4 Tips For Buying a Home in West Michigan
2022 February 9
They call it “Pure Michigan” for a reason. It’s a beautiful and unique state; the perfect place to call home. Whether you’re looking to live in a big city environment, a rural paradise, or something in between, Michigan has something for every hopeful home buyer!
Why Buy A House In Michigan?
Whether you’re currently residing in Michigan and planning to buy a home for the first time, or if you’re looking to move to the state, Michigan real estate can be a solid investment.
Homes in Michigan are notably affordable, and see a slightly higher than average amount of appreciation, according to the Freddie Mac House Price Index (FMHPI).
For the United States as a whole, the current Freddie Mack House Price Index (FMHPI) currently sits just below 206 (measured against an index of 100 in December of 2000). In Michigan, it’s 137. While homes nationwide see an annual appreciation rate of about 6.7%, according to the FMHPI, Michigan homes experience a rate of 7.1%.
Further, the median home value in Michigan is $146,200, while the U.S. has a median value of $204,900, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Those are numbers that any potential home buyer can get excited about!
And in addition to its affordable real estate, Michigan is also densely-packed with cultural offerings and is a nature-lover’s dream.
Find a Real Estate Agent in Michigan
A great local real estate agent will be your primary ally in the home buying process.
Aside from finding and showing you houses, they will also make recommendations for other services that you’ll need, such as lawyers, lenders, and escrow companies. Once you find a house, it’s your realtor who will continue to make sure you get a great deal.
We suggest you take the time to research different agents who are experienced in your preferred part of town and price range. Pay attention to realtors’:
- Years of experience
- Number of transactions in the last year (the more the better)
- Experience in your price range and preferred neighborhood
- Overall review score
- Individual reviews and complaints
Once you have a list of 3-5 potential agents, schedule times to interview them and see if they’d be a good fit. Ask them questions about the neighborhood you’re looking at (school system, trends in property values, any planned developments) to see if they have the knowledge and experience to help you make an educated decision.
Learn About Michigan Property Taxes
In Michigan, property taxes are generally due twice a year: once on July 1st, and again on December 1st.
Taxes are paid in advance, which means that home buyers will need to reimburse sellers for a prorated portion of the property taxes the seller has already paid.
The tax rate you’ll pay will depend on exactly where you live in Michigan, but the average effective property tax rate for Michiganders is around 1.58%, according to a WalletHub analysis.
Learn the Laws for Lakefront Properties
If you’re buying lakefront property in Michigan, be sure to understand how much of the lakefront is included with your property.
When it comes to ownership of lakefront or water-adjacent property, Michigan property law refers to something called “riparian rights”. Basically, it’s a question of who owns the shore, who legally has access to the water and who owns the land beneath the water.
In practice, riparian rights allow lakefront property owners to do things like build a dock on their shore, and prevent them from doing things that impede other owners’ or the general public’s ability to use the water.
The lake life is an important cultural aspect of living in Michigan, so be sure you understand your rights when you purchase a home on the lake!
Know Where Your Water Comes From
In Michigan, many homes receive their water supply from private household wells rather than a municipal supply. As a homeowner, you’ll need to regularly maintain your well to ensure it stays clean and is working properly.
If you’re considering buying a house that has a well, you’ll want to ensure that it’s been inspected – you may need to hire an inspector who specifically handles wells, in addition to a regular home inspector.
Some Michigan counties require well and septic system inspections prior to a home sale. The responsibility for this typically falls on the seller, who is then required to make any necessary repairs before closing. Your lender may require this type of inspection as well.
Another concern is that Michigan has higher levels of arsenic in its groundwater than many other areas. Be sure to have the home’s water supply tested and, if arsenic levels are beyond what is deemed safe, consider the cost of having filters installed.
Eagle Creek Homes
Eagle Creek Homes is among the top West Michigan home builders. Our transparent custom workflow involves clients in every step of the homebuilding process, ensuring that their vision stays on track while also staying within budget.
If you’re ready to start bringing your dream home to life and want to discuss our process or customization options, request a new custom home build consultation today! If you’re planning to build a home in West Michigan, we have multiple housing development communities with plots that are ready to built on.
For something more immediate, browse our move-in ready homes featured on our site!