Moving to Ann Arbor, MI...

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#1
...will be a thread I start if Kate has her way :)

We're coming up on a major life decision point. Kate's finishing her PhD (she WILL make me call her Dr. Kate, just watch :rolleyes:) and once that's done, she has to go to another lab somewhere to do her "post-doc" 4-5 year research deal before she can start looking for "real" jobs teaching.

She's been looking for a few months now and seems to have found one that looks extremely good at UM.

Anyone got any jobs up there? Thoughts? Comments? Where are the rest of y'all in relation to Ann Arbor? Where should we live/not live?

What're the wheeling prospects like? :eek:

I'm happy to do what she likes in terms of what's best for her career, I'm not a career-driven person, I just want a nice job that makes money to spend on Jeeps :thumbsup: so moving (other than the hassle) isn't a big deal to me. I'd also not complain too much about having a real winter, not this 40 degree rain all the time :banghead:

Anyhow, curious to see what you folks think.
 

kohldad

SOA Member
City
Goose Creek
State
SC
#2
I'd also not complain too much about having a real winter
We are knew you were nuts because of your trek to get the postal, but that's absolutely crazy. Have you seen the temps up that way lately?

You sure will be have a long road trip for the December run in Uwharrie.:D
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#4
I've never minded cold. I'm of the opinion that, unless you're in somewhere that it doesn't get below 50, you ought to have a real winter and snow. I loved winter in Philly while I was in school, it was great.

I was in Tucson this weekend and loved playing golf in short sleeves, but they don't have to deal with 40° rain and 1/4" of ice. So that's ok.

Here, we have to put up with the ^#@%$^&%@# disgusting summers and get no good snow in winter to make up for it, just cold rain and ice.

I will shovel/snowblow if I don't have to have 100° days with 100% humidity and smile while I do it :D


Now Kate on the other hand :eek: I'll be installing seat warmers in EVERY vehicle :D That's why I know she must be REALLY serious about this... there's no way she'd voluntarily live that far north without very serious motivation!
 
City
Grand Rapids
State
MI
#5
Eric,

You'd only be 2 hrs. from me. I guess that's far enough that you wouldn't be scared out of making the decision to come up this way. ;) I can't provide Ann Arbor-specific information, but can give you some general Michigan info. There is a HUGE local Jeep scene here (greatlakes4x4.com), but the wheeling locations are a little limited. Most people go to the Mounds (featured recently in Jp Magazine). Drummond Island is also popular.

Housing is cheap, as the auto industry and recent Phizer layoffs have saturated the housing marketplace.

I will mention that the Michigan economy has been, and will continue to be, somewhat rough.

Craig
 

matnic

Scrambler-in-Progress
City
Rapid City
State
MI
#6
2 words: PLOW VEHICLE!

Once you get used to it, it isn't that bad. My Dad was born and raised in Texas and came up here about 35 years ago. Every winter right around this time, he says he wants to get the h3ll out of here and go back south, but every year he loves the springtime, the "comfortable" summers and the beautiful falls.

Not sure about jobs options in the southern part of the state (I live near Traverse City, near the "pinkie" of the state)...I would advise staying away from the auto industrie, they way it has been going lately.

Keep us posted on the possible move!
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#7
The auto industry would scare the bejeezus out of me now, I'd never feel safe at a job along those lines.

Have to pick up a 10a to make into a plow vehicle :D
 

SCWorm

hillbilly born-n-bred
City
Fort Mill
State
sc
#10
My condolences

Well, I understand doing what you gotta do in life, we all face it from time to time. But Eric, really now - you're in a serious state of denial if you're rationalizing ways to justify winter in Michigan as being a better deal over the humid summers, and 45 days of winter weather/rain we have here in the Carolinas. :p

I grew up in the mountains of WV (I thought I recalled you mentioning once in a thread that you did too), and winters were cold and it snowed plenty in the mountains - although I doubt it rivals neither the severity nor length of Michigan winters. And although I admit I miss the beauty of a freshfallen snow, and.........uh................skiing, yeah I miss skiing too. Not much else I really think Michigan, WV, Maine, Alaska or any other cold weather location could offer me with regard to winters. Well, in high school we did use to go to the National Guard Armory parking lot and get the car up to about 80mph and pull the emergency brake and spin round and round - I guess that was kinda fun too.

Good luck. Talk about it a lot with your wife, and pray - you'll know when the time comes what the right decision is. I'll pray for you to.............that she finds a job in Dixie :D
 

John N

Addicted....Ex-SOA VP
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
SOA Member
City
Rockville
State
VA
#11
I miss snow too, but.......

