Author Topic: Calling Michigan Mustachians!  (Read 2583 times)

fdubz

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Calling Michigan Mustachians!
« on: November 12, 2015, 07:26:36 AM »
I have the beginnings of what I think could be an excellent career opportunity shaping up in East Lansing.  However, I've lived in the same town in Virginia my whole life, love my current job, and am terrified of letting go of the familiar and comfortable for something totally different, even if it could mean a much higher salary.  Cue face-punches for letting emotions make irrational life decisions, I know.  The job could be awesome, but I love my current job. The money could be great, but we're doing ok here.  These are all things I need to give more thought to.  My DH is ok with his job, but doesn't make as much as he could elsewhere, so he is excited by the possibility.  I'm currently make 45k, DH is at 35k, and we invest right about 48% of our income.  So a bump in pay without a significant climb in living expenses could greatly accelerate FIRE.

What I'm hoping to get from you all is honest opinions on East Lansing as a place to live (socially, financially, weather-ly) and Michigan as far as taxes, etc.  What would be a good professional rental community?  One of my first stops as I begin my research was to look at the mustache map, and I was excited to see a few! :) 

Thanks in advance for your time and input!


mikedom

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Re: Calling Michigan Mustachians!
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2015, 07:45:55 AM »
I just moved to Lansing and am working in East Lansing (as is my wife). We moved here for my job (engineering company that was once affiliated with MSU, but no longer is) and my wife found a job after being here for ~1 month.

We moved here from Providence, RI and before that we were in Ann Arbor, MI. We are really liking the Lansing area so far, there are a lot of good biking groups to get involved with, it's super flat, there are a few good bike trails, and it sounds like there are a lot of year-round bike commuters. We can bike to downtown Lansing or East Lansing entirely on off-road trails.

The cost-of-living here is much cheaper than Providence and Ann Arbor. We pay $800 for a 3 bedroom house (it's ~900 sqft) in Lansing. The city of Lansing has a 1% income tax, East Lansing doesn't (but I assume that increased property tax/rent would make up for that). We wanted to be bike-able to lots of stuff and that's why we are where we are. I'm sure moving out of city limits or to one of the surrounding townships would be cheaper, but at this point we can both bike ~6 miles to get to work along the Lansing River Trail and through campus. The state of Michigan has similar income tax to that of Rhode Island, but I can't comment relative to Virginia.

The weather is getting cold and I'm sure the snow will be here soon. We've both lived with harsh winters our whole lives so it's normal for us, you'd have to make that decision for yourselves.

People are very friendly around here (at least the people I've interacted with). PM me if you like.

Good luck! What does your husband do?

Dartwa

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Re: Calling Michigan Mustachians!
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 03:16:24 PM »
I lived in Michigan my whole life until the end of September just a month and a half ago. Our most recent rental house was in Fowlerville, which is pretty close to being in the country, and we'd often commute over to Lansing (~25 mins away) for shopping/eating.

East Lansing is home to Michigan State University, which has a student population of about 50,000. The way I see it, living in a college town has its advantages and disadvantages. On the plus side, it's very bike friendly (a rarity in Michigan) and there's a lot of local businesses that are open late. On the other hand, bars are way too crowded, and the cost of living might be really high around campus (especially rentals). Good luck getting around on football Saturdays. Taking the university out of the equation, East Lansing is a fine enough city, and the state capitol (Lansing proper) is right next door, but you won't find much other than farmland surrounding it.

I'm not sure what your living expenses are like in VA, but in my experience, Michigan is fairly low compared to the national average in terms of housing, and right in the middle when it comes to taxes. Auto insurance is much higher for some reason.

Socially again, I don't know what your experience is like in VA I find Michiganders to be generally friendly, but a bit... gossipy? Especially compared to my new neighbors in Colorado. Maybe this is just my experience in suburban areas, especially ones in upper middle class areas. This is probably mitigated somewhat by East Lansing's proximity to a college campus, where I find people to be more open-minded and liberal, but I'm not sure if this is a positive or negative in your book :) Michigan is usually a blue state when it comes to elections, but we're a bit socially conservative, which bums me out.

Weather-wise, it's basically gray and cold from late October-mid April, with snowfall from November-March. Weather swings around a lot though, possibly because of the lake effect from the Great Lakes. Last winter we had a chain of -20 degree days, the year before was a record-setting snowfall year, but the year before that, it seemed to barely fall below the 40s and 50s. Lots of salt on the roads in the winter. The summers are hot and humid, but there are a ton of lakes around for cooling off, and I've generally found them quite nice... that is until I moved to a low humidity area and realized how miserable the humidity can feel by comparison.

