (it will be either there or Ann Arbor) and would like to buy a house in a city neighborhood where I am:
* within walking distance of a local coffee shop and maybe a bar/restaurant
* able to buy an old house - built before 1955 or so. And a house that has a front porch. And not a gigantic yard.
* not going to stand out as some sort of alien simply because I am 45 years old and single, childless, and quite possibly a cat lady

Any suggestions??
Yes. Just like @MJLO said. Pretty much every neighborhood in Grand Rapids has what you are looking for.

As far as Crazy cat lady...That's 50-50. You might get some grief from the Crazy Dog people crowd. Haha Just kidding. We are all pretty cool here. Come for a visit and check us out. I will forewarn you that our real estate market is super competitive here. Seems like we are not cooling off like some parts of the country are. Many people like you are moving back to this city and scooping up our homes.
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Old 03-20-2019, 07:48 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,145,651 times
Reputation: 3888
Quote:
Originally Posted by bexy11 View Post
Hi,

I grew up in GR but haven’t lived there for twenty five years. So I’m not familiar with the city now (and actually, I grew up in a suburb, and didn’t know much about city neighborhoods then either...).

I think I am relocating to GR in a few months (it will be either there or Ann Arbor) and would like to buy a house in a city neighborhood where I am:
* within walking distance of a local coffee shop and maybe a bar/restaurant
* able to buy an old house - built before 1955 or so. And a house that has a front porch. And not a gigantic yard.
* not going to stand out as some sort of alien simply because I am 45 years old and single, childless, and quite possibly a cat lady

Any suggestions??
Budget?

Just as an aside, homes in neighborhoods that fit your description go fast, sometimes getting as many as 30 - 40 offers on them. If you're willing to buy a fixer-upper that will help.
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:58 PM
 
21 posts, read 15,742 times
Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by magellan View Post
Budget?

Just as an aside, homes in neighborhoods that fit your description go fast, sometimes getting as many as 30 - 40 offers on them. If you're willing to buy a fixer-upper that will help.
Good to know. A couple years ago my brother discovered the hard way that the market there is very competitive.

To me, looking at it from San Francisco, it doesn't look competitive at all and everything seems really cheap (but only because everything from a studio condo to a burned out shell of a house is over a $1M here...).

I wonder how far above asking houses are generally going for there?

I am not quite sure of my budget right now - I will initially rent. But probably not higher than $200K. I am sure that will make things difficult, but it has been impossible to save money while living here so...

I'm glad to hear there are neighborhoods that fit the bill for me. I know GR is a very family-friendly city, and that sometimes means not so friendly to non families.
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,145,651 times
Reputation: 3888
Quote:
Originally Posted by bexy11 View Post
Good to know. A couple years ago my brother discovered the hard way that the market there is very competitive.

To me, looking at it from San Francisco, it doesn't look competitive at all and everything seems really cheap (but only because everything from a studio condo to a burned out shell of a house is over a $1M here...).

I wonder how far above asking houses are generally going for there?

I am not quite sure of my budget right now - I will initially rent. But probably not higher than $200K. I am sure that will make things difficult, but it has been impossible to save money while living here so...

I'm glad to hear there are neighborhoods that fit the bill for me. I know GR is a very family-friendly city, and that sometimes means not so friendly to non families.
The suburban areas tend to be more conservative than the city. The city is REALLY progressive now, way moreso than when I moved her 20 years ago.

Homes that are in pretty good condition and don't need a ton of updates in the $200,000 range usually sell for about 5 - 10% over list. I would stretch your budget a bit above $200,000.

Around $225,000 is the top of the bell curve of what homes sell for around here (the most homes available/the most buyers)
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Old 03-23-2019, 10:39 PM
 
21 posts, read 15,742 times
Reputation: 15
Really progressive? I mean, my parents, who live in suburbs, are pretty progressive. But at least half of my dad’s friends are big Trump supporters. Some of them may live in GR proper.

I think it’s great that the city has changed in that direction!! I’ve been in San Francisco for the last 10 years and can honestly say I haven’t even met an admitted Republican around here. Philly was more politically diverse, but for 10 years I’ve lived in a political bubble, which is comforting (because i am progressive) but in a way, totally out of touch with what much of the country is like (the 2016 election results woke some of them up). Political diversity is a good thing, generally speaking....

What brought you to Grand Rapids 20 years ago?
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Old 03-25-2019, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 18,145,651 times
Reputation: 3888
Quote:
Originally Posted by bexy11 View Post
Really progressive? I mean, my parents, who live in suburbs, are pretty progressive. But at least half of my dad’s friends are big Trump supporters. Some of them may live in GR proper.