I've missed the snow enough to go out and buy a snow blower yesterday (hey, it was a real deal) to keep my snow plow company. We haven't had more than an inch of snow in 3 years here. By averages, we're supposed to get 13" each winter. I guess that means we'll get about 48" next winter :D , I'm ready!

Eric, you want to get you a deal on one too? They had 2 more in stock.:D
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#13
SCWorm said:
Well, I understand doing what you gotta do in life, we all face it from time to time. But Eric, really now - you're in a serious state of denial if you're rationalizing ways to justify winter in Michigan as being a better deal over the humid summers, and 45 days of winter weather/rain we have here in the Carolinas. :p
Ah, but you have to include the MANY days in summer that I CAN NOT STAND and JUST DON'T go outside because it's beyond what humans should endure. Humidity is right up there with ticks and mosquitos in my book...:rolleyes:

I don't think you understand that I don't mean that I just dislike the heat and cold rain, anyone who knows me knows that I really, truly HATE it. This is a deep resentment here.

I also take issue with "45 days of winter", any time between Thanksgiving (and often earlier) and the first week of March (it snowed on my birthday, Mar. 6 once WOOT) you can have freezing weather and it tends to yo-yo around.

The WORST is that when it is cold, and you think it might actually snow, the same fronts/winds that bring moisture bring the warm air and you get ice and cold rain. That drives me NUTS! Nothing but snow should fall from Thanksgiving to my birthday :thumbsup:
 

revho

$9.00 vanilla malt
LIFETIME
CJ-8.com Member
City
beaverdam
State
MI
#14
like Craig said. The economy around here isnt the best ever. Lots of jeeps...alot less wheeling. Salt and chloride on the road in the winter eats through jeeps in a hurry.

On the other hand, michigan could use another postal...
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#15
A big part of this that I didn't get into is the very real chance that I can work remotely for the company that I currently work for. Our company is doing quite well and I would be THRILLED to be able to work from home, I've done it before and I'd bet I'm MORE productive when I do.

I'd look at somthing new if I could move up in pay/title/etc or found that "perfect" job, but for now, my plan would be to do the telecommute thing.

Salt does worry me because I don't really have the postal in great shape body-wise and I just like my vehicles....

Other than the economy, what would you call the quality of life/cost of living? This is one thing I do like about down here (as long as weather isn't considered ;))
 

cj7fun

Basic User
City
Monroe
State
MI
#16
I work in Ann Arbor. :cheers:

bigwalton said:
Anyone got any jobs up there?
Depends what you do. The U of M is hiring like crazy, Pfizer is not. My employer has a few positions open (sales, programming, engineering) what do you do?

Thoughts? Comments?
Ann Arbor is your typical college town brimming with dirty hippies that haven't left for Colorado yet. It's the liberal hub of Michigan and tries to keep up with San Francisco and Berkley regarding political and social matters. There are a lot of excellent restaurants, none of which serve good BBQ. What qualifies as good BBQ in Michigan is usually an over-grilled chunk of meat swimming in Open Pit sauce.

Where are the rest of y'all in relation to Ann Arbor?
I'm in a rural area ~32 miles south/southeast of A2 (yuppie speak for Ann Arbor)

Where should we live/not live?
How far do you want to commute, how much do you want to spend- or which features would you prefer to have?
A2 (remember, yuppie lingo) is has a population of ~30k. Select Saturdays during the late summer and fall the population briefly swells to 140k. If you want to live in town, A2 has a lot of charming neighborhoods with outrageous taxes. If you want 1+ acres, it's available within 30 miles of the city center. The absurdity of your property tax will depends on your township.

What're the wheeling prospects like?
Closest legal ORV area is the Mounds, ~90 minutes north. It's mud pits and tight ATV trails. Silver Lake State Park (sand dunes) are ~3hrs west, state and federal forests are ~2hrs west or 3hrs north, Badlands in Indiana is ~5hrs, Sault Ste Marie Ontario, Ca is ~6hrs north, Turtle Ridge ORV Park on Drummond Island is ~6hrs north, various spots in KY are 5-8hrs. Oh, in MI we tend to judge driving distance in time, so be prepared.

what would you call the quality of life/cost of living
The quality of life around A2 is very good. There are a lot of activities for all ages, good schools, clean community, lots of art and entertainment. The cost of living will probably be a shock to you (unless you're coming from Charlotte). Cost of living isn't too bad thanks to our wonderful auto-dependent economy, but probably comparable to what you see in Charlotte's suburbs. As previously mentioned, it's a buyers market for houses. People are accepting low ball offers so they don't have to go in to foreclosure.
 

