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USA11B

Thinking about moving to Detroit area

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Here's the deal, I may have a chance to take another job with my company in either Detroit or Boston. Currently we live in Atlanta. I'm looking for some suggestions on areas of Detroit to live. We're leaning towards Detroit my wife and I both grew up in Lansing and all our family still lives in MI, so the homesick factor is definately there, plus Boston area is just so godawful expensive I'm not even sure if we could afford it.

I will be on the road in the Detroit area, so I won't be commuting to one particular place everyday. We can't wait to get out of Atlanta, we can't stand the phony Southern Hospitality BS, the sprawl, the big box on every corner, the blandness, the lack of anything original or anything with any character. I've heard from friends the Detroit area is becoming a lot like that (minus the Southern Hospitality part). We have kids, as much as I would love living in the city or maybe Hamtramck or Dearborn, there's no way I want to send my kids to the public schools there and we can't afford private, and of course crime is a factor.

So any recommendations of where to look? We can probably afford about 180-200k max for a house. Any areas that are safe good places to raise kids that aren't going to go to hell over the next years because of sprawl? Sprawl-burbs around Atlanta basically good schools, low crime, but then every area is cheesy McMansion Subdivision-->Super Wal-Mart-->Home Depot-->Applebee's-->then it starts all over again. Definately want to avoid areas that are headed in that direction!

I can probably go out as far west as Ann Arbor, as far north as Flint and maybe as far south as Monroe.

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Since you will be going to different areas and you want to have good schools, I would say Sterling Heights. I would much rather see you move to Detroit and commute to a better school system, but that just me. There are not many areas in Metro Detroit that don't have what you don't want. Even Detroit is beginning to get that. I can't really give you a good suggestion.

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I meant to post this last night, but my internet went out, anyway...

You are right about not sending your kids to Detroit schools. Despite, my love for the city. I have to admit that many except for a couple vastly need improvement. Anyway, there's some areas on the fringe of the city that have some beautiful well kept neighborhoods, with nice sizable yards. My recommendation is Sherwood Forest. I'm not sure when the neighborhood was built, but it has some beautiful historic houses that go for fairly reasonable prices. Your kids can also be sent to good schools close by.

It kind of sounds biased of me to suggest Ann Arbor, but I can't argue against it. It's a city of its own that seems to have broken from gloom that has facaed many large Michigan cities in the past decades. So while other cities are undergoing their renaissance, Ann Arbor has achieved its full vitality. The downtown has some real character. It's a pricey place to live, but there are good schools, nice neighborhoods, beautiful parks, and walkable business districts. Most of the sprawl in the AA area is within a controlled zone between Ypsilanit and AA. You'll still have your targets, home depots, etc if you need them, they just seem less noticeable when living in AA. All of those locations have convenient bus access as well.

I'll warn you there aren't too many communities within the Flint area that have not yet become sprawlyburbs. Granted, not the phenomenal growth as Detroit suburbs, but still a lot of sprawl and boringness.

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Sterling Heights is very far north/northeast deep into the sprawl of which you are trying to escape -- in fact that's probably true for all of Macomb County. I'd look at the inner ring suburbs (there ARE some affordable homes in the Grosse Pointes too) and Ann Arbor is a special place altogether (an actual city, yet with good public schools), if it's seriously not going to be too out of the way for your commuting destinations.

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There are good parts of Detroit, of course. You'll have to do some research on the schools (there are websites that have school ratings on them, and you can look up schools by city I think) so that your kids don't end up in one of the bad ones. There's also school of choice, where your kid can go to a different school in that county. There are also private schools. I'm not sure on how much they cost, but I think it's probably cheaper than most private schools. I don't think their quite as elite either. It's a big city area wise, so there's a lot to look over. The roads are kinda bumpy, but depending on what you're buying you can walk down to the corner store anyway. :thumbsup:

St Clair Shores is where I live. South Lake High School, is, imo, one of the best high schools out of the eastern suburbs area. I was in quizbowl, and when we played "away games" we got a pretty good feel for the other schools, and their layouts and classrooms were generally more depressing, oppressive, and they had confusing layouts. The south side was built in the 50's and the more north you go was built later on, so the more north you go, in general the more suburban it will be (this goes for all of the suburbs). The southsides of the inner ring suburbs are basicly like continuations of Detroit in my opinion since the follow the same road schemes, similar lot sizes, etc, but the architecture styles are 10 years newer.

