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Modern House


DON’T Buy A Home In Michigan Until You Do These 7 Things

7 Things You HAVE TO DO Before Buying A Home In Michigan - So let’s say for a moment that you came across your dream home online, the pictures on Zillow are super pretty, the size, features and everything else check all the boxes. The question now is, what due diligence should you do from home to be efficient in this fast moving housing market before you even take the time to see the home in person?

Most of my clients said they’ve never thought to do this..

As I mentioned, buying a home today requires a lot of urgency, the market is moving fast, homes are on and off the market before you even have the chance to decide whether you want it or not, so in order to combat that, there needs to be a game plan in place every single time you come across a home you’re head over heels for, or you simply will stay in that rat race forever, or you’ll finally get the home you thought you wanted just to have a fat case of buyer’s remorse, which isn’t something we want for you. I’ll put a link in the description to all these resources so you don’t have to go searching around.


living in michigan

Starting off with the first and most obvious thing you should do before you even consider looking at a home in person is jumping on good ole google maps or google earth, and I know some of you are saying, yeah that’s cool and everything Andrew by the data is several years old, and yes I get that, but it most likely won’t change the fact that there’s an industrial plant across the street pumping pollution like AC through your windows. Look at an aerial view, look at all the surroundings, look at the proximity of other houses, judge the neighbors a little bit, see if it’s a busy road by clicking through the street view until you see a miles per hour sign if you’re not familiar with the area, punch in directions for your work commute, your significant others work commute, where’s the gas stations at, electric charging stations, shopping, restaurants, and schools if you have or plan to have children.

This due diligence takes just a few minutes but can save you a whole lot of time going out there just to find out the view out your front window is a KFC drive thru. This may seem silly and obvious but trust me it is not. This is step one to doing your due diligence before checking the home out. Not all Realtors will say, hey did you know the home is in a parking lot of a chuck e cheese? They may assume you already did that research, so do yourself a favor and check that box before you drive out there.


living in michigan

Jumping over to thing #2, and that’s This website is an absolute gold mine when it comes to getting information about areas that you are not familiar with. It takes data and statistics from the U.S bureau and several other sources and compiles it all in a report card to give you a sense of the schools, the crime and safety, housing, diversity and nightlife. It’s a source that Realtors like myself point clients to, to take a look at several things that we can’t touch on legally. I’ve mentioned this in a lot of my videos, but we can’t just talk about diversity, crime, and demographics, because as a realtor we abide by the fair housing act, where we can’t discriminate or steer people away from certain areas based on any protected class, so these websites answer the questions that may be important to you, but we can’t dabble on too much.

My favorite part about are the reviews, so when you type in a particular area, you can scroll down to the bottom and see all the 1-5 star reviews like you would ordering something on Amazon, and that’s because they are from current and past residents, and they are always so brutally honest, and it helps when you’re trying to find a community good for you and your family, but I always say, let be a guideline, you can’t look at their B rating for a school and assume they’re horrible, you can’t read one of the reviews that says all the downtown businesses suck. Just let it be a starting point for further research.


best schools in michigan

Which brings us into thing #3, and that’s school rankings. has a pretty extensive list of school rankings, and the reviews on that site oftentimes have parents of students who are honest about their experience there, but there are also other sources online such as, U.S news and world report, MI school, and school digger if I remember correctly. A lot of these pull their data from different sources so you can get an idea of the average rankings for all the school districts that the potential house is near. And to figure what school district the house is located in, just type in the city the home is in followed by a school district map and there is most likely a PDF provided by the school district to give you a sense of what the school territories are.

