I've been offered a possible (but very likely) 5-yr Contract working as director of publicity/photographer in Detroit MI with a VA charity organisation.
Currently looking at housing in the greater Detroit area and we have an estimated budget of $120-150k for house purchase - the thing is we have no idea which neighborhoods are good/bad/indifferent...
The only areas of Detroit I know of are Dearborn (Ford plant; large Arab population; good kebab shops, apparently) and Grosse Pointe (from the John Cusack movie)...
Any other good places to live round there? We'll be bringing our 16-month old daughter along with us, so pre-school/school will also be a deciding factor...
Apr 30 12 03:54 am Link
Haddon Heights, New Jersey, US
Go to www.zillow.com and make use of google street view maps.
Apr 30 12 04:13 am Link
RKD Photographic wrote:
If you chose to live within the city on a 150k housing budget, you could buy half a block depending upon exactly where you live at.
Apr 30 12 05:07 am Link
I have lived in the Detroit Area for years. Schools, proximity to work, housing value , and neighborhood features should be deciding factors. Do you know the location/city where you will work?
Very few professionals live in the city limits of Detroit. The are great suburbs all around the city within 15-30 minutes of downtown Detroit. Good north suburbs include Ferndale/Royal Oak/Birmingham/Troy/Bloomfield. Good West suburbs include Novi/Northville/Farmington/Plymouth.
MEAP test scores are a common measure of comparing school performance and available here:
http://www.greatschools.org/test/landin … MI&tid=108
Zillow is a great tool to find and compare housing. A real estate agent can be a huge help and several specialize in international moves, and help you decide to buy or rent.
PM me anytime for more direct help.
Apr 30 12 05:20 am Link
Dobias Fine Art Photo wrote:
Done that: zillow/google etc don't say 'Crack-dealers Live here'...just the prices...lol
Apr 30 12 07:25 am Link
Detroit, Michigan, US
I have lived here for a short time. I live in Dearborn Heights. The neighborhood is quiet (no drug dealers or that sort of thing that I have seen), but lots of kids out playing, people go walking down the sidewalk, etc. I take those as it being a safe neighborhood. We have a decent sized yard (though nothing compared to the 2.5 acres I lived on back in TN). We are about 20 minutes from down town Detroit, quite close to grocery stores and other shopping, etc. I really do not know the cost of the house or anything like that and this house is probably smaller than what you are looking for, but I have seen larger houses around here, so really I can only tell you about the area.
On the plus side as well, we have an awesome photographer/model community, tons of art exhibitions, etc.
Apr 30 12 07:44 am Link
Thanks a lot guys - this is a real help - we'll be out at the end of June to finalise the details - just doing all the immigration bollocks now...
HOW much paperwork?
I guess the easiest thing is to drive around the prospective areas we can shortlist online...if we don't get car-jacked, it'll be added to the shorter short-list...lol
Glad to know there's lots of like-minded folks out there too!
Apr 30 12 08:34 am Link
Bellbrook, Ohio, US
Apr 30 12 08:41 am Link
RKD Photographic wrote:
There are great little enclaves within the city. The person who said professionals don't live in the city must not get out much.
Apr 30 12 08:52 am Link
Tampa, Florida, US
Loki Studio wrote:
Great info. I might add Rochester Hills for its proximity to Detroit. Ferndale and Royal Oak would be the top of my list. And although Ann Arbor is a great place you definitely don't want that commute into Detroit every day...2 hours?
Apr 30 12 09:00 am Link
Grosse Pointe, Michigan, US
I've lived in and around Detroit my whole life. I'm an "eastsider" at heart...currently in Grosse Pointe. The GP schools are very good if that is an important factor. The GP housing market took a huge hit also, $150k could buy a nice home these days. Ferndale, Royal Oak, Troy, Sterling Heights also are good choices and fairly central to the Metro-Detroit area. Ann Arbor is also very nice. Good luck!
Apr 30 12 09:16 am Link
I am a huge supporter of Detroit, have lived here for 15 years, and work in the city limits at least twice a week. Its a simple fact that few professionals live in the city limits- even 60% of Detroit Police Officers live outside the city limits. I would not recommend to any foreign citizens moving to the area to navigate the many challenges of living in the city, when there are so many other great cities with great schools and without major problems.
Apr 30 12 09:37 am Link
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US
Nice neighborhoods and great school system and easy commuting to downtown Detroit.... I will make it easy for you.... 1. Birmingham 2. Troy 3. Grosse Pointe Woods.
Apr 30 12 10:01 am Link
Gibraltar, Michigan, US
Lots of good advice so I'll just say hello and welcome and don't believe the hype, its not as bad as they say in the City
Apr 30 12 10:05 am Link
Loki Studio wrote:
15 yrs. and you work there at least twice a week?
