These Are The Michigan Lifestyles - Several people all over the country (and even the world) have been reaching out to me about moving to the state of Michigan, and the conversation always is based on, this is how my life is now, How can I find that same or similar lifestyle in Michigan? So whether you’re looking to move to Michigan or even visit the state, I’ll break down the various Michigan lifestyles so you can match it up to your liking.
Let’s just say we had this four sided “spectrum”, lake living would be on one side, living on acreage or farm land would be on another side, living in a busy “metro” city would be on another side, and living in your typical suburbia would fall on the last side, but the reason this is a spectrum scenario is because a lot of times, these lifestyles bleed over into each other and have a little bit of hybridness to them, which I think is a new word I just made up. The cool thing about Michigan is, yes we have these 4 distinct lifestyle offerings throughout the state, but there’s also a mix of both to give you the best of all worlds
Before I dive into these lifestyle’s some more it’s important to hunker down a bit and figure out what you’d want your ideal lifestyle to look like so you can do a little “process of elimination” to get rid of the other ones you don’t like. The problem is (I shouldn’t say problem, more so recurring theme) for people moving to Michigan or any state for that matter, is their options are extremely open ended, which is understandable, new state, new way of life, I completely get it, but all the time you’re spending looking at the different lifestyles, it starts to take away from the time you should be spending looking at more options within your ideal lifestyle. It’s like any company out there for example, the companies that try to make every single product out there tend to suffer because they make a bunch of okay products but nothing earns that “great” reputation, but when a company makes a singular product, they tend to thrive.
When your options are too open, you see a bunch of “okay” homes that you may eventually just settle on, but you never get that jaw dropping holy smokes I can see myself pulling up in this driveway, raising 35 children and dying here feeling with the “great” homes. I’ve seen people settle on homes and it is the worst feeling in the world, especially since homes are an extremely large investment. So that’s why you’ll want to keep following along, because the feeling of going from an okay home to a great one is a night and day difference for the better.
So how exactly do you find your Michigan lifestyle? Well, the best way to do that is by breaking down some advantages and disadvantages to each way of life, and in doing so, you can keep your priorities straight. Let’s start with lake living, maybe you’re just wanting a nice view out the window, or maybe you’re all about the water sports, it’s important to realize there’s more to lake living than that, and in case that’s your lifestyle, I’ll link a few videos about this in the description to go more in depth. The advantages: you have an amazing view, you can enjoy the lake and everything it has to offer, lake neighborhoods tend to be more social and community based, and you won’t have to worry so much about the home's resale value in the future, because being on the lake is a luxury in itself.
The disadvantages, you lack seclusion and privacy, as most lots around a lake try to fit in as many homes as possible, and if you’re on the main part of the lake you probably will feel like the whole world is staring at you eating that tub of ice cream on the couch ugly crying to a sad movie, along with that, most homes on a lake don’t have fences either so it seems to be a fairly seamless backyard all the way around the lake, with great resale value comes a much larger purchase price. Many homes on the water go for 1.5-2x the amount of a comparable home off the water. Most waterfront homes also tend to be farther away from downtown life and other city amenities, and the closest convenience stores are always the little privately owned ones at the end of a larger lake neighborhood charging $10 for a bottle of ketchup.
Most waterfront homes also have a homeowners association fee to cover maintenance of the boat launches, lake maintenance and common areas, and some of them can be fairly strict on what you can or can’t do. Lastly, there’s the abundance of maintenance that needs to be done to your lakefront home, whether it be maintaining your boats, the beach, raking your shoreline, and from my experience, dealing with bugs and insects as they seem to be in abundance by the water, so I have a company come out to my home quarterly and do a full exterior spray down. So this lifestyle seems to be for someone who doesn’t mind the lack of privacy and seclusion, maybe is a little more on the social side, doesn’t mind the additional maintenance and overall cost that comes with lakefront homeownership, along with abiding with the rules and regulations of the HOA. Does this lifestyle sound like you? Comment below if it is.
So what about city living? Maybe you’re from a heavier populated metro area in California, Chicago, or New York and you very much like the hustle and bustle that comes with it, because everything you need is right there in the concrete jungle and you’re content with living in a 10th floor Highrise condo. The advantages to this way of life are: there being an excess of job opportunities near by, followed by not needing a car which can save you a ton of moving, so if you can walk, ride a bike or utilize a taxi/transport service, that would be financially beneficial to you, you have everything you need and more within just a few blocks of where you live and where you work. Another great advantage is the social scene and being able to meet a bunch of different people from all walks of life, which feeds into this next point of having a great nightlife, all while always having something to do.
The disadvantages of this lifestyle are: heavier traffic, more honking, and a lot more traffic lights that never seem to turn green when you want them to. Along with there being heavy traffic, there’s a bigger population, so it can oftentimes feel stuffy and all around claustrophobic. In areas like this, the home prices tend to be high for what you get and the overall cost of living tends to be fairly high in general. Of course, living in a downtown atmosphere like Detroit is going to be cheaper than living in a place like New York. In areas like this, crime tends to be higher along with homelessness.