Grosse Point is nice, and pretty close to downtown, and belle isle. It's also close to St. Clair Shore's marinas if you like boating. I don't know about the educational record of the schools, but the buildings are generally beautiful. From what I understant they have picky ordinances that keep you from having certain lawn ornaments and you'll certainly be running into some snobby elitist types.

I don't know a whole ton about Royal Oak, but they have a nice little downtown thing going with some independent theaters and some bars and restaurants. I don't know anything about their schools, but I met some people from there and it seems like they have a nice film and video department.

Harper woods is small, and is ok. Driving through, some parts of it are nice and some parts of it don't look too great. It's also home to Eastland Mall, which I believe is one of the first enclosed shopping malls ever (and I think either westland or northland was just plain the first mall).

I don't really reccomend Warren. The south side is basicly like Detroit, except it's mostly white people instead of mostly black people. There's crime, not that great of schools, and the air smells funny. The north side of Warren is really suburban (huge avenues, strip malls, big boxes, huge avenues).

But my advice is kinda shaky, so I reccomend flying up, renting a car, and driving all over the place. It might take a whole day to do that, but I think you'll be more comfortable in whatever choice you make if you see everying else first.

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Here are the top 15 school districts in the Tri-County area:

1. Grosse Pointe Public Schools

2. Birmingham City School District

3. Northville Public Schools

4. Grosse Ile TWP Schools

5. Bloomfield Hills School District

6. South Lyon Community Schools

7. Troy School District

8. Novi Community School District

9. Rochester Community Schools

10. Plymouth-Canton Community Schools

11. Trenton Public Schools

12. Brandon School District

13. Clarkston Community School District

14. Berkley School District

15. Riverview Community School District

These might be a bit too pricey for you:

1. Grosse Pointe

2. Birmingham

4. Grosse Ile

5. Bloomfield Hills

These are the suburban sprawlburbs you're not looking for:

3. Northville (nice downtown surrounded by sprawl)

6. South Lyon (nice downtown surrounded by sprawl)

7. Troy

8. Novi

9. Rochester (nice downtown surrounded by sprawl)

10. Plymouth-Canton (nice downtown surrounded by sprawl)

12. Brandon

13. Clarkston

These are what you might be looking for:

11. Trenton

14. Berkley

15. Riverview

I think you're best bet is Berkley, especially if you're job takes you all around the metro. It is centrally located in the metro, has easy acces to I-75 (north and south) and I-696 (east and west) It's also located along the Woodward corridor (metro Detroit's backbone).

The homes in Berkley were mostly built in the 40's and 50's, and there is a quasi-downtown along 12 Mile Rd. (Though downtown Royal Oak is only about 3 miles away if you're looking for something a bit more exciting) The only downside is that many of the homes in Berkley that are under $200,000 are barely over 1,000 sq. ft. So if you need a lot of space, you may not find it for under $200,000.

These are some homes that you can find for under $200,000:

$199,900 (1,314 sq. ft.)

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$194,900 (1,404 sq. ft.)

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$180,000 (867 sq. ft.)

026086370.jpg

$179,900 (1,000 sq. ft.)

026070862.jpg

$149,900 (1,046 sq. ft.)

026065861.jpg

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Other inexpensive inner-ring cities with good schools are:

- Redford (South Redford School District ranks 16th in the region)

- Royal Oak (22nd in the region)

- St. Clair Shores (South Lake Schools rank 29th in the region; Lake Shore schools rank 39th, Lakeview Schools rank 48th in the region)

- Clawson (37th in the region)

- Allen Park (38th in the region)

- Ferndale (41st in the region)

- Northern Madison Heights (Lamphere Schools rank 43rd in the region)

- Eastpointe (47th in the region)

- Northern Warren (Warren Consolidated Schools ranks 49th in the region)

BTW there are 83 school districts in the Tri-County area.