Apr 30 12 12:39 pm Link
You can try start a pissing match if you want, but I actually still live and work here and you don't.
Apr 30 12 01:21 pm Link
Olivet, Michigan, US
Michael Pandolfo wrote:
Two hours from AA? Maybe at the worst time. I'm 125 miles from the Ren Cen, which is as downtown as you can get, and it wouldn't take me two hours to get there if I timed it right.
Apr 30 12 01:43 pm Link
We have freinds in Hastings MI and that's about a 2-hour drive, so I'm guessing Ann Arbor is a bit less (allowing for peak traffic times)...
I think if it were just me I'd go for the city centre: I was born in London so 'ultra-urban' is in my blood, but my wife is a small-town girl and with a kid to raise, I want there to be some 'green' nearby.
I'm currently looking very hard at Grosse Point Farm/Woods and the surounding area: neighbourhood seems OK and it's close enough to Lake St Claire for us to go for walks along the shore (assuming you can do that...for all I know there's a highway right beside the lake...lol)...
House prices seem ridiculously low compared to Europe where even a modest 3 bedroom house in a decent neighbourhood will cost in excess of £250,000 ($400,000). I'm also looking forward to paying $3.50-ish for a gallon of gas - here we're paying the equivalent of about $12 per US gallon...
My starting salary will be $40k-plus pa with full bennies and with plenty of scope for me to do extra photographic work on the side. That, the lower cost of living and the $80,000-ish we'll be bringing with us should be enough to set up something decent and buy a couple of cars to keep us mobile.
Schooling is perhaps THE most important factor: I am aware of and am impressed by the US pre-school system, but also know that schools vary by location (just as they do over here) and as she's my Little princess, nothing is too good for her...
Being ex-infantry, I can sleep in a ditch if I have to (or the back seat of my car at any rate) but I do want a bit of comfort and security for my family.
Apr 30 12 02:07 pm Link
I've lived in Dearborn, which is the corporate headquarters of Ford, for 32 years. It's a great town. You should be able to buy a house within your budget.
Apr 30 12 05:13 pm Link
Brandon, Florida, US
Touch bases with one of the law enforcement officers in the "Crime Prevention" Bureau with the local police or sheriff's departments. They should be able to show you the crime statistics from the different areas of the city/county. Some agencies also provide the on their websites.
Apr 30 12 06:49 pm Link
Syowa - permanent station of Japan, Sector claimed by Norway, Antarctica
Apr 30 12 06:56 pm Link
Detroit, Michigan, US
You can go almost anywhere in the metro area in 40 minutes.
Middle Class/Lower Middle Class - Warren, Hazel Park, Roseville, Garden City, Taylor, Southfield
Middle Class - Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, Ferndale, Oak Park, St. Clair Shores,
Middle Class/Upper Middle Class - Royal Oak, Birmingham, Gross Pointe(s), Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills
You could buy a nice 2/3 bedroom house in Warren for $20,000, put $10,000 into it, and have a house that would have been worth $115,000 in the late 90's. Similar stories elsewhere, other cities.
Most of the houses in the Warren area are selling for $40k - $60k, some sherrif sale houses are going for $90k, and some real estate is selling for $100k
But if you have cash under 30k you can still find great foreclosure deals
Apr 30 12 07:05 pm Link
Detroit, Michigan, US
You've got a family, so I'd suggest Dearborn or Ferndale.
You'll get about the same real estate deal, either a straight shot or near downtown.
Ferndale is 8 Mile and Woodward, which is centrally located metro-area wise, downtown city wise. Nice family suburban shopping and dining to the north, and the city to the south.
They both have a similar feel. Downtown area. Middle class. Community feel. Real estate holds value. Deals can be found.
Apr 30 12 07:14 pm Link
Kalamazoo, Michigan, US
RBM Photo wrote:
Or Ypsilanti, which is latin for "can't afford Ann Arbor"
Apr 30 12 07:23 pm Link
Once again thanks for all the useful info...
May 01 12 03:12 am Link
Las Vegas, Nevada, US
I don't care what anyone says stay FAR away from living in the city itself, or anywhere near it for that matter...half hour north or west should be good, many people gave good advice. Novi, Troy, Macomb Township, Shelby Twp, Royal Oak etc.
May 01 12 11:57 am Link
New York, New York, US
StromePhoto II wrote:
Greek. But still, lol.
May 01 12 01:01 pm Link
San Francisco, California, US
Dave the design student wrote:
So sad ... my family had a spectacular house in Southfield for years, but alas, I tend to agree. On the north side, the closer you are to 8 Mile road, the less desirable it has become.
May 01 12 01:42 pm Link
Albuquerque, New Mexico, US
I love Dearborn! Great restaurants, grocery markets, sweet shops, hookah cafes, clothing stores and so much more. But then again I love that eclectic stuff and it helps I took 2 years of Arabic in college. There are two ends of Dearborn though; the Middle Eastern influenced end and the higher income end of town, by the Ford Estate. I like both.