It’s a given in these larger cities unfortunately, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind if this is the lifestyle you’re aiming for. Since Michigan is known for their natural landscapes, a concern for people in larger cities like this is not being able to have a view of something like that, but that’s far from the truth, areas like Grand Rapids, Detroit, or even Troy have these city feels, but also offers nearby views, parks, preserves, etc. that will allow you not to miss out. So this lifestyle is for someone who doesn’t prioritize a yard or an abundance of living space and privacy, someone who enjoys the social and nightlife scene, and wouldn’t mind working, living and playing within a few blocks of each other. If this lifestyle is you, comment your thoughts below!
So what about your typical suburban lifestyle? Maybe you’re not so much about city life and don’t necessarily need a home a few minutes from downtown, and you just want a sizable home on a quarter to one acre with a fenced in yard, and a neighborhood that’s well kept and overall keeps to themselves. There’s several areas like this throughout the state of Michigan. The advantages to this lifestyle are: you can get more bang for your buck since you're outside the city and away from lakes and downtown, you have much more seclusion and privacy and can keep to yourself. This type of living does offer a great community aspect but it’s not something that needs to be forced by any means, and a lot of times these singular neighborhoods have a good proximity to the local schools to have an easier bus route for the drivers. In Michigan, this lifestyle tends to have a nearby park in or just outside the neighborhood for kids, and several other outdoor activities.
The disadvantages to this lifestyle are: you are a little farther from the city offerings, keep in mind this is how suburban living typically looks, as I mentioned on the spectrum earlier, there tends to be a hybrid aspect to them, so these types of neighborhoods are not uncommon to be walking distance from a city's downtown. A lot of these well-maintained subs tend to have a homeowner association to maintain the roads, parks, maybe even the grounds, or simply as a way to keep order to the neighborhood and make sure it’s held to a higher standard, so if neighbor John doesn’t cut his grass for 6 weeks, he’ll get yelled at instead of it just being an eyesore for anyone who drives by your neighbors house. This lifestyle is the middle ground to all these offerings, as you have a little land, some more privacy, could be in closer proximity to downtown and other city amenities, and you can buy a home for what it’s truly worth instead of having a city or lake atmosphere inflate the cost a little bit. Maybe you’re building a family or just want a bunch of space to entertain and have people stay over, this lifestyle can definitely be yours. Is suburban living your lifestyle? Drop your thoughts in the comments.
Lastly, we have farm and/or acreage living. Maybe you’re someone who lives in a very rural area on the outskirts of any state in the country on 10-100 acres, you don’t like the city life, and have a larger appetite for space rather than a little piece of property on water. The advantages to this type of living are: You really have the freedom to do whatever you want to a certain extent. You don’t have neighbors telling you to shut up, or an HOA you have to pay for also telling you to shut up, little to no traffic, you have seclusion, privacy, and the luxury of keeping to yourself. You can be loud, shoot guns, ride motor toys, have a bonfire bigger than a 5 foot circumference, and you can turn your property into something income producing. Depending on the city, township and what your properties zoning ordinances are you could farm, bale hay, have a couple farm animals for a good tax write off, along with whatever produce you decide to grow.
The disadvantages to this lifestyle are: you will definitely have much more land to maintain so investing in larger equipment is a given to make the process less time-consuming, you will most likely be far away from everything, gas stations, shopping, restaurants, schools, downtowns, expressways, etc. So you may find yourself grocery shopping less, making special all day trips to get all your doings done, and of course have a job you can work from home, or understand that your commute is going to be quite a bit longer for the luxury of your large and secluded property. The next disadvantage is feeling a little isolated from the world, especially if you’re used to not being that way. It can feel lonely and lack a huge social aspect you never really knew you needed, unless you have several people living with you. So this lifestyle is good for someone who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty, doing a lot of yard work, growing their own food, making longer commutes to civilization and crucial amenities, and wants to be away from the concrete jungle, the traffic, the neighbors, and people. Every client of mine who has adopted this lifestyle has always said they have spent their whole entire life around so many people that they just want to settle down in the woods away from everyone and live in their own personal peace, so is that a lifestyle that is right up your alley? Drop your thoughts in the comments below!
I would have to say for anyone thinking of making the move to Michigan, figuring out the lifestyle you want is the most important things you can do, because once that’s figured out, I can get a better idea of what you’re looking for, and narrow in a few different areas that we can talk back and forth about to find that great home I mentioned early. The reality is, you could spend years and years going to each and every city and township in the state of Michigan until you find the right one, and by then who knows what the housing market looks like, what your situation looks like at your current home, and where your job will take you, so in order to use your time efficiently and effectively, it’s a matter of doing a little due diligence ahead of time, and starting the conversation earlier rather than later. I get a lot of people commenting on my videos who say they’ve been watching for months and months and they are still on the fence about Michigan, because they don’t know where to go, but then we call, text, email or do a Zoom call and I break down everything I’ve spoken about here to really help people decide if this state is a good fit or not, sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't and that is completely okay.
So if you’re someone who is on the fence or are asking more questions, I have some answers for you, so feel free to reach out anytime and I would be happy to walk you through your thought process!
MENTIONED VIDEOS 🔗
→Buying A Lake Home In Michigan: https://youtu.be/mDViW2j28B0
→Buying My Lake Home: https://youtu.be/P3cghoVAuHg
→Knowing Your Water Rights: https://youtu.be/l71E4VdiHCM
→Living Off The Grid In Michigan: https://youtu.be/Fnxi56yhrZY
→Buying Land In Michigan: https://youtu.be/iFuiGVxbPM4
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.