Owning Land In Michigan: Pros & Cons | askBAMLand

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The state of Michigan offers many excellent opportunities to purchase and own land. So, purchasing and owning land in Michigan, what are the pros and cons?

The main thing to consider when purchasing land in Michigan is that Michigan is a complex state with several different distinct regions from sprawling urban centers like Detriot and Grand Rapids, college towns like Ann Arbor, and the gorgeous river valleys and lakes of Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Because of this, owning land in one area of Michigan can be a completely different experience than owning land in another.

Some of the main advantages to purchasing land in Michigan are the fact that there is so much water, fertile farmland, and stunning scenery for outdoor enthusiasts. Some of the main disadvantages of purchasing and owning land in Michigan include high property taxes as well as a harsh winter climate.

Even considering some of the disadvantages, many people find Michigan to be a wonderful place to purchase and own land where properties maintain their value and where farming can be plentiful, and the landscapes are gorgeous. However, before making such a large purchase and investment into a plot of land, what are some things that you may want to be aware of about Michigan?

Let us take a look at some of the main advantages and disadvantages of owning land in the state of Michigan as well as some of the hurdles someone may face when going through the process. Also, what areas of Michigan would be considered ideal for purchasing land based on what the intended use of the land looks like.

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What are the advantages of owning land in Michigan?

Many people come to Michigan when they are looking to purchase and own land because of the bountiful water resources the state has to offer. The state of Michigan borders four of the five Great Lakes. At the same time, Michigan possesses many of its own internal lakes and contains some of the best recreational rivers in the country. If you own a boat, or you are thinking about owning a boat, Michigan has some of the most beautiful coastlines in America.  It would be a dream to own a parcel of land near one of the many white sand beaches along the coast of Lake Michigan. Also, if you are an avid angler, then you should know that all of the lakes and rivers in and around Michigan offer some of the most exciting fishing opportunities in the entire country.

Let us take a look at some of the main advantages of owning land in Michigan.

Nature and outdoor recreation

As mentioned before, Michigan has so many lakes and rivers as well as access to four of the Great Lakes that if you are a boat owner or someone who likes to fish a lot, then you could spend decades exploring all the different bodies of water that Michigan has to offer. On top of that, with all these majestic lakes and rivers comes a lot of beaches and coastline. Michigan has some of the best beaches in the Midwest including white sand beaches and giant sand dunes on the coast of Lake Michigan in the western portion of the Lower Peninsula. Places like Traverse City and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are a must-see for anyone spending any amount of time in Michigan.

Also, if you do not own a boat, there are plenty of places where you can rent boats or hire a captain to take you out on Great Lake fishing charters. Take a four-hour or eight-hour tour around the lake and catch some of the biggest and best trout and salmon you have ever seen.

Aside from fishing and hitting the beaches during the hot summer months, there are plenty of forests, hiking trails, campgrounds, and recreational areas in every corner of the state. In the winter months, you could invest in an ice house if you would like to ice fish or maybe purchase a snowmobile to hit the hundreds of miles of trails scattered across the state. There are also cross-country ski trails, some smaller ski resorts, and plenty of ice skating rinks if any of those appeal to you and your family.

One last thing worth mentioning about some of the outdoor recreational opportunities that the state of Michigan offers is that there are hundreds of islands located throughout the Great Lakes that can be accessed from the coastlines of both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. Some islands have daily ferries that go back and forth from the mainland or you can kayak to the islands as well.

Fertile farmland

Although Michigan has a shorter growing season than much of the United States, once the last frost dissipates sometime between April 15th and May 31st, depending on where you live, the land is extremely fertile and rich. If you are looking to purchase land in Michigan to create a hobby farm or plant vegetables, then in spite of the shorter growing season, you can be a successful farmer with plenty of farmer’s markets, restaurants, and wholesalers to sell your product. Some of the best vegetables to grow in Michigan are sweet corn, broccoli, lettuce, green beans, carrots, zucchini, squash, and peas. You can also learn to time your veggies out in accordance with the local climate by planting lettuce, peas, and spinach early in the season during cooler weather, and tomatoes, peppers, and melons later in the season with hotter weather.

Even if you are not looking to purchase arable land to start a hobby farm, owning any land and being able to grow a diverse selection of vegetables is incredibly convenient. You can help lower your food bill, have your own access to nutritious food, and can and jar produce from the garden to have a winter stash. Gardening is a healthy and enjoyable way to spend time outdoors, reduce stress, and take charge of your diet and nutrition.

Property values maintain

Although property values can be volatile in many parts of the country, specifically places like Las Vegas, Florida, and Texas, the property value in Michigan is quite consistent and not as susceptible to market fluctuations. The one main exception to this is the fallout with the collapse of the auto industry in communities like Flint and Detriot and the suburban sprawl that made urban property values crash. However, in recent years, there has been a dramatic revitalization and repurposing of many of these harder-hit communities that have seen a rise in property values. For example, just between 2020 and 2021, the average residential price increased by almost 30% in the Detriot metropolitan area.

What are the disadvantages of owning land in Michigan?

Although Michigan does have a lot to offer for people looking to relocate and purchase land, there are still some downsides that should be considered as well. For example, if you are not a fan of paying taxes, then you may be better off looking for land in states like Florida, Texas, and Wyoming with no state income tax or Alabama and Colorado with some of the lowest property tax rates in the country. Also, Michigan is infamous for having extremely harsh winters that can break the spirits of even the most strong-willed residents.

Here are a couple of the main disadvantages of owning land in Michigan.

High property tax rate

Out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Michigan comes in at 38th for the lowest property tax rates in the country. That means there are 37 other states, including the District of Columbia, with lower property tax rates. The average home in 2022 in Michigan was around $154,900, and with a property tax rate of 1.54%, the average homeowner in Michigan will pay roughly $3,343 in property taxes for the 2022 tax year. Some of the other states that pay higher property taxes included Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, and New Jersey. Ultimately, Michigan is ranked the 14th highest when it comes to property tax rates.

One thing to keep in mind is that some homeowners in Michigan may be exempt from paying property taxes in Michigan if they are qualifying senior citizens, have a disability, or are a veteran. If any of these situations apply to you, it may be in your best interest to take a deeper look into what types of property tax exemptions may apply to your specific situation.

Harsh winter climate

Although Michigan may not have as extreme winter temperatures as other states like Minnesota and North Dakota, it still can get pretty cold in the winter. As the Great Lakes can do a good job of not letting temperatures hit arctic levels by creating a lake effect, the lakes can also provide the perfect atmospheric conditions to dump incredible amounts of snow all over the state. This is especially true in the Upper Peninsula where temperatures can also hit arctic levels in the months of January and February.

If you are looking for a nice place to purchase land for your retirement home, then Michigan may not be top on the list if you plan to live there year-round. If you are older, the winters can be brutal if you are responsible for removing snow from your property and if you are looking to maintain a more active lifestyle later in life.


Brittany Melling

Brittany Melling

Brittany has been in the land business since 2020 when the world was starting to shut down. Since then, we’ve sold to dozens of people from ATV weekend warriors to camping enthusiasts to retired truck drivers. Our inventory spans mostly in the western United States. We’ve been trained by experience, land acquisition courses, and hundreds of hours meeting with county assessors and clerks, zoning officials, realtors, and land investors. We’ve answered hundreds of questions from people regarding the buying and use of land.

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