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    Renter’s Guide to Moving to Detroit

    1 year ago · · Comments Off on Renter’s Guide to Moving to Detroit

    Renter’s Guide to Moving to Detroit

    Justin Becker

    Updated: January 26, 2022

    Are you planning on moving to Detroit? It’s an important place when it comes to American history, specifically music and the automobile industry. It is the home of Motown music and is America’s Motor City.

    Detroit Skyline, Detroit, Michigan, USA

    Over the years, Detroit, MI is slowly becoming an attractive proposition due to its thriving arts and culture scene, immense job opportunities, affordable living, and great market value for money when it comes to the rental market.

    With that said, all its glory isn’t without a dark past. Underneath all the new-found glimmer, there have been significant setbacks in Detroit’s history, including massive layoffs, high crime rates, and a substantial drop in population.

    Downtown Detroit

    Backed by a robust, loving community and dedicated homeowners, this American destination is once again one of the favorite places to live and work in America.

    Moving to Detroit

    If you have not visited Detroit over the recent years, there are a few things you need to know if you are looking to settle into this side of the country. The automotive city has had a complicated past, and you don’t need a local to find this out.

    It was first founded in 1701 by French traders, where it got its name from the French word “strait.” It wasn’t until the 19th Century that it finally got to its peak as an industrial hub for automotive assemblies. Currently, it has a population of about 670,000, a medium-income of $31,000, and an expense of living index of 104.2.

    The Rental Market

    Apart from its past, Detroit, MI is quite a unique American destination. It’s inconsistent shrinking and booming still has an impact on the rental market.

    It’s important to note that when the automotive industry in the city was flourishing, many residents became homeowners. Due to this, it is perhaps the only destination globally with many single-family detached homes.

    Historic buildings in Downtown Detroit, Michigan

    Did you know that Detroit, compared to many other cities in the U.S., has a disproportionately small amount of apartment buildings? Those looking to settle in this American city still have many condos, duplexes, triplexes, and lofts that they can rent, averaging $500 to $2,000 in rent.

    Living Costs in Detroit, MI

    As stated before, Detroit is slowly growing in popularity because it is an affordable destination. The living cost is 3% lower than the national average.

    Detroit, MI Fisheye

    Renters have an abundance of apartments to choose from that go for less than $2,000 a month, with a majority of daily residential expenses priced reasonably, too.

    According to Payscale, it’s housing expenses are 6% lower than the country mean, utility costs at 2% higher than the national average, healthcare at 6% lower than the U.S. average, and public transportation prices 8% higher than the national average. The median home price is $326,527, the median rent is $1,023, and the median energy bill is $171.18.

    Detroit Woodward Ave


    The most favorable means of transport is by car. However, America’s motor city, Detroit’s transportation, is 8% percent higher than the U.S. average – which is controversial. A good thing about the transportation system is, since it was designed around the automotive industry, the streets were built to cater to a lot of traffic.

    If you are not a fan of driving a personal car, the public transportation isn’t widespread, it strictly covers the entire southeastern portion of its state. However, the transportation department (DDOT) operates a bus service that is the best way to get in and around the city.

    Detroit City Scape

    The State Department of Transportation (MDOT) also runs a separate service known as the QLINE, which works along Woodward Avenue. In Downtown Detroit, you also have the option of using a People Mover, which is an elevated rail system.


    It doesn’t matter where you live in the state; you’ll have to pay state and federal taxes. You can learn more about the different kinds of taxes here.

    The sales tax added on most goods and services is 6%. Typically, the price on items you see doesn’t include the sales tax.

    In the case that you plan on owning a home, you will be subject to property tax, which is dependent on the size and Detroit area you live in. You can get more information about property at your local city hall. In case you decide to downsize from a house to an apartment, you’ll still need to pay a real estate transfer tax.

    Aerial view of downtown Detroit at sunset in Michigan

    Top Neighborhoods

    There are many good neighborhoods, such as West Village, for individuals moving to Detroit. However, before you move into a neighborhood anywhere in the world, it’s essential to do thorough research to find out the pros and cons.

    Detroit manhole cover

    Depending on which neighborhood you pick, some might be great for young, single people looking to enjoy a vibrant restaurant and nightlife, while others are perfect for families.

