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Possible move to Michigan

(13 Posts)
Ginnotgym Tue 31-Jan-17 13:13:44

My husband has been offered a fantastic job based for a global company in Michigan. Lots to consider in making this decision (I have a job I like in a career I've worked at for 15 years, plus I'm very close to my disabled mum who currently lives 1.5 hours away PLUS everything else that a massive move like this involves leaving behind)

Are there any Michigan mumsnetters on here? waves The company is based in Dearborn. Any recommendations of nice areas we should look to consider living within 45 mins (ish) of there?

The company have invited us to visit in the coming weeks which we are planning to do without our 3 yo DD in order to get the most out of it, so any advice on what to look out for while we're there would be appreciated.

Big thanks in advance x

KickAssAngel Tue 31-Jan-17 14:09:41

Hi, I'm in MI, just the other side of Ann Arbor.

I don't know Dearborn that well, but work with some people who live/grew up there.

What kind of visas would you be on, and do you know how long you would be staying?

What sort of area do you want to live in? (urban/rural/ethnicity/religion/social class/school choices etc).

What kind of budget do you have?

What do you want to be near (e.g. flights home, or work etc)

We've been here 8 years and generally I prefer it to the UK, although I do get homesick still. Currently I'm not liking it quite so much.

Dearborn has the largest muslim community outside of the middle east, so politics are pretty touchy right now.

Ann Arbor is very left wing, academic, guardian-reading white people.

If buying a house look at the taxes - they can be $20K a year, so they make a big difference to your budget.

Feel free to post a load of specific Qs and I'll do my best to answer.

Ginnotgym Tue 31-Jan-17 14:17:31

Thank you so much kicksssangel

Child just waking up so no time now but I'll def take you up on your kind offer later

Ginnotgym Wed 01-Feb-17 20:02:05

Hi Kickass

So re visas - I'm not sure on the detail, but the one the company's lawyers think is the best option (in terms of not getting turned down) would apparently mean I wouldn't be able to work, at least in the short term.

We live in rural Oxfordshire, but I commute to London currently - is there an equivalent? So small town - maybe middle-class, families, good schools - but within reach of larger towns.

I would like to be within an hour(ish) of a main airport if possible.

We'd be keeping our house in the UK so looking to rent in the US initially - with a budget of maybe $3000-4000 pm

Sorry to hear you're not loving it at the moment, but good to hear you have had a positive experience otherwise.

Thanks again for any advice/direction you can give.

Mich2005 Wed 01-Feb-17 22:42:06

Had to name change.

I grew up in Michigan and went to uni in Ann Arbor. It was mostly a lovely place to grow up! I haven't lived there for 20 years, but still go back fairly regularly to see family and every visit we reconsider whether we should move there.

Main airports will be Detroit Metro, Flint, and Windsor, Canada. There is one direct flight a day to Heathrow from Detroit. Otherwise, you'll end up changing in Toronto, Chicago or NYC.

Detroit is in a pretty sad state but has pockets of regeneration. Depending on what you are looking for, I would look start looking north and west of Dearborn with Ann Arbor being more important for city access than Detroit, especially if you won't be working. Maybe Saline, Plymouth or West Bloomfield area. There are some well-regarded suburbs to the East as well (Gross Pointe, Troy, etc.). is not an expat site, but the discussion forums by state can be very helpful.

It's cold and it snows a lot! A 45 minute commute can easily become more than that in the winter. Visiting in Feb/March is a good test visit. Summers are lovely and typically include visits to the big or small lakes, bbq and watersports.

KickAssAngel Thu 02-Feb-17 02:59:24

OK - depending which visa you're on can make a huge difference to you long-term. DH was on an H1B. That meant I wasn't allowed to do anything, even voluntary work, and we couldn't apply for a different type of visa without leaving the country and starting again. But it also meant that his company had to pay for the green card application.

DTW now has 3 flights a day, 2 by Delta and 1 by Virgin. They're direct to Heathrow. They're also pretty expensive - around $1,400 to $2,000 return each.

Flying out of Canada is way cheaper, about $500, but you'd need to check whether your visa allows you to re-enter via Canada. You also need permission to travel through Canada (go the Canadian website and apply online, it literally takes minutes, but you HAVE to have it).

Around Detroit there are some really nice places to live, you can use a website like 42.3475,-83.1306 42.3475,-83.1306 42.234,-83.4815 42.234,-83.4815 42.3475))&offset=1000&count=1000 this to get an idea.

While you're in the US ask a realtor if you can view some properties just to get your eye in. Housing is very different and what looks like a 'nice' area for the UK could be quite rough for the US as houses and cars etc are so much cheaper.

It sounds like you don't have to worry about school districts, but if it's in any way a possibility, check the school district carefully. It's an absolute cut-off by geography, so one house on a street could be for one school, and across the road could be for another. Schools are funded by the property taxes in an area so low taxes = low funding for schools. Only about 25% of people living in Detroit send their kids to state schools and they are quite literally falling apart, so don't get into the Detroit school district.

Personally I really like Northville and Royal Oak. Ypsilanti is very mixed. There's a big college there so some liberal middle class areas, but also shootings on a fairly regular basis. Some people live as far out as Brighton, but it would be quite a drive. Ann Arbor is lovely but would give you quite an urban drive through traffic.

When University of Michigan (UofM) has a football game, traffic is crazy. It's the 3rd biggest seated venue in the world - over 100,000 seats, but football is in the fall so not something to think about now.

And the winters are really cold - be prepared for -20C for a week or two at a time!

Out2pasture Thu 02-Feb-17 03:19:32

I lived in Midland Michigan 30 years ago, fantastic memories smile

KickAssAngel Thu 02-Feb-17 16:42:05

Obviously you know your situation best, but would refusing this jib have a long term effect?

Also - if your DH works for the 'obvious' company I'm thinking of , some people have to go to China for 2 years. Would he suddenly be part of that cohort?

Ginnotgym Thu 02-Feb-17 18:26:41

There hasn't been any mention of China at this's a very specific area he specialises in, but something I'm now definitely going to look into 😕

He works for a completely different company currently, and no real reason to leave his current role other than this being a brilliant opportunity for him (and
May burn some bridges for future opportunities with the new company if he didn't take the job, but wouldn't affect his role/or our lives as they stand.

KickAssAngel Thu 02-Feb-17 19:11:03

Check his holiday (personal days) allowance. My DH gets 15 days, and that includes bank holidays & sick days. It really limits our ability to go on holiday and visit home.

Ginnotgym Thu 13-Apr-17 07:37:18

Hi guys, not sure if anyone will see this, but we're off to visit next weekend.

Planning to look at some areas we could live in, schools, kindergartens etc

I'll have a full day on my own on the Monday - any ideas what I could do on my own for the day? We're staying at the Dearborn Inn.


Vagndidit Thu 13-Apr-17 09:32:42

Dearborn has Greenfield Villlage and the Henry Ford museum, both of which are really interesting. I'm quite jealous of your opportunity. I grew up next door to Michigan
( in Ohio) and I'd love to move back!

Ginnotgym Mon 17-Apr-17 12:50:37

KickAssAngel do you have any recommendations for stuff to do on a day in my own on Monday? X

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