Living In Michigan - What They DON'T Tell You. Well, it looks like I typed in the code, used my Michigander fingerprint, turned the key and left the door open to our state's vault of secrets. In this video, I am going to touch on things they don’t tell you about living in Michigan. Let's get started.
This blog is a direct transcript from the video below. This comes in 3 versions: You are able to watch the video, read the blog for your convenience or listen to the audio experience (which is linked under the video below).
First and foremost, I HAVE to touch on Michigan winters. Outsiders know how the winters are, but I don’t think they REALLY know how they are. I went a few days shoveling snow the old fashion way and let’s just say that didn’t last long, the next few days I dropped some money on a shiny new beefy snowblower, which is the best investment you can make in Michigan. Just take my word for it, you’ll be glad you did. And don’t go single stage and assume you won’t get a lot of snow, invest an extra couple hundred dollars to get the 2 or 3 stage to play it safe (unless you have a baby driveway or a complex that consists of a sidewalk). It might be big and honky, but they have self-propelled these days that will basically pull you around, so don’t think you’re pushing that bad boy by yourself. The average snowfall in Michigan is over 60 inches, that’s 5 ft, which might be hard to put into perspective for you, so take a tape measure to your wall and really understand what we are talking about here. In the Upper peninsula, the average is like triple that, so you’ll be on your roof climbing your chimney with that measuring tape.
Hopping on over to the next item on the list, rural vs. urban living. It’s no secret that Michigan is full of beautiful landscapes, and when I chat with a lot of out of staters looking to find a place way out in the middle of no man’s land to get their own private slice of views, they don’t realize what they’re actually signing up for. I’ve shown a lot of homes in very rural areas, off the beaten path, and for those of you that don’t know, as agents we use our phones a lot to access properties, but I couldn’t even get a phone signal to get the code to unlock the door, so I had to essentially break into the house by lifting a window from the outside because the listing agent wasn’t available, or a friendly neighbor who knew where the neighbor’s hidden key was. For the record, I did prove I was a Realtor. Not only is cell service spotty, so is the internet. On top of that, I make it a point to make note of how far the home is from grocery stores, gas stations, and other amenities homeowners need. Most times, we are talking 20-30 minutes for a commute, which is something a lot of people don’t keep in mind when thinking about the ultimate private retreat in their heads. Another thing to consider when buying a house with no surroundings, is the zoning ordinances. You want to make sure someone isn’t going to put up a Walmart next to you, or a junkyard, an auto shop, or something that you typically wouldn’t see in the city that could not only diminish your sanity, but your property value as well.
So what about urban living? We both know city living comes with a price, but from experience, my clients have been blown away by the homeowners association dues. Michigan has a lot of HOA’s but they aren’t anywhere near the top of the list by any means, but no one ever factors that into their home budget. Michigan has an average HOA of $250 a month, that’s $3,000 a year. So when you’re looking around for a cool house on a lake or a structured community, make sure that amount is tacked on your budget.
I’ve mentioned this next point a lot in my other videos about Michigan roads. Not only is there construction at every corner, and so are the potholes, which I’m sure you already knew, but my point here isn’t about the bad roads or constant construction, it’s about the roads in the winter. As most states do, we use salt on the roads to melt the snow and ice to make it safe for drivers. Well, since Michigan gets more snow than most other states, we tend to use a lot more salt, and with that in mind, our cars get the worst of it. An out-of-stater could drive in the mitten thinking we don’t take care of our cars when they see a 2014 or 2015 SUV already rusting out, but in reality, we just don’t feel like getting a car wash everyday we drive on the roads to get rid of all the salt.
Something else you probably weren’t told about living in Michigan, and lets just say it has to do with all our lakes, ponds, rivers and extremely random weather, and that's mosquitos. A mosquito's wheelhouse is stagnant water, and there’s a lot of it here in Michigan, along with some years having heavier rainfall than others, it just is flat out ridiculous. I also read somewhere that there are over 65 different species of mosquitoes in Michigan, so be sure to pick up some bug spray when you make a visit. You can thank me later.
Next is a point I've touched on numerous times in other videos, so I won’t beat a dead horse, but in Michigan car insurance is out of this world expensive. Since Michigan requires no-fault insurance with a required amount of Personal Injury Protection, it tends to drive the prices pretty high. So be sure to hop on your desired insurance providers website and see what your car insurance quote comes out to be for Michigan. For me, I use Progressive, and have two cars on it, and I pay about $1500 a year, which breaks down to about $62.50 a month for one car. We have good driving records, and a few discounts as well for that.
You may have heard it, or maybe not, but there is a feud between Michigan and Ohio, it definitely is no secret. I firmly believe that cops in Ohio see a Michigan license plate and find something to pull them over about, that’s how deep this feud goes. I’m partially kidding, I've only heard that from a few people, and they were probably lying and got pulled over for speeding since the speed in Ohio drops down to 60 or 65 on the expressway instead of our 70 to 75. I think people just assume that since our sports teams are always head to head, it’s simply just a created rivalry, but actually, there was a war between Ohio and Michigan that started in 1835, during Andrew Jackson’s presidency, called The Great Toledo War. It was a fight over a 468-square mile chunk of land that is known as the Toledo strip, that's located under the mitten and stretches form the west and buddies up to Lake Erie, which is our great lake i’ll remind you. In the summer of 1836 there was a compromise, Michigan gave up that strip in order to take on a larger chunk of the upper peninsula. Whether or not all the data I looked at is correct, Michigan had 1,000 people on their side and Ohio had 600 people on their side, and from what I’ve seen only one of the Michigan soldiers was injured. It’s an interesting slice of history that I'll link in the description if you’re more curious about the feud. Nowadays, we just say Ohio sucks but Cedar Point is the best thing since sliced bread.
Last but not least, just do yourself a favor and start drinking Vernors the pop, not soda, eat Better Made Chips, and be semi-good at euchre and I think you’ll fit in just fine.
That ends my list of things they don’t tell you about Michigan. If you’re a Michigander or used to be, what other things did I miss? Drop it in the comments for all to see.
MENTIONED LINKS →Toledo War: https://bit.ly/3JvDLfC
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 White Lake, Michigan.