    The best neighborhoods are friendly, diverse, have a good public school system, along with private schools, and feature tight-knit communities. Apartments in these regions vary in style and size, and prospective renters or buyers can find anything from studios to 3-bedroom apartments or houses for rent. Please note that these apartments tend to rent out quickly due to high-demand.

    Detroit skyline in Michigan, USA at sunset


    Downtown Detroit is the fastest-growing neighborhood, making it a great destination, and it offers an abundance of recreational facilities. Residents here have access to Elwood, Lafayette, Greektown, Rivertown, Lake Erie, and the Detroit River, just to name a few fun areas.

    One must-see attraction here is the Guardian Building, which is a landmark skyscraper in the U.S. Those who pick this location won’t have a shortage of entertainment spots, restaurants, and outdoor activities.


    Midtown has art, culture, music, and a higher learning setting. It’s the ideal neighborhood for those comparing apartments to rent.

    Here you’ll find the best restaurants, especially if you are seeking Detroit style pizza, a fun calendar of cool stuff to do throughout the week, and outstanding attractions, like the Detroit Institute of Arts, a world-class institution, as well as the renowned Wayne State University.

    Detroit Panorama


    Located on the westside of Downtown Detroit, Corktown is one of its oldest regions and is quite affordable. While being old, it’s also one of the trendiest, boasting coffee shops, BBQ joints, and breweries. It’s a popular neighborhood for both the young and old alike, and holds a rich history.

    Detroit city center.

    Eastern Market

    If you are a fan of shopping, this is the neighborhood for you. The Eatern Market Detroit area offers a unique shopping district with a terrific dining scene. New settlers will fall in love with the largest open-air farmers market in the U.S. It’s an eclectic community filled with excellent housing, bars, restaurants, and a great shopping district.

    Grocery Detroit

    Things To Do in Detroit

    There’s a lot of great things to do here. Detroit has a world-class shopping and dining district, a lively theater scene, and close-knit communities. If you are moving to Detroit, there are several things you can do, including:

    It is a Biking Haven

    Detroit is flat and filled with bike lanes, making it perfect for biking in and around the big city. The city hosts dozens of biking activities, both leisurely and competitive. For example, on Monday nights, hundreds of cyclers get involved in a slow-paced tour known as the Slow Roll. The Detroit Bike City Group organizes the event.

    Visit the Zoo

    Perfect for a family fun trip, the Detroit Zoo has friendly attractions for animal lovers of all ages. Visitors have the chance to see live gorillas, tigers, kangaroos, and giraffes. You can also enjoy a 4D show.

    Detroit Zoo

    Shop at the Market

    The Eastern Market is the largest indoor and outdoor farmers market in the country, and the best of it is that it is open all year round. The Eastern market is an excellent place for residents to do their weekly grocery shopping. Perhaps a unique thing about this market is during the warmer months it is more of a carnival than a market, with music and flower vendors making it a marvel to experience.

    Best Bookshops

    Detroit is no doubt the mecca of books. A visit to the four-story John K. King Used and Rare Books is a spot that is filled with amazing literary treasures. It has such diverse literature that visitors are literally given maps to navigate the different sections on each floor.

    Detroit Opera House

    This is one of the best of many theaters you can find in Detroit. This grandiose building is home to Michigan Opera Theater. It is also close to cultural sights and overlooks Grand Circus.

    Opera House

    Motown Museum

    Perfect for music fans, while offering historic and exciting exhibits. Once upon a time, the building that hosts the museum was also known as Hitsville U.S.A, a historically famous music recording studio.

    Charles H. Wright Museum

    Founded in 1965, the Charles H. Wright Museum is home to the world’s largest permanent exhibit of African American history and culture.

    Little Caesars Arena

    In case you are into sports, Little Caesars Arena is one of America’s newest arenas. It’s a triple-time arena with the capacity to hold two different sporting events – hockey and basketball. Some of the biggest acts in the U.S. have also performed here, including Elton John, Justin Timberlake, and Kiss.

    Detroit Pro Sporting Action

    An aerial view of Comerica Park in Detroit, MI

    If you are planning on living in Detroit, you will have to root for the home teams. Comerica Park is home to the Detroit Tigers, it’s MLB team, and Ford Field, owned by the Henry Ford family, is where the Detroit Lions of the NFL play. Here you can enjoy all the live sports pro games right in your backyard.

