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Living in Rochester Michigan: GOOD and BAD!

Living in Rochester Michigan: GOOD and BAD! - Are you considering moving to Rochester, Michigan? Before you pack your bags, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of this charming suburban community. In this video, we'll explore the upsides and downsides of living in Rochester, Michigan, including its picturesque downtown, rich history, and abundant recreational opportunities, as well as its limited public transportation options, harsh winters, and higher cost of living.

We'll also discuss potential downsides such as limited job opportunities, a lack of diversity and inclusivity, and limited cultural and entertainment options. Whether you're a young professional, family, or retiree, it's essential to consider your needs and priorities before making the move to Rochester, Michigan. Join us as we delve into the pros and cons of living in this quaint Michigan community and help you make an informed decision about whether Rochester is the right place to call home.

Is Rochester Michigan the PERFECT place to call home? Well, I hate to burst your bubble but there’s no such thing as perfect, but be sure to stick around because I am going to take a deep dive into the amazing qualities of this fine city along with some of the things people very much dislike, and you can decide if you’re COMPATIBLE or not. Stay tuned!

I created a video a few weeks ago about the top 10 best places in southeast Michigan (which I’ll link in the description) and I included Rochester on the list. April called me out and told me I never mention this area very much and asked for my thoughts, so I’ll lay the good, bad and personal experiences out for you. So you can make an informed decision going forward.

The city of Rochester is located in Oakland county and is about 3.83 square miles in size with a population with just over 13,000 people. This city gets interchangeably mixed up with Rochester Hills, which is its identical twin, not because they are similar in any way, they are just extremely close to each other and seamless into one another sharing a school district and all, but I will be tackling just Rochester, which has a lot to offer for a little city, so be sure to stick around.


Kicking this listing off with the good, great, and amazing things about Rochester Michigan, we have the downtown area. For those of you out there who have spent some time in the downtown space, I am sure you can agree with me here. The heart of the downtown area on main street is lined with historic buildings, unique shops, and casual to upscale drool-worthy eateries (rubs mouth).

It’s one of those downtown spots that’s perfect for leisurely strolling, especially with all the community events such as; the spring gallery stroll, heritage festival, music in the park, rockin' rods n Rochester, farmers markets, soap box derby, river day, movies in the moonlight, art and apples festival, the hometown Christmas parade, along with the thousands of strands of lights that cover all the buildings in downtown Rochester bringing in thousands of people each year during the holiday season, where you can stroll with a warm beverage and not break the bank on something to do. I’ll put a link in the description to the events page, that list was probably overwhelming. This downtown space has walkability, which creates an amazing atmosphere. There are so many local businesses in town too which gives you a very diverse catalog of products and services. With that being said it creates a tight knit community with these business folks looking out for each other in a “scratch my back and I'll scratch yours” mentality. This downtown is also EXTREMELY clean, which I can’t say 100% for the other downtowns across southeast Michigan. Every time I go down there I feel like I need to take my shoes off before I step on the sidewalk. (crickets)


Anyyyyyway, moving over to #2, we have history and heritage. This is something that is so often overlooked when looking for a new place to call home, as several areas have a good or bad history that has made the city and community what it is today. For example, I made a video a little while back about the pros and cons of Dexter Michigan. That community had a massive tornado wipe out several homes, and the community came together to rebuild what had been taken away, so that overall relationship deepened and created some good out of the bad. Rochester's history (although not as catastrophic as Dexter's) goes back into the early 1800’s when what was once a village had explosive growth, industrialization, modernization and in this century, the focus is on the preservation and revitalization of Rochester's historic character by keeping the charm intact. When a community makes such a large effort to preserve history, it says a lot about their character I'd say, whereas other communities just let those things slip through the cracks. So be sure to take a look at the western knitting mills, Meadowbrook theater, the opera house, and the Rochester elevator (even though it has permanently closed from what I last heard) when you make a visit.


Moving right along to pro #3, parks and recreation. I’ll talk more about this in the cons, but Rochester often gets that reputation of being a concrete jungle, cars, traffic, horns, stoplights, etc. and people tend to let that live in their mind rent free, but they lose sight of the amazing parks and recreation features throughout the city. Not only does this city have several golf courses for you single glove wearers out there, there’s the 70+ acre Rochester municipal park, Howlett park, bloomer park on the border of rochester and Rochester hills, along with the 8.9 mile paint creek trail that goes along paint creek from Rochester to Lake orion, and of course there’s the several events i mentioned that will occur in a few of these parks throughout the year.


Onto the last pro until we switch on over to the cons, coming in at #4, is the location. I know I say location is amazing for most cities in southeast Michigan since the interstates and expressways are always relatively close to a certain extent, but the reason I want to talk about Rochester’s location is more about the job opportunity than anything else. With the pandemic “forcing” us to work from home, (I use air quotes because we loved it, don't lie), then it started to transition into several people having to work a couple days a week in their offices. Well, there was a huge push from people during the pandemic saying “screw it I want to live where I want because I am remote now” to present day “Having to drive more these days sucks, I want my commute nicer”, so with this buyer behavior in mind, Rochester becomes a pretty appealing city, especially if you’re in the automotive industry or work for a large corporation in another industry. Troy, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills, and even Pontiac are home to several large corporations that are employers to thousands and thousands of people throughout southeast Michigan, so being in close proximity is great for your commute, but also a big appeal when factoring in resale value.


