21 Feb, 2024

How to Choose the Best West Michigan Neighborhood to Buy a House

There are many wonderful places to live in West Michigan, but finding the neighborhood that suits you best is a decision that shouldn’t be taken...

There are many wonderful places to live in West Michigan, but finding the neighborhood that suits you best is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. When buying a house, essential elements to consider include school districts, price range, proximity to your workplace, and more. 

We'll go into more detail in this blog and help you figure out how to choose a West Michigan neighborhood that's right for you!

Choosing the Best West Michigan Neighborhood For You

Here at BlueWest Properties, we know that finding your dream home can be overwhelming. When you’re also trying to decide the best neighborhood to purchase property in, that’s a whole other task!

Read on to learn more about important factors when deciding what area to settle in. Is living in a new development important to you? Are you searching for a home that’s closer to the beach? Do you have children that will be attending school in the district? These are all crucial things to think about! Let’s dive in. 

How To Choose a West Michigan Neighborhood: 7 Deciding Factors

1. Your Budget 

Anytime you're making a significant investment, you must keep your budget at the front of your mind. Work with a broker and a trusted local lender to examine your income and decide exactly how much you can afford. After establishing a down payment amount and purchase price you're comfortable with, only look at homes in neighborhoods within your budget. Don't tempt yourself by looking in a community outside your price range. 

Another cost to factor into your budget is taxes. Always take note of a city's property tax rate and how much it’s increased in the last five years. It’s also helpful to find out if more increases are expected. 

2. School District

Whether you plan to have children in the future or are currently a parent, finding a place to live within a well-performing school district is something you should prioritize. So, how do you determine a “good” school district from a bad one?

State test scores and other data can indicate if a school is performing well. If extracurricular activities and sports are important to you or your child, consider the options offered. Also, determine what transportation the district provides to and from school and consider how that will affect your kids. 

According to Niche.com, the best school district in West Michigan is Forest Hills Public Schools, followed by East Grand Rapids Public Schools and West Ottawa Public School District. 

3. Crime Statistics

No one wants to live in an area where they can't feel safe in their own home. Before investing in property, search for neighborhood crime rates and statistics online. Some towns may only have general information, but most larger urban areas should have detailed crime reports. You can also contact the local police station; they should be more than happy to help you with the info. 

According to NeighborhoodScout.com, the three safest Grand Haven neighborhoods are Grand Haven East, Agnew, and Grand Haven Southeast. 

4. Nearby Activities and Businesses

How do you like to spend your free time? The best neighborhood for you will differ if you prefer spending time outdoors and going on hikes versus exploring new shops, restaurants, and bars. When you're house shopping, look into how close you'll be to the activities and attractions that make you happy.  

In addition to businesses you appreciate for leisure, you'll also want to be close to places you need for everyday life – grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, and more. If convenience is important to you, you might want to choose a neighborhood close to where you'll be running most of your errands. 

5. Proximity to Work

In today's world, more people are starting to work from home. Are you someone who still goes to work in person? If so, where you work in relation to where you live is a factor to consider. Some folks don't mind a lengthy commute; others prefer a short drive. That is something you will have to think about. If you need public transportation to get to work, look into that as well.

6. Distance to the Beach

In West Michigan, you have the amazing luxury of living close to the beach if you’d like. Some popular areas near the lakeshore include Muskegon, Grand Haven, Holland, and more. If being by the beach is something you’ve always wanted, one of these coastal towns would be perfect. 

If you’d prefer to avoid beach traffic and stay closer inland, that works, too! There are many exciting West Michigan neighborhoods to live in that are more inland, like Grand Rapids. 

7. Historic Neighborhood vs. New Development

Historic neighborhoods are cherished for their character and beauty, and are often found in charming communities with picturesque tree-lined streets. These homes can require lots of repairs and maintenance, though, and can be governed by strict standards from community associations. 

New developments have modern features and home upgrades and are usually move-in ready. They might be further away from the center of town, though. Weigh the pros and cons of historic versus new development and decide your preference. 

Discover Your Dream Home in West Michigan with BlueWest Properties

West Michigan is a fantastic place to live for people from all walks of life. If you want to buy a home here, contact one of our real estate agents at BlueWest Properties. Our team of agents live, work, and play right here in West Michigan. We call Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Muskegon, and Grand Rapids home, which means we know exactly where you're searching and what you're looking for. 

Are you ready to begin the next chapter of your life? Contact us today to get started!