May 01 12 03:33 pm Link
ei Total Productions wrote:
My house is about half the price that it was at it's peak price. It is paid for. I purchased it at a good time. I didn't pay an inflated price.
May 01 12 03:37 pm Link
Erin Holmes wrote:
I love it too. I live there.
May 01 12 03:38 pm Link
Tampa, Florida, US
Detroit native here...
Royal Oak is a quite cool area...good resturaunts,clubs,shopping,freeway access.
Has lots of the nice 2 story,brick homes you mentioned.
Birmingham/Bloomfield is a bit more upscale and also very nice...very good choices for schools as well...public and private.(The areas between Franklin Rd. & Southfield
Rd. north of 13 mile Rd and south of 15 mile Rd.(Maple Rd.) are safe,quiet,
affordable...with 25-30 minute commutes to downtown.
The areas closer to Cranbrook Art Academy are superb but on the bourgois side...
You def will find that Detroit is NOT the horror that some think...
Unless you move in next to Ted Nugent!!!
May 01 12 04:08 pm Link
Atlanta, Georgia, US
Some really great advice, but sadly all the areas listed still get snow - so f* it and move the the south lol
May 01 12 04:30 pm Link
billy badfinger wrote:
Ted Nugent lives in Concord, MI. It is 70 miles west of Detroit.
May 01 12 04:59 pm Link
Tampa, Florida, US
It was a joke...
70 miles from "The Nuge" should be about right!
May 01 12 05:05 pm Link
Las Vegas, Nevada, US
May 01 12 05:06 pm Link
Fort Wayne, Indiana, US
Also a metro Detroit native here, only left about four years ago or so.
Pretty much anything in Oakland and Macomb Counties is going to be in that 30 to 45 minute commute, unless you get super north in the counties themselves. However, if you purchase something that is very near M-59 (major east/west freeway) or especially near I-75, you're pretty much going to have a straight shot down to Detroit.
That being said, to help you with geography - Macomb County is going to be more family-oriented, out of the big city, and in some places even a little country-like, with larger plots of land and some farming in the north and northeast. Oakland County is a more big city, urbanized, up-and-coming, fast paced kind of atmosphere. These are some generalizations, and, of course, there will be exceptions, but that will hopefully give you a sense of what you're dealing with.
I recently considered moving back and did a ton of research on the various school districts, I'll try to find that information and post.
The one thing I would caution you against is assuming that living in Grosse Pointe (City/Woods/Farms/Village/Park) means you're out of Detroit. Although it is technically a different city and has much nicer features, parks, and so forth, it takes about 5 minutes (and sometimes less) to end up in some pretty nasty parts of Detroit. I would highly recommend that you use Google Earth to take a look at the neighborhoods that are considering, because I have seen Grosse Pointe Park houses that were gorgeous and then you turn around and look behind you and there are burnt out shells of bars and liquor stores, with nefarious activities going on.
I love Detroit and it's a fantastic city - and metropolis, but as much as I love it, I'm not going to fear-monger, but shoot it to you straight.
As far as the Dearborn/Dearborn Heights areas, they're fantastic little towns, but you should know that it has the largest diaspora of Middle Easterners outside of the Middle East. This isn't a bad thing, but many many stores, restaurants and shops in the area sell and offer Middle East-based wares and services and it is a different culture. It is pretty neat, though, because entire extended families will buy up entire blocks of neighborhoods, so getting in the middle is a very interesting and often-times cultural experience if you're not a white snob.
Want other super culturally diverse neighborhoods? Oak Park and Southfield have a lot of Jewish/Orthodox and Russians, Hamtramck is lots of Polish (and young hip, urbanites), Sterling Heights is a lot of Indians, Pakistanis, Macedonians (and others from the former republic of Yugoslavia) and a mix of East Asians.
Lastly, what you're hearing about 8 Mile is mostly correct. If you're indeed going to live in the suburbs of Macomb or Oakland County, the further north of 8 Mile, the better. In Macomb County, I'd argue that you should live north of 10 Mile for the best environments and in Oakland County, the further west you live, the better.
I hope that was helpful. Feel free to message me with any other questions or specifics and I'm happy to help! Also, once you get settled in, we should do lunch sometime while I'm in Detroit! Cheers!
May 01 12 05:45 pm Link
Excellent stuff...many thanks... again...
It's now looking almost 100% certain we're taking this on, so I look forward to hopefully meeting some of you and getting the beers (or coffees) in...
As to snow - well yeah, we get that here too: sometimes up to 2m and temps down to -27C...
I appreciate that the weather isn't even slightly similar though (we have friends in hastings MI) and we'll make allowances...
I'd prefer the desert, but I have to go where the work is...lol
May 02 12 01:44 am Link