The ones that rank near the bottom are:

83. Highland Park City Schools

82. Pontiac City School District

81. Westwood Community Schools (Eastern Inkster)

80. Ecorse Public School District

79. Inkster City School District

78. Detroit City School District

77. River Rouge School District

76. Lincoln Park Public Schools

75. Madison Public Schools (Southern Madison Heights)

74. Hamtramck Public Schools

73. Fitzgerald Public Schools (Southwest Warren)

72. Van Dyke Public Schools (Southeast Warren)

71. Clintondale Community Schools (Clinton TWP, near Fraser)

70. Southgate Community Schools

69. Taylor School District

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Thanks for all the replies so far! hudkina, that was some awesome info, I had never even thought about Berkely, Trenton or Riverview! Definately start checking those areas out now.

Off the top of my head here are some areas I've been looking at, I would appreciate any feedback. Really I'm just basing off of some areas I've been before, and where I know people from, so I may be way off base for what we're looking for.

Livonia - good: prices seem to be reasonable, seems to have good schools, close to Detroit

bad: seems to have bad sprawl

Hamtramck - good: I love Hammytown, very cheap prices, have heard its undergoing a renaissance

bad: crime, schools, Islamic prayers broadcast throughout the city 8times a day, f*d-up govt.

Allen Park - good: cheap prices...don't really know much else about

Dearborn - good: decent prices, really neat old brick houses, close to Detroit

bad: crime, good place to raise kids, schools, impression its a mecca for Arabs and nobody else

Troy - good: great schools, low crime, close

bad: expensive, kinda sprawly, really cliquish soccer mom types of people

Warren - good: cheap housing

bad: have heard it's pretty ghetto, schools are bad

Ann Arbor - good: would be awesome place to live in many respects

bad: housing seems to be out of our range, hard finding anything under 200k, long commute

Lincoln Park - See Allen Park

Utica - good: great schools, good place to raise kids

bad: a little more expensive, seems kinda cliquish/snobby

Shelby Township - good: great schools, good place to raise kids, can get more acreage

bad: expensive, soccer mom suburbanites, far commute, becoming sprawly-burb

Walled Lake - see above

Clinton Township - see above

Huron Township - good: affordable housing, don't know much else

Any opinions on these? Am I off base or accurate on some of these areas?

Any insight appreciated!

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hudkina, i replied before i saw your post about the schools. I figured that about some of the areas, especially Hamtramck and Detroit.

Roayl Oak, I forgot to mention we are looking there also, although I wonder if it's too expensive?

I'm suprised Clinton Twp schools are that bad...WOW, I would have never thought that...

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"undergoing a renaissance" - everywhere has going through a renaisance forever :lol:

Also, I think most cities have enough variety in housing prices that you'll be able to find something in your price range. There are $200,000 homes in Grosse Pointe too. Also remember about Grosse Pointe, that it isn't actually one city, it's half a dozen or so tiny little cities.

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Gargh, I suggest you pick up some prime real estate Between Mack and Gratiot (Inner City) and toughen it out :P

But honestly, I'm not very familiar with the suburbs, just wanted to pop in to say welcome!

But this is what I do know...

Livonia; i would schtay away. Extremely homogenized and horrible sprawl.

Gross Pointe; expensive, very, very snobby. Just look at the contrast between them and East Detroit, which is just a stones throw away.

Ok never mind, I could say negative things all day, but I would say that anywhere in Northwest Detroit (sans Brightmoor), Ferndale, Royal Oak, Harper Woods, and St Clair Shores may be what you are looking for.

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Just look at the contrast between them and East Detroit, which is just a stones throw away.

Arguably the most famous contrast between rich and poor in Michigan. Nowhere else can you find the richest of the rich just living a couple blocks from the poorest residents in the region. Just thought I'd chime in LOL.

Glad you are finding some useful info USA11B.