There's some beautiful scenery in Michigan if you go along lake Michigan on the west side of the state, or up to the Upper Peninsula, but you'll get the full effect in Summer and Fall.

I don't know any good rental companies in the area (ours was a nightmare and I wouldn't recommend them), but if you have any other questions, I'd be happy to help!
« Last Edit: November 12, 2015, 03:19:57 PM by Dartwa »

skeeder

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Re: Calling Michigan Mustachians!
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2015, 10:19:20 AM »
Welcome to Michigan!

I've lived in the Lansing Area for most of my life.  Lansing is a donut city.  Stay outside of the Lansing general area and you'll be okay.  East Lansing is the exception since the great university and the higher than normal taxes has kept that area pretty well when the whole economy went belly up.  Places to look for renting: Holt, Mason (bit longer of a drive), Haslett, Williamston, maybe Okemos then tend to be a bit more there. 

Socially, East Lansing has lots to offer.  Good food (compared to the rest of Lansing--it is not a Chicago however), lots of MSU based sporting events, concerts at the AUG/Breslin Center, rivers, and miles of trails.  Very bike friendly part of town thanks to the school.  1 hour away from Detroit and 1 hour away from Grand Rapids (my favorite city in Michigan).  Most people I know that like that side of town prefer to rent in Okemos.  It keeps them a little out of the 20 age group and the added traffic that comes with it.  They pay a little more than other areas, but it is a really nice area.

Hope this helps.



dudde_devaru

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Re: Calling Michigan Mustachians!
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 10:51:20 AM »
Keep lot of $$$ for car insurance. I mean a lot! That is going to surprise you or maybe even scare you. MI is the highest in auto insurance premium's thanks to the Ffging crazy no fault insurance :/

seth314

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Re: Calling Michigan Mustachians!
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2015, 03:05:50 AM »
Little help needed from the Western Michigan Mustachians. My wife and I (and soon to be first-born baby) are moving to the Grand Rapids area next year. We've never lived there and are looking for a fixer upper house, something to flip after two years. Any suggestions on neighborhoods that are rising in price would be greatly appreciated. We're looking to spend $50k-$125k on this first house. We've successfully flipped two houses in Pittsburgh and are moving to MI to be closer to our families.

On the flipping side, I do most of the work, sell the house through the MLS on my own, and would be happy to have fellow Mustachians over to learn stuff and teach me stuff.

Thanks, in advance, for your time and knowledge.
 Sincerely,
   Seth

YTProphet

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Re: Calling Michigan Mustachians!
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2015, 07:08:34 AM »
Housing in Lansing/East Lansing is pretty cheap. It'll most likely be cheaper than anywhere in moderately populated areas of Virginia.

As one poster noted, though, car insurance is crazy expensive in Michigan. Even if you don't have comprehensive/collision insurance on your car, it's still super pricey since most of the cost is due to the liability associated with unlimited medical coverage (if someone gets hurt in an accident they get unlimited medical coverage for the rest of their life).

skeeder

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Re: Calling Michigan Mustachians!
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2015, 10:39:40 AM »
Little help needed from the Western Michigan Mustachians. My wife and I (and soon to be first-born baby) are moving to the Grand Rapids area next year. We've never lived there and are looking for a fixer upper house, something to flip after two years. Any suggestions on neighborhoods that are rising in price would be greatly appreciated. We're looking to spend $50k-$125k on this first house. We've successfully flipped two houses in Pittsburgh and are moving to MI to be closer to our families.

On the flipping side, I do most of the work, sell the house through the MLS on my own, and would be happy to have fellow Mustachians over to learn stuff and teach me stuff.

Thanks, in advance, for your time and knowledge.
 Sincerely,
   Seth

I lived there for 5 years...I miss it dearly. 

I can't speak to the real estate market in GR, I wouldn't recommend just jumping into it without waiting...our prices are much lower than that of PA. 

Depending on what you want there are many options.  My personal favorite location is Grandville, it is just outside of the big city, but near two highways so you don't travel very far to get on the expressway.  I have also lived in Wyoming and Kentwood areas...those are pretty good but have good and bad neighborhoods.  Downtown is very hit and miss...it is literally street by street.

Hope that helps.