Scott_P

Legacy Registered User
CJ-8.com Member
City
Benzonia
State
MI
#17
Mi

BigWalton,
I can't same much about A2 that hasn't been said, but I can attest that the NWLP (northwest lower peninsula of MI) and the UP (upper peninsula of MI) are beautiful areas to visit. I am fortunate enough to live in the NWLP and make a comfortable living in the engineering field. A chance not taken is an opportuniy lost.

Scott
 
City
White Rock
State
NM
#18
Good luck with whichever way she goes, I understand needing to live somewhere where SHE's happy, regardless. I've been here much longer than would have been my preference because the wife didn't want to leave (and she didn't have any job, much less as a post hole digger!) and I wouldn't dump her and the kids.

There are numerous cost of living comparators and quality of life comparators on the web.
 

bigwalton

Picture cravin' AK Postal nut
Staff member
SOA Member
City
Dexter
State
MI
#19
this is some great stuff... thanks folks!

I've poked around on the different calculators and they're all over the place. In general, I think they're fairly worthless unless you do a bunch of them and take the average. Some say more expensive and some say cheaper. That's why I like asking in a place like this.

I currently work at a marketing/advertising company, but my learnin' is all engineering (structural, mechanical and ocean). I took this job becasue my company specializes in industrial/high-tec clients and it appealed to my creative/writer side.

The wheeling sounds about the same as here, other than Uwharrie (1.5 hrs), I'm a good 5 hours from anything else (with the possible exception of JohnN's new spread).

We want more than half an acre, 1 would be ideal, where I could build a shop (or a place that had one already). With the snow/winter there, we won't be able to get away with our current setup up (2 car garage, Postal and Waggy in there with the DDs in the driveway). I'd want the DDs in the garage in the winter.

We're not city folks, and I WILL NOT have a HOA ever again. So rural is preferred. My only concern would be Kate having to drive a significant distance to the U of M medical center where her lab will be. I'd like to keep that commute as short as possible, but the area/property (and schools for LJ) will be most/more important than that proximity.

We found a SWEET old school house on an acre 6 miles from kate's lab last night. It was quite literally perfect for us with the exception of being on what looked like a fairly main road, but we really liked the place. Lots of good space for Jeep junk/shop with an existing 2 car oversized garage. :thumbsup: Think it will be available in 8 more months?
 

cj7fun

Basic User
City
Monroe
State
MI
#20
If you didn't know already, MI has a 6% sales tax for all retail purchases except groceries. We also have a state income tax. If you live within the Ann Arbor city limits, you'll have to pay a city tax. You'll learn to hate our governor.

If you want the land and a short commute for your wife, you'll be attracted to the US-23 north corridor. The areas north and west of the US-23 and M-14 roads are, IMHO, the nicest areas of southeastern Michigan. The area is covered with trees, peppered with lakes, and has many public parks with public lake access. If you're in to mountain biking, there are ~5 different trail systems (from easy to very technical) within 20 miles of north Ann Arbor. The downside of the area is that you'll pay higher property taxes residing in Washtenau County and the stretch of US-23 between Ann Arbor and Brighton is heavily travelled- get to know the back roads or be patient.

A couple bits of advice when shopping for a home:
  • Avoid living in Wayne County if possible. The county seat is in downtown Detroit. Let's just say that dealing with them is not pleasant. Because you're under the Detroit's umbrealla, you'll pay higher property tax and significantly higher home/auto insurance.
  • In Washtenau and Livingston County (north of Ann Arbor along US-23) you'll pay a premium for property tax. Auto and home insurance rates are slightly less than Wayne County. Most of my coworkers live in these areas.
  • If you're willing to commute 20-30min, look to the north west corner of Monroe County. The area is very rural, insurance and propery taxes are very low compared to Wayne, Washtenau, and Livingston Co. Milan is ~25min due south of Ann Arbor along US-23

It is very possible that 6-acre home you found could be available in 8-mos. The Michigan real estate market is oversaturated. People are fleeing this state or are being forced to downsize their lifestyle. Homes aren't selling very quickly unless the home is in forclosure or the buyer cuts their throat. A few homes in my area, which was booming a 6 years ago, have been on the market for well over a year.

Almost forgot.... If you enjoy hunting, fishing, boats, and camoflauge Cabella's has a 250k sq ft store in Dundee- ~20 miles south of Ann Arbor. If you're a history buff you must visit http://www.hfmgv.org/
 
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