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so does that make it like gentrification?

ok joking........ Honestly I think the most affordable place would be metro Flint. Flint has hit rock bottom, and really has only way to go but up. Sure it has sprawl. But it has some great communities. Look to Fenton, Linden, Schwartz Creek, and Davison. Goodrich, and Ortonville too. They are a little further out than the inner ring suburbs. Or even the outer ring for that matter. But what you have here is easy access to a couple metro areas. In Fentons case three. You're close to the more rural woodsy areas and all the urban amenities. Good Schools too. I guess the problem is that these places are becoming exurbs. So then you probabally wouldn't want to live there.

I have a question though, what would it take to make people happy about suburbia? I thought the natural order of things was that as cities expanded outward, suburbia, and sprawl were a natural occurance. To be honest pretty much anywhere in Southeast Michigan is going to have some form of sprawl. I think Metro Atlanta, is kind of the poster child for it. It's American Culture, the path of least resistance. You have to admit suburbs are easy. Affordable, and easy to get around in, and since corporate America provides products that people want. You get suburbia, with all the sprawlmart fasion. Sprawl is everywhere, even in New England. I understand about the waste of land, but if you ask me Detroits suburbs, have some of the nicest amenities that you can find anywhere in the country. There is nothing in Metro Detroit, that you cant find in LA Chicago or New York. All the same fashion, fine dining ect. It may lack character, but if that's what you're looking for, depending on how you define it. You're going to be unhappy here. The city used to have the same feel as a Boston or New York, all the glamour and fashion. It's a shell of it's former self, all the money, and the power exists in the suburbs. If you ask me though, Detroits burbs, Macomb countty, the sprawl is very well organized and well kept. It takes people of change to help buck the trend. All I hear is everyone beotching about it and it's starting to weigh on me. I love Detroit, I love Metro Detroit, the Traffic, the shopping. The Freeways. I know i'm in the minority. But living out in AZ now, and I'm more than proud to tell people where I come from. Phoenix doesn't even compare to Detroit. Detroit is a great city. Michigan is a great state, be proud to be from there, and don't let people talk it down.

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Here's a suggestion:

Any thing that ends with the word "township" is going to have nothing but Atlanta-style sprawl. So unless you want to trade one sprawlburb for another, I suggest you stay away from townships. (With the exception of Redford TWP.;))

Granted there are cities that have masked their "township" identity by becoming a city. Those include : Novi, Troy, Sterling Heights, Farmington Hills, Livonia, etc.

Overall, if you're looking for something with character you should stick to the core. (Especially if you don't want to be stuck in traffic all day.)

Of all the cities you listed, the only ones that are really worth looking into are Allen Park, Warren, and Dearborn.

Livonia, Troy, Utica, Shelby TWP, Walled Lake, Clinton TWP, and Huron TWP are mostly sprawlburbs. They mostly have good schools (Troy is ranked #7 in the region) but unless you want to only see Home Depot, Super Walmart, or Applebee's I suggest looking elsewhere.

Ann Arbor is too far away from the rest of the region, and its far too expensive. The schools are great, but you can find better schools closer to Detroit.

Hamtramck and Lincoln Park have two of the worst school districts in the region and while you could live in Lincoln Park and send you're kids to Allen Park or Riverview schools, I'd just assume live in Allen Park or Riverview. One good thing about Lincoln Park is that you'll get the same house that you'd find in Trenton or Allen Park at a much lower cost, and considering crime isn't that bad in the city (especially in the southern and western neighborhoods) as long as you are willing to drive your kids to school every morning you can live in Lincoln Park.

These are where I suggest you look if you want good schools:

Birmingham[(though the housing is severly overpriced, the schools are some of the best in the region)

Grosse Pointe (you can find some inexpensive housing near the Detroit border, and the schools are some of the best in the region)

Royal Oak (downtown royal oak is in the midst of gentrifying and the schools aren't bad either)

Northern Madison Heights (Make sure you are looking within Lamphere Public School district.)