    Detroit Michigan (Adams and Brush)

    Pros and Cons of Moving to Detroit

    If you are planning on moving to Detroit, there are a couple of things you need to know about the vibrant city.

    Let’s face it, any new city you move to will require some sort of adjustment. Depending on which place you come from, there are a set of pros and cons. We have outlined the most common here:

    Pros of Moving to Detroit

    The following are the pros of living in the great city of Detroit:

    Entertainment Hub

    There’s a wealth of entertainment in Detroit. It’s not called Motown for nothing. It also has a vibrant nightlife for both the young and old.

    New dwellers will enjoy a wide selection of restaurants, sports arenas, shopping districts, and casinos.

    Motown Museum

    One of the hidden gems here is Camp Martius. It’s an all-time gathering location for people living in Detroit. Here, dwellers enjoy outdoor skating during the winter season, beach bars with real sand, unique bites, and live music. There are even music festivals here, like the Detroit Jazz Festival here, which is held every year during Labor Day weekend. Also, don’t forget the Movement Electronic Music Festival, which is memorial day weekend at Hart Plaza.

    There’s also the Belle Isle Conservancy, a historic and cultural 982-acre island that is a must to visit. This is located in Belle Isle Park, which is the largest island park, that is city-owned, in the U.S.

    A Vibrant and Thriving Economy

    Coming from its lowest points, Detroit can only move up and boom, and according to analysts’ projections, the growth has only started thanks to all the start-up companies, increased commerce, entertainment spots, and restaurants. This attractive destination is also getting tremendous municipal support to improve the less populated areas due to anticipated move-ins.

    The Fist

    Affordable Living Conditions

    Perhaps the most popular reason why anyone wants to move to Detroit is its affordable living rates. According to statistics, it has a lower cost of living than 84% of major big cities in the U.S., like New York and San Francisco. The average rent for housing costs between $500 to $2,000 per month. Also, a majority of the resident’s daily expenses are quite low.

    Overall, the city of Detroit is one of the best places to live in Michigan, especially if you are looking for inexpensive housing – something that this city is known for.

    Cons of Moving to Detroit

    Of course, with the good comes some drawbacks, but Detroit currently has only a few.

    For starters, its auto insurance rate is higher than any other place in the U.S. This is an additional expense that is often overlooked when moving into your first apartment.

    You don’t drive a car? Well, there’s still a problem… a public transport problem.

    Public Transit Problem

    Unlike many urban cities in the U.S. where communities enjoy excellent public transit, such as streetcars, subways, bus transit, and more, Detroit has a shortage. While there is a new Q-Line and a People Mover, there aren’t any alternatives that offer relief in terms of transportation.

    Detroit Transit

    Grocery Stores Unavailability

    Don’t get this wrong, this American destination is excellent for shopping; however, it lacks grocery shops, which is an essential service. Despite Whole Foods’ entry into the city about five years ago, organic food shoppers still feel the need to have grocery stores that offer cheaper deals.

    Extreme Weather Conditions

    If you come from a region where you enjoy a lot of sunshine and summer-like days year round, Detroit will be an anticlimax.

    Winter is a real problem not only around Detroit, but throughout the entire state of Michigan. This means icy roads, months of extreme winter weather, and possibly unplowed streets.

    Detroit Weather

    Preparing Your Move

    Ultimately, after looking at the pros and cons, you’ll love Detroit. There is a unique arts and culture scene, music, entertainment, social amenities, tight-knit communities, a thriving restaurant and dining scene, vibrant nightlife, top-shelf learning institutions, and, perhaps the most important, affordable prices.

    Before you get started on selecting a neighborhood, perform thorough research online and on the ground. A rule of thumb is to physically visit the locations and have a feel of the environment. Visit the county offices and find out what is required in terms of taxes and documentation. Also, ask close friends and family for recommendations of an excellent realtor to assist you during this life-changing phase.

    Tags: Detroit

    Categories: Neighborhood

    About The Author

    Justin Becker is a property owner in the state of Michigan and has a passion for managing communities. He owns both apartment complexes and mobile home communities and has been writing his own blogs for his properties for several years.