Schools i’d have to say require additional due diligence, because you almost need to go down a rabbit hole of information to be satisfied with your results. Of course you can type in the top 10 school districts in Michigan and it ranks them 10 out of 10 or 9 out of 10, but does that mean 8 out of 10 is horrible? That’s why rankings are hard to judge by. So the order of operations is figuring out the district, searching a few of these sites about the schools in the districts, reading some reviews on for further insight, or even consider joining one of the community facebook pages, and searching the group for a particular school within the district to see what what said about it. Then of course going to each school site, seeing what’s offered, then seeing the awards the district received and why. You’re just compiling as many opinions that you can get your hands on, while looking at data and facts to back those opinions. It may feel like a pain in the butt, but getting a good education for your kids is important, and I know you know that.

sex offenders in michigan

After school rankings, we have thing #4, This is a free sex offender registry, where you can type in the address of the home and see how close sex offenders are and what they got charged with, as well as an image and description of the person too. Of course it’s completely up to you if you move forward with a home near a sex offender, but you can at least see if it was just someone who got caught peeing on the side of the road or something much much worse that would concern you and your family's safety. It’s always a nice resource to know because I feel like in the movies people talk about their neighbors like they’re scary people, well, this is one way to find out.


crime in michigan

The next way is with thing #5, and that’s or Similar to family watchdog, this allows you to type in the home’s address and see all the crime that has happened near the home and what it was. Maybe it was just credit fraud at the nearby shopping center or maybe it was assault. Again, use your discretion to determine if the crimes being done close by, are ones you can accept, or ones that you can’t because at the end of the day your safety is what’s most important in your new home. If you just want an overall grade associated with the area in terms of the severity of crime, use a website like, which will break down the percent of what crime has occurred as well as an interactive, color coordinated map, showing crime per 1,000 residents.


flood zones in michigan

Thing #6 to keep an eye out for is flood maps and flood zones. Specifically, Fema's flood mapping service, which has a great table showing what all the colors, lines and dots mean. You can again, just punch in the address of the home and get a sense of whether or not it’s in a flood zone, which is something that’s good to know so you can budget for flood insurance, since most mortgage lenders will require it if that’s the case. And even if they don’t it’s good to see potentially where there are low spots that could get flooded that you would want to address. I also mentioned to people to type in the city in their interested in living in followed by flood, and if there was an event that took place for flooding, you can go down the rabbit hole of figuring out why, did the streets fill with water because there was a drainage issue then all the sewer pipes backed up into the houses, and it;’s something that you see as a trend every few years or during heavy rains, that’s something to heavily consider, and would save you thousands and thousands of dollars as well as keeping your cherished items dry.


michigan landscape

The last thing I wanted to mention, which is thing #7, but is more so a bonus thing, and that's looking at a topography map to see the elevations of the land. Google maps could help with this, the flood maps could show low points, but in areas that aren’t notorious for flooding, you may want to see if the home is in a low spot, that would mean prioritizing a sump pump to get the water away from your foundation, as well as considering a back up battery in case the power goes out and it doesn't do its job or maybe on the other side of things it’s in a high spot so all the water flows away, which is a plus, but the downside is the backyard is a full blown cliff so you probably don’t want little Billy in the back kicking around his ball.

I know this list of 7 things may seem like a lot to do for each house you’re interested in, but it can go extremely quick once you get the hang of it, and it will save you gas money and lots of time that could be allocated to other houses, that Netflix show you like or just hanging out with your family. Showings take a lot of time, so if you can do a good chunk of due diligence from home it enables you to either cross that home off the list, or make it a contender to go see in person and allow you to make a better decision that doesn’t need days to sleep on.

For those of you that put your research hat on at home when looking at houses, what other sites or resources do you recommend? Drop them in the comments below.

Thanks as always for reading, if you ever need any help buying, selling or investing in the fine state of Michigan, don't hesitate to reach out. Until next time!



Andrew McManamon is a Michigan REALTOR® with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty and provides real estate services to Buyers, Sellers and Investors throughout SE Michigan including Livingston County, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County & beyond. Andrew has become one of the rising stars of Michigan real estate agents. Prior to his real estate career Andrew was responsible for managing a senior living facility in Brighton, Michigan as a dining supervisor and an activities assistant. Andrew’s passion to help people is unlike any other, and he continues to strive to be best resource he can be. Andrew graduated from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan with a double major and currently resides in Brighton, Michigan.

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