Berkley/Huntington Woods (Berkley isn't as expensive as Royal Oak, and it has better schools)

Ferndale/Pleasant Ridge (Ferndale has decent schools and decent neighborhoods with housing that costs a lot less than Royal Oak)

Eastpointe (similar to Ferndale without the "fashionable" shopping district)

St. Clair Shores (there are three school districts to choose from, the southern-most district ranks the highest, but it's also the most expensive)

Clawson (you're halfway between the urban oasis of Royal Oak and the sprawltopia of Troy)

Northern Warren (Warren Consolidated Schools are decent schools and the housing in northern portion of the city is a lot less expensive than similar housing in Sterling Heights)

Southern Redford (South Redford School District is one of the better school districts in the region and the housing is fairly inexpensive)

Dearborn Heights (Crestwood School District is also a decent school district and you're not far from Westborn, a thriving entertainment district on Dearborn's west side)

Allen Park (centrally located in the region with decent schools)

Riverview (Great schools with a wide assortment of housing to choose from.)

Trenton (Great schools, though the housing is a tad on the expensive end)

If you move here we can be neighbors!;)

001029891.jpg

Wyandotte (the schools are decent, but if you are looking for charm, you won't find anything else like it in the region.)

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Arguably the most famous contrast between rich and poor in Michigan. Nowhere else can you find the richest of the rich just living a couple blocks from the poorest residents in the region. Just thought I'd chime in LOL.

Glad you are finding some useful info USA11B.

That's funny because I used to do lot's of work in the Detroit area. Often times I would have to run between Flint, Pontiac, and Detroit in a day or so. Usually I would go from SW Detroit and hop onto Woodward and rid it up to Pontiac then take 75 up to Flint.

I could never get over the way Woodward Ave. changed...literally one minute, Highland Park & northern Detroit, it looks like your in frickin' Beirut, then less than 10min later I'm driving by multi-million dollar homes in one of the richest areas in the U.S.

I always found it to be quite sad. I have loved MI and Detroit all my life, it really is sad the way things have not been able to come together to fix the Detroit area.

As much as I know how bad Detroit is, it really pisses me off to always here people's reaction when you just say the word Detroit.

Without Detroit America wouldn't be what it is today! I truely believe Detroit is one of the top 3 most important cities in the history of our country. It's really sad to see what it has become and the hopeless attitude that it is going to stay that way!

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I always found it to be quite sad. I have loved MI and Detroit all my life, it really is sad the way things have not been able to come together to fix the Detroit area.

As much as I know how bad Detroit is, it really pisses me off to always here people's reaction when you just say the word Detroit.

Without Detroit America wouldn't be what it is today! I truely believe Detroit is one of the top 3 most important cities in the history of our country. It's really sad to see what it has become and the hopeless attitude that it is going to stay that way!

can I get an Amen.

I have taken it upon myself to educate the people I come into contact with about how things really are there. In AZ people think that Michigan is a crime ridden poor welfare state. It blows them out of the water to know that Michigan has almost twice as many people, and is one of the wealthiest states in the country in terms of per capita income. Far above their own. But it's a media perception. Even with unemployment being highest in the country. The state is still wealthier than most, it's just going thru an inevitable economic transition. And without a doubt, America would be far different without the Gritty hard working economical machine that litterally drives the country, Detroit. Without the cores industries in Detroit, cities that have support sevice sectors like Minneapolis would be far smaller and less significant.

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That's funny because I used to do lot's of work in the Detroit area. Often times I would have to run between Flint, Pontiac, and Detroit in a day or so. Usually I would go from SW Detroit and hop onto Woodward and rid it up to Pontiac then take 75 up to Flint.

I could never get over the way Woodward Ave. changed...literally one minute, Highland Park & northern Detroit, it looks like your in frickin' Beirut, then less than 10min later I'm driving by multi-million dollar homes in one of the richest areas in the U.S.

I always found it to be quite sad. I have loved MI and Detroit all my life, it really is sad the way things have not been able to come together to fix the Detroit area.

As much as I know how bad Detroit is, it really pisses me off to always here people's reaction when you just say the word Detroit.

Without Detroit America wouldn't be what it is today! I truely believe Detroit is one of the top 3 most important cities in the history of our country. It's really sad to see what it has become and the hopeless attitude that it is going to stay that way!

