The PROS and CONS of Living In Dexter Michigan - So you’re thinking about making the move to Dexter, Michigan. Well, stick around because I’m touching on some CRUCIAL pros and cons that will help you decide if this city in southeast Michigan is right for you
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).
As the title states, I’ll be knocking out a few pros and cons about living in Dexter, Michigan that I believe could influence whether or not you call this city your new home.. Or not.
Starting off with the pros of living in Dexter, Michigan. I’ll knock out the most obvious one, its location. I’m sure this is one of the biggest, if not the biggest reason Dexter is in your crosshairs as a place to live. The proximity to Ann Arbor is such a HUGE selling point for Dexter since Ann Arbor is hardly 8 miles down the road. Just a side note; If Ann Arbor interests you, I’ll put a link to the pros and cons video I created about Ann Arbor in the description so you can add it to your queue. A lot of people who reach out to me either from other states or other regions of the state of Michigan always think about Ann Arbor, but after doing more research, they find they don’t want to actually live in Ann Arbor, but would like to live close to take advantage of the amenities the city offers, as they are truly one of a kind. It’s not for bad reasons by any means, I firmly believe it depends on which stage you are in your life that makes or breaks your decision to live in Ann Arbor.
It’s a college town, it’s busy, it’s yellow and blue all the time, and some people just don’t want that daily hustle and bustle of a thriving city like Ann Arbor, and there’s nothing wrong with that. And for that reason alone, cities like Dexter, Ypsilanti, Saline and Superior Charter Township are gaining more and more popularity, as they offer their own unique community, while having the luxury of taking advantage of Ann Arbor’s as well.
Stepping on over to pro number 2 is the city offerings. When people think of Dexter, they think of this little tiny town that has nothing to offer and is literally a neighboring community or baby suburb of Ann Arbor. It’s true to a certain extent, but that misconception often overlooks what this city ACTUALLY has to offer.
If you take a look at Dexter, Michigan on a map, you’d understand that this city is pretty nestled on the banks of the Huron River and Mill Creek, and offers an extensive amount of walking, hiking and biking opportunities in their 14 parks, a dedicated environmental awareness plan to focus on the greenery throughout the city. This town is an award winning hub of recreation, not just for the few activities I mentioned earlier, but canoeing, kayaking and fishing on the creek and river. On top of that, there are a lot of sidewalks throughout the city that give you the convenient commute to the Dexter Cider Mill, Library, and the farmers market. But the amenities don’t stop there, Dexter has a few shopping corridors that should not be overlooked on Dexter’s historic main street, that include Beer Grotto Dexter, Dexter Pub, Zingerman’s cornman farms, ice cream shops, and so many other convenience stories that lead to the Dexter-Ann Arbor corridor that has been home to several large new developments over the last few years.
You’ll also want to take some time and immerse yourself in Dexter’s culture and Festivals. Just like most cities in Michigan, they offer yearly festivals. Dexter offers the Dexter Daze, which is a two day event in the middle of August that is full of food, art, entertainment, music and of course, family. They also have a summer music concert series, along with the Paint Dexter Plein Air Festival that I believe is in its 10th year, that lasts for about a week, that features art activities, sales, competitions, workshops, and so much more.
And just to give you some more insight about Dexter in terms of what they offer and what the local government and residents do for the city, I’ll attach their most recent newsletter so you can see the issues they’re facing, how they are going about them, their tax structure, what the tax dollars are going toward, along with information about parks and rec, future plans, schools, accomplishments and so much more.
Transitioning into pro number 3 we have the Community. The first two pros have essentially broken down exactly why this town is favorable, from what the city offers, the events they put on, along with other amenities that make Dexter, Michigan feel like a great community. Yes, it’s a small town, but many residents have said it’s fun, inviting and has recently become highly sought after. Many residents and passerbyers also enjoy the walkable downtown despite its smaller size.
The reason I wanted to double down on speaking about the community in Dexter, Michigan is all because of what happened on March 15, 2012, and if there’s anyone from Dexter watching this video, I’m sure it feels like yesterday when that EF3 Tornado came ripping through your town. For those of you that don’t know what an EF3 tornado is, it's based on wind speed and severity of damage. These tornadoes typically have a wind speed of anywhere between 150 and 200 miles per hour, which is enough to completely demolish a home from the ground up, and that’s exactly what happened.
