"I think Michigan keeps you sane and on an even keel through the ups and downs. In Michigan, I do fireworks, shovel snow and live life."- Jeff Daniels plant
Life in Michigan

Michigan is a place where Midwest charm meets an ever-present will to survive. Frigid winters, serene summers, and the storied grit of the motor city make living in Michigan an ever-changing and adaptable adventure. It will put hair on your chest and at the same time allow you to gaze upon romantic scenes of nature in untouched portions of the state.

Stay For a Bit

For those that face the daunting task of moving to the state, rest easy the hard work has been done already by real estate folks who pride themselves on their uncanny ability to sell residents on apartments and homes of all persuasions.

Craving a large rental apartment in Michigan? You've got it. Seeking a single-family, two bedroom home that will allow you a rent to own option? Score. Just find a trusted local and begin the hunt.

It also helps to have a car; homeowners often rent without going through agents and their properties can be secured by calling the number on those nifty little yard signs you'll gaze upon while winding through city blocks.

To settle in, make certain to save for rent and deposit as well as having references from prior landlords or a cosigner who is willing to back you up in the off-chance your credit isn't squeaky clean. Steps for acquiring a place to live are the same here as many other locations nationwide. Most apartment complexes ask that you make a certain salary each year to qualify, or have a cosigner.

Explore the options and narrow down your locale. Some cities to consider in the process are Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, Traverse City, and Detroit.

Places to Check Out

Ann Arbor: Cultured Community.Ann Arbor has a diverse and bustling city center brimming with seasonal markets, live music, pubs with character, and pristine walking trails. When seeking shelter here, remember that walking can get you many places around town. City center will likely involve dwelling with roommates in a four-bedroom home or allow you to live solo in an apartment above a boutique. Residents here often patron Comet Coffee for a pick-me-up and Babo deli for lunch. All other roads in town seem to lead to Zingerman's, home to legendary sandwiches and house-made fare.

For affordable housing outside of city center, search just off Packard Road at Randolph Court Apartments. Ranch-style units provide spacious one and two bedroom layouts, and the management is caring and fast to act on any maintenance needs. Nob Hill Apartments are also superior to most in the area. These cost-efficient vintage or contemporary units are available to suit any budget.

Walk, bike, drive, or dust off that old skateboard -- Ann Arbor is a city friendly to most modes of transportation, including Amtrak and the local bus lines that allow locals to get across town quickly.

Royal Oak: A Lively 'Burb.Putting on the Ritz and dazzling Michigan residents for decades, Royal Oak is a hot spot full of nightlife and adventure. Enjoy fine dining with Ronin Sushi Bar and Restaurant, see some exotic animals at the Detroit Zoo, and bask in the beautifully manicured lawns and main streets make up this Detroit suburb. The welcoming committee is ready to take on new residents with a Stepford Wife smile and a blinged-out iPhone.

There are parks, a farmers market, ice arena, and plenty of places to get an evening pedicure.

Rent here can be steep, but lower-cost luxury options can be found at Amber Park, which features one and two bedroom apartments for rent complete with a fireplace, hardwood floors, and up-to-date amenities.

Traverse City: Tranquil Town

Escape from the norm and experience Michigan's north side. Traverse City is a small town with an expansive culinary/craft beer/wine scene. It's a hot spot for wine lovers who visit L.Mawby or Shady Lane Cellars in search of the most amazing regional grape run-off. The beauty is also unprecedented with glistening lakes, a plethora of wildlife, and green trees that give way to blazing fall colors once a chill hits the air. Local dining spots of note include Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, Cook's House, and Stella. Residents head downtown for their morning (or evening) cup of java at Brew, a comfy coffeehouse that hosts live music most nights.

Live in the town and gain bragging rights to the beauty that surrounds you. Friends and family will visit, and visit often. Secure an enormous apartment in town for half of what you would in cities around the state. Large properties reside at Village Glen, where comfort and a practical, homey vibe reign supreme. Not too many bells and whistles, but for the price, the space, and a bit of decorative creativity, this may be the best bet.

A car is necessary, and a habitual thrill for all things out of doors will also help -- to live this close to nature and not partake in it would be a shame. Sunday drives out of town and up both peninsulas add to the excitement of living someplace new. Among the most exciting are weekend runs to Fish Town for some smoked fish spread to serve up at your housewarming party.

Detroit: Rising From Ruin

Detroit gets a real bad rap. The media, locals from the burbs, politicians, and pesky documentary makers like to portray the city as a lost cause. However, it's an expansive town, with so much to offer it shouldn't be overlooked. Prices on homes and rental properties are the best around and the build-out of downtown businesses and apartment complexes is rejuvenating this once-lost city. The residents are proud, the music scene loud, and the history unparalleled. Move in while the rates are low, get cozy with the neighbors, and start a revolution. When you get sick of the city, just drive via tunnel or bridge to Windsor, Ontario, for a less-urban getaway.

While perusing properties, steer clear of abandoned facades and look to the revitalized downtown, surrounded by Joe Louis Arena, the new ballpark, and a bevy of bars and restaurants to satisfy even the most insatiable of appetites. Living in the city center allows for access to culture and a thriving public transportation system -- something lacking in some smaller communities in the state, which rely mostly on transportation via personal vehicle.

Apartments are plentiful in this section of the city and most were built just decades ago. FYFE Apartments excel in granting renters spacious units with a view, close to area attractions, and well maintained. Located across from the Grand Circus Park and a short walk to the famed Fox Theatre and Detroit Opera House, location is key and rent is a steal!

The Michigan Way

Michiganders love sports and they root for the underdogs. The Lions, the Tigers and (no, not bears) the Pistons are their pride and joy. Once in a while they have a team that excels -- namely, The Red Wings. This hockey club is no stranger to the Stanley Cup and its players are awfully proud to call Michigan home.

The state is also quite diverse and the scenery is comprised of either mid-century brownstones in the city, retro facades in the burbs, or cabin-esque A-frames in small towns near the lake. Whatever your heart desires, you'll likely find it in Michigan.

MI Renter Confidence Survey
National study of renter’s satisfaction with their cities and states

Here’s how MI ranks on:

Overall satisfaction
Safety and crime rate
Jobs and career opportunities
Recreational activities
Quality of schools
Social Life
Commute time
State and local taxes
Public transit

Overview of Findings

Apartment List has released Michigan’s results from the third annual Apartment List Renter Satisfaction Survey. This survey, which drew on responses from over 45,000 renters, provides insight on what states and cities must do to meet the needs of 111 million American renters nationwide.

"Michigan renters expressed general satisfaction with the state overall," according to Apartment List. "They gave most categories average or near-average scores."

Key findings in Michigan include the following:

  • Michigan renters gave their state a B- overall.
  • The highest-rated categories for Michigan were commute time, which received a B+, and state and local taxes, quality of local schools, affordability and recreational activities, which all received B grades.
  • The areas of concern to Michigan renters are weather (D) and social life and jobs and career opportunities, which both received C+ grades.
  • Millennial renters are unsatisfied with their state, giving it an overall rating of C, while renters who are parents are equally unsatisfied, also giving it a C.
  • Michigan did relatively well compared to nearby states including Ohio (C+) and Indiana (C), but earned lower marks than Illinois (B+) and Wisconsin (A).
  • Michigan did relatively poorly compared to other states nationwide, including California (A-), North Carolina (A-) and Florida (B+).
  • The top rated states nationwide for renter satisfaction include Colorado, Alaska, South Dakota, Idaho and Minnesota. The lowest rated states include Wyoming, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia and Louisiana.

Surveyed Cities in Michigan