Moving onto the bad, gross and icky about Rochester Michigan. Kicking off with #1, we have the traffic. I mentioned this a couple times previously, and I made it number one on the cons list not because it’s the biggest deciding factor on whether or not you call this city your home, but more so because it’s the most frequent complaint for people who live and have lived in the area. Rochester has done a great deal of modernization over the last few decades, but with its little size, it can feel the city is bursting at its seams sometimes, especially because the city has so many unique offerings that bring a lot of people like myself into the city. With that in mind, I wouldn’t say the parking situation is as much of a headache as it is in Ferndale and Royal Oak, that could just be my opinion. I just haven't had issues in Rochester. The only advice I can give you about this con is to plan your commutes accordingly, keep in mind this city is a popular one and understand you'll do a little waiting. The city wasn’t built for all these people.


Stepping over to con #2, we have the cost of living. Taking a look at this graph provided by the multiple listing service, you can see the blue line which shows the whole MLS in Michigan as a whole, the city of Rochester in yellow and of course Rochester hills in green, I added that for giggles and I’m sure you would’ve wondered anyway. This is the average sale price and how it has progressed over the last 3 years. Rochester comes in at just over $462,000 and Rochester hills is at $415,000 and some change. The home prices aren’t off the charts high like Birmingham or Bloomfield hills by any means, but there’s still hardship for some buyers out there to crack into this market. Another thing I figured I could spread some awareness to as it’s often a frequent question from everyone out there is property taxes.

→Michigan Property Tax Estimator:

So I'll hop on the Michigan property tax estimator here, punch in $231,000 (which would be half of the average sale price in Rochester based on that graph I just showed) for the #1 spot here. It says SEV or state equalized value, and people will just take that off public data or listing sheets and it won’t be correct, so simply use 50% of the home’s list price to be more accurate on your estimates. Of course, the best way to be even more accurate is to contact the local assessor's office to break it down, but if you’re just curious and want something more accurate than what Zillow is throwing at you, do this. I’ll link a video I did with a Michigan assessor in the description if you want to know more about figuring out property taxes as well. In spot #2, you’ll put Oakland county. Spot #3, you’ll find rochester, #4 is rochester community school district, and after that it will pump out the millage rates and the approximate taxes for homestead vs. non homestead. Keep in mind it says 2021 millage rates, and in little writing at the bottom it says the 2022 rates will be posted in August 2023. So if there was a drastic change in a city's services, this would not be so accurate but again, better than what is typically done.

Moving along here, it’s safe to say a lot of the cost of living aspect comes down to your lifestyle choices, but as I mentioned there’s a lot of local businesses in Rochester so they tend to charge a little more, so the cost of goods and services tend to be a little higher. Big box stores can make things cheaper and in bulk, some of these items could be handmade and took hours and hours to create, so it makes sense, but it’s something to keep in mind. Rochester is a place that has earned the reputation of being what the kids like to call “bouji” or an area for rich or upper class. There’s expensive real estate here, that’s no secret. There’s several upscale establishments from eateries to grocery stores. It’s all preference at the end of the day and there’s options for anyone along the financial spectrum. I just wanted to make sure I mentioned that because I see comments like that floating around when it comes to Rochester.


Last but not least coming in at con #3, the nightlife. I know some people's ears perked up when I said the downtown is amazing and that must mean the nightlife is awesome too, well not so much. As a southeast Michigander, when you think of nightlife you think about Royal Oak, Ferndale, Ann Arbor and of course Detroit. Rochester doesn’t exactly compare to those cities unless they have some community event that hangs around after hours. Most times the city tends to be relatively quiet at night time. Of course, the city is awesome for those leisurely strolls at any time of the day, but you won’t be seeing fist pumping with a drink on the other hand so much. Those cities I mentioned give off that “hip” and “modern” vibe, Rochester is the “established” and “historical” vibe. Again, it’s all preference. Some people want a wild and loud nightlife in a sweet downtown area, others want a calm and quiet downtown space.

Rochester, Michigan, offers a tight-knit community with a charming downtown, excellent schools, and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities. However, it also has a higher cost of living, limited public transportation, and a relatively quiet nightlife scene. As with any place, it's important to carefully consider your preferences and needs before making a move to Rochester.

With all that being said, what are your thoughts about Rochester Michigan/ Drop your thoughts in the comments below.

If you need help relocating, buying or selling a home to Rochester or a nearby area, feel free to reach out anytime, my contact information is in the description below.


→Rochester Michigan Events:

→Rochester Mi Development:

→Top 10 Michigan Cities Video: • Top 10 BEST Citie...

→Dexter MI Pros and Cons Video: • The PROS and CONS...



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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