They say it had the wind speed of an EF2 but the damage of an EF3 since it only traveled 7.5 miles in 40 minutes. Over 100 homes were demolished, trees and powerlines were completely wiped out, but fortunately, there were no reported injuries. All that to say, over 10 years since that terrible time when the community came together to build that part of the city back to what it once was. It's awful experiences like that that showed a lot of Dexter's residents how powerful of a community they have, and why several people couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
On the other hand, this same point brings me into con #1 of living in Dexter, Michigan, and that’s the people. As I have mentioned in several of my other videos about being an outsider in a small town, it takes some time to adjust no matter what state or city you decide to live in. I also believe that this point is heavily situational, but of course I wanted to make sure I brought it up to help you make the most informed decision possible. My advice, no matter what city or state you decide to move to, make the investment to come out and check the area out first. Spending a whole day or even a few hours in a town that you are interested in will tell you a lot about how the community is.
The mannerisms, the morals, the respect, all of these aspects of a community can be uncovered within the first few hours, you just need to venture out and experience it. I know a lot of people moving here from out of state want to just make the process quicker and hop on a home sight unseen. I know it makes my job easier, but there is no good feeling to me in helping someone move to a state I grew up in my whole life to not like the area they just put their life savings into. I could make this point as a con in each one of my pros and cons videos, because I truly believe in the importance of making the investment for travel and a hotel to spend a few days looking at the areas of interest, which is typically what I do with my clients who are not from the area. I can give you my insight and experience all day everyday, but at the end of the day, our wants, needs and lifestyle are different from each other.
Now onto con #2, downtown. I know I just spend this whole time hyping up the community and downtown area, but this point is more specific to nightlife. Several residents have said Dexter isn’t the greatest in the nightlife department, all of their restaurants, bars, breweries and entertainment call it a night pretty early on and that has been the biggest factor. Fortunately enough though, Ann Arbor's nightlife is amazing and everything you could ever need and more, it just might cost you a 15 minute Uber or Lyft ride. What could Dexter do to better their Nightlife? 1) stay open later 2) light up the streets in a fancy fashion and give people a reason to come and stay in the city. Of course, staffing is probably one of the bigger issues as it is anywhere across the nation, but if there’s a possibility of making this happen, I’m sure it would make the city more desirable.
Last but not least, con #3 for Living in Dexter, Michigan, we have the cost of living. I’ve put a lot of emphasis on how this is a small town and how variety tends to be a slim thing in smaller cities like this, so it’s safe to have the assumption that a place like this would have a lower cost of living and affordable real estate. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Taking a look at this graph provided by bestplaces.net, you can see Dexter comes in with an overall of 113.1, while Michigan as a whole sits at 89.6. The biggest factor to such a high overall is housing coming in at 145.2. And I bet it’s starting to click for you now why that is. If you guessed the proximity to Ann Arbor then you would get a big ole gold star. Taking a look at this graph provided by the multiple listing service showing Dexter, Dexter Twp, Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor Twp’s average sale price in August 2022 along with the progression over the last 3 years, it’s clear that Ann Arbor is a little more expensive than Dexter, and for good reason. On the lower side of the pricing spectrum, Dexter comes in at $402,848, which is a 8.1% increase from a year ago, whereas Ann Arbor Twp averages a sale price of $788,608, increasing 37.1% over the last year, which is absolutely mind-blowing coming up from an average of $486,931 in January 2019.
The pandemic has hit Ann Arbor pretty hard, investors buying up student housing and selling it for top dollar and of course the area just getting that much more appealing. Dexter in that comparison becomes a much more affordable place to live, but as you can see, the price point is definitely continuing to creep higher and higher, and that is due to the proximity like I mentioned but also the fact that the affordability gap in just a 15 minute drive time has blown way out of proportion, so students and other residents are finding themselves, living outside the city and commuting to save that much more money on rents and mortgages.
It all comes down to, is Dexter Michigan right for you? Well, it depends, but based on the few charts I have shared with you it’s safe to say the economy is going in the right direction. If living by Ann Arbor is crucial for you, then of course you should consider Dexter since your dollar will go much further for housing. If you’re a nature addict, Dexter would also be a great place for you.
If you have any more questions about Dexter, Michigan. Please don’t hesitate to reach out anytime and I would be happy to help you through your thought process.
MENTIONED LINKS 🔗
Pros & Cons Ann Arbor, Michigan: https://youtu.be/Q3hCE3DXAlc
Dexter Michigan Newsletter: https://bit.ly/3ebTZAl
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.