I think it’s great that the city has changed in that direction!! I’ve been in San Francisco for the last 10 years and can honestly say I haven’t even met an admitted Republican around here. Philly was more politically diverse, but for 10 years I’ve lived in a political bubble, which is comforting (because i am progressive) but in a way, totally out of touch with what much of the country is like (the 2016 election results woke some of them up). Political diversity is a good thing, generally speaking....

What brought you to Grand Rapids 20 years ago?
Grew up in Lansing, went to WMU, met my now wife there who was from Saginaw, all of our college friends were moving to Chicago or Atlanta back then, we decided to move to Grand Rapids because it seemed to be growing a lot with a ton of employers (way more than Lansing or Saginaw), and all of our families were in Michigan at the time. That was back then in 1995, before the arena was built and downtown really took off, it's even more explosive with growth now.

I would say pretty progressive. Forgetting about presidential voting, the city residents have passed multiple millages/tax increases lately to fund parks, roads, transit, and a number of other initiatives. Grand Rapids has had gender and LGBTQ protections in its ordinances since 1994. The city is very big on recycling and green initiatives, and had the highest number of LEED Certified buildings in the country about 5 years ago.

It's not West Coast progressive though. Maybe a healthy medium progressive.
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Old 03-25-2019, 11:48 AM
 
Location: Louisville
4,377 posts, read 4,162,410 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bexy11 View Post
Really progressive? I mean, my parents, who live in suburbs, are pretty progressive. But at least half of my dad’s friends are big Trump supporters. Some of them may live in GR proper.
Every city, even San Francisco will have *some Trump supporters within their borders. No matter what the stereotypes look like, ideological purity is impossible. The city of Grand Rapids is not conservative. The city government if anything is attempting to be more progressive than they let on. That said the resident base as a whole is going to reflect the overall culture of the area. The stereotypes of W. Michigan conservative are pretty overplayed anymore. Grand Rapids inner ring is very live and let live. It's simply become too diverse to not be. You really have to go to the western suburbs/ Ottawa County to see the stereotypes that cemented the areas image 30-40 years ago.

I think the "family friendly" bit is overplayed as well. What suburban areas aren't family friendly? As a Grand Rapids city dweller i'm surrounded by other professionals without children, and I rarely run into "family centric" activities. You aren't likely to run into the PTO/housewives crowd in the city neighborhoods.

A lot of it depends on your attitude. I have gay friends from out of the area that insist the area is conservative. As a gay person myself I have never felt singled out of discriminated against or uncomfortable, and I've been around the area for quite a while. Typically the people that insist this only look to find examples to validate their attitude. In doing so they overlook all the things that may invalidate it.

You know GR will never be California, you know Michigan has Midwestern culture and values. That said if you look for the things that make you content I guarantee you will see the progress that has happened here over the last 30 years
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Old 03-25-2019, 03:05 PM
 
915 posts, read 1,226,812 times
Reputation: 1318
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Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
Every city, even San Francisco will have *some Trump supporters within their borders. No matter what the stereotypes look like, ideological purity is impossible. The city of Grand Rapids is not conservative. The city government if anything is attempting to be more progressive than they let on. That said the resident base as a whole is going to reflect the overall culture of the area. The stereotypes of W. Michigan conservative are pretty overplayed anymore. Grand Rapids inner ring is very live and let live. It's simply become too diverse to not be. You really have to go to the western suburbs/ Ottawa County to see the stereotypes that cemented the areas image 30-40 years ago.

I think the "family friendly" bit is overplayed as well. What suburban areas aren't family friendly? As a Grand Rapids city dweller i'm surrounded by other professionals without children, and I rarely run into "family centric" activities. You aren't likely to run into the PTO/housewives crowd in the city neighborhoods.

A lot of it depends on your attitude. I have gay friends from out of the area that insist the area is conservative. As a gay person myself I have never felt singled out of discriminated against or uncomfortable, and I've been around the area for quite a while. Typically the people that insist this only look to find examples to validate their attitude. In doing so they overlook all the things that may invalidate it.

You know GR will never be California, you know Michigan has Midwestern culture and values. That said if you look for the things that make you content I guarantee you will see the progress that has happened here over the last 30 years
Thank you for the reality check!

A lot of people here are "live and let live" kind of people....even if we grumble through change sometimes.

The culture in GR is a lot more progressive than it was 25 years ago.

I really hate how some people want to insist that because our state voted for Trump in 2016 that somehow Michigan(magically, overnight) turned flaming red and that this will be the trajectory of the entire state. Sigh. That just isn't close to being true.

I'm not sure where GR would fit on the spectrum with the different types of liberalism, but it's really not as conservative as it used to be. Detroit really has that blue-collar, working class, labor liberalism vibe where as Ann Arbor tends have the intellectual liberalism vibe. However, they are both liberal cities.
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