The change on Woodward isn't all that stark in comparison to the stark change along Jefferson between Detroit and the Pointes where the difference isn't just visible at street level, but from the air:

http://terraserver.microsoft.com/download....1734:11732&z=17

The change on Woodward up around Palmer Park, the cemetary, and even the fairgrounds seems mild and tame in comparison, IMO.

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"Dearborn - good: decent prices, really neat old brick houses, close to Detroit

bad: crime, good place to raise kids, schools, impression its a mecca for Arabs and nobody else"

I think the Arab presence is much stronger on the east side than the west side of Dearborn (Eastborn vs Westborn). They are mostly concentrated in the peninsular piece of Dearborn that's surrounded on three sides by Detroit.

Also, re: Berkley, I think it's kind of a mediocre little place but it may be mediocre in all the right ways that you're looking for. You can probably afford a nice house in a traditional neighborhood and be able to walk to the restaurants, a real grocery store, and small shops on 12 Mile and you'll be really close to Woodward.

And I wouldn't rule out affording Grosse Pointe.

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Hi, USA11B and we would welcome you with open arms here in Michigan!

Below is my "2 cents worth", comments & suggestions:

1. Try using www.bestplaces.net to compare cities.

2. You can get free demographic reports from here: www.easidemographics.com (you have to register to use it) or go to www.semcog.org for Southeast Michigan community demographics.

3. Try using http://classifieds.yahoo.com/index.html?tab=real (You can do a search by city to get an idea of the home prices from the current

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I would have never thought of suggesting Ann Arbor on my own, but that is a great idea, if it would work for you commute-wise. You can be in the Detroit area, while living in a true core city with low crime, good schools and not a big sprawl problem, prefect!

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I would have never thought of suggesting Ann Arbor on my own, but that is a great idea, if it would work for you commute-wise. You can be in the Detroit area, while living in a true core city with low crime, good schools and not a big sprawl problem, prefect!

If commuting is not an issue - Bag the entire east side of the state and move to Grand Rapids :thumbsup:

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If commuting is not an issue - Bag the entire east side of the state and move to Grand Rapids :thumbsup:

LOL thanks for the suggestion, I actually have a cousin that lives in GR. As many nice things as I've heard about GR, it just reminds me way too much of the South...Ultra-conservative, ultra-religious, ultra-sprawl...EXACTLY what I can't wait to get away from!

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I think your best bet is Hunginton Woods/Royal Oak/Berkley. It has the closest thing to a critical mass of intellectuals and young couples in the area. It is close to the Zoo and downtown Royal Oak, Ferndale, and not too far from Detroit..the prices are reasonable the communities are close knit and nice parks, etc, DEF better than downriver or outer ring sprawl

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I wouldn't say they are definately better than downriver. In fact Downriver is basically the same thing as the Royal Oak area. Wyandotte could compete with Royal Oak on many levels, and the waterfront location is a plus.

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I suppose you are right, and actually I shouldnt speak so definitely about downriver since I have very limited exposure with those locations... but the school systems are significantly better in the nothern suburbs. It also seems like (i could be wrong) that if he desires to escape the "southern hospitality" whatever, he would be better suited in RO/Hungington woods/etc...where there are alot more young liberals or young intellectuals and younger couples with small kids (idk how old ur kids are)...also u might want to check out the northwest part of Southfield or Beverly hills...in east beverlyhills u can find some houses in ur prices range (check in the pierce area, or like 13+greenfield). It is centrally located between RO and Birmignahm and close to 696/m-10 and like 15-20 min from downtown. I live in west beverly hills, which is probably out of ur price range (but I live with my parents, Im 18) but it is an awesome community with a great park for kids (beverly park) lots of awesome community activities for halloween, good athletic clubs etc...and in the Birmginahm schools which are absolutely outstanding. the west part of southfield (try between 12 and 13 on evergreen) is in the Bham school district and may be to ur liking $$ wise

some Beverly Hills properties that might interest u (all in bham schools) (around 7min from downtown bham)

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$177,000

026069440.jpg

$159,900

026044114.jpg

$199,000

026008799.jpg

$195,000

026064722.jpg

$174,900

I can post some from Southfield if you want

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