Real Estate Blog


    Buying vs Renting in East Lansing

    If you’re considering your first home in Mid-Michigan, you’re probably comparing the costs of buying vs renting in East Lansing and Greater Lansing. Graduates of Michigan State University are particularly familiar with the competitive and sometimes uncertain rental market in East Lansing, and may be wondering if it makes sense to step out of apartments and into their first home. In this blog, we’ll compare the costs of buying vs renting specifically in East Lansing. 

    Buying vs Renting in East Lansing: What Makes Sense for You?  

    Renting in East Lansing

    Rental prices can vary dramatically in East Lansing. The apartment size, amenities, location, and the rental market can make hundreds of dollars of difference every month. To fairly compare buying vs renting in East Lansing, we’ll compare the average two-bedroom rent costs with the average costs of a home.  

    It’s important to remember the differences between homes and apartments beyond price alone. Consider, for example, that you will have much more space in a home than in a two-bedroom apartment. However, you may be able to split the costs of a two-bedroom apartment with one or more roommates, and zoning ordinances do not allow this in many East Lansing homes. Also, you will be responsible for any improvements or repairs in your home, however you will be limited in the changes you can make to an apartment. Consider all these factors carefully, along with the price of buying vs renting in East Lansing. 

    On average, a two-bedroom apartment in East Lansing costs about $1,070. To keep up with inflation, the price of apartments is expected to rise about 2% annually. Keep in mind that this may vary from year to year depending on supply and demand, and the market in general. With this average monthly payment, as well as a compound 2% annual rise, we can calculate the total cost of apartment living for a short-term interval (5 years), medium-term (10 years) and long-term (30 years). 

    Total costs of $1,070 monthly rent with 2% increase compounded annually for 

    • 5 years = $67,542
    • 10 years = $142,113
    • 30 years = $526,520

    Owning a Home in East Lansing

    Since home sizes, conditions, amenities, and East Lansing neighborhoods vary even more for homes than apartments, the prices also tend to vary more dramatically. Market conditions also play a bigger role. For this example, we’ll compare the average East Lansing home price according to Zillow; $185,800. Remember that the Zillow Zestimate is only an approximation.  

    As you might expect, the buying part of the buying vs renting equation is a bit more complicated than renting. The following considerations will all vary person by person: 

    • Mortgage payment: This is determined by the loan amount, interest rate (which will vary according to your credit score and lender), down payment, and term. 
    • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI): With a higher down payment and a better credit score, you can avoid PMI. If you can’t, PMI is usually between .5% and 1% of your loan amount. 
    • Property Taxes: Your home assessment value, township or city, county, and school district will determine your property taxes. For this example, we’ll use an East Lansing property tax tax rate of 53 mills and an assessment value of 50%. 

    Using the average value of a home in East Lansing, $185,800, we’ll look at two common scenarios and then compare each for buying vs renting. In one scenario, a first-time homeowner saves up for a 20% down payment and improves their credit score in the meantime, so they can avoid PMI. Another buyer uses a common first-time homebuyer program, an FHA loan, which requires only 3.5% down, but requires PMI at .5%. Their interest rates, property taxes, and loan term are otherwise the same. 


    - Homebuyer A Homebuyer B Renter
    Home Value $185,800 $185,800  
    Down Payment $37,160 (20%) $6,503 (3.5%)  
    Loan Amount $148,640 $179,297  
    Loan Term 30 years 30 years  
    Interest Rate 5.00% 5.00%  
    Monthly Mortgage Payment $798 $963  
    PMI (monthly) None $75  
    Property Taxes (53 mills) (monthly) $410 $410  
    Total Payment (monthly) $1,208 $1,448 $1,070
    Compounding increase None None 2%
    Total: 5 years $72,480 $86,880 $67,542
    Total:10 years $144,960 $173,760 $142,113
    Total: 30 years $434,880 $521,280 $526,520


    An important element to consider when comparing owning vs renting is East Lansing is investment. Once you pay off your mortgage, the home is yours, and you will only be responsible for property taxes afterwards. With a rental unit, you are paying living expenses, but acquiring nothing. 

    As the table shows, the compounding nature of increasing rents eventually drives total rent expenses higher than the cost of a home.  This makes time an important factor. The costs of renting and owning a home become much closer in 10 years, and rent actually becomes more expensive in 30 years. Some of the following considerations can make buying a home much more affordable much faster: 

    • PMI and Interest Rate: If you can avoid PMI and get a good interest rate, you can pay thousands less in the long term. 
    • Property Taxes: Some areas of Greater Lansing, and even areas within East Lansing pay much lower property taxes. You may also be able to deduct this on your income taxes. 
    • Build Equity: If you buy a fixer-upperand make improvements, you’ll pay much less month-to-month and you’ll raise the value of your investment. 
    • Real Estate Market: As the real estate market rises, home is very likely to gain value, especially if you make valuable home renovations.  

    Buying a house is a big decision and considering all the costs and the benefits, as well as your future plans, will give you confidence as you enter the market. If you are ready to own your own home and invest in your future stability, East Lansing is a great place to start your home search. 

    [Read the rest of this article...]


    Greater Lansing's Best and Worst Schools

    worst and best lansing schools compared

    There's a lot of pressure on new families to choose a home in a great school district. Choosing the right Greater Lansing school district can help your child develop their educational interests early on, and put them on the path towards high achievement. To help, we compared Greater Lansing school districts using the statewide School Ranking report, which examines public schools individually based on Michigan standardized testing. The School Ranking report “gives an overall ranking to schools by using several different achievement-related measures in mathematics, English language arts, science, and social studies.” The report also studied achievement gaps between each school’s highest- and lowest-scoring students to see how well-rounded the education is for all children. 

    The School Ranking report scores schools by percentiles. For example, a school in the 80th percentile scores better than 80% of schools. To obtain comparison scores for Greater Lansing school districts and rank them accordingly, we averaged all school scores across the district and ranked them according to the following. Only the schools presenting data to the report were included. 

    • 1-19 Well below average
    • 20-39 Below average
    • 40-59 Average
    • 60-79 Above average
    • 80-99 Well above average 

    Greater Lansing’s Best and Worst School Districts Compared

    1. Okemos 


    • Bennett Woods Elementary School
    • Chippewa Middle School 
    • Cornell Elementary School
    • Hiawatha Elementary School 
    • Kinawa School 
    • Okemos High School 
    • Okemos Public Montessori-Central 

    Overall: Well above average

    The terrific schools in the Okemos area are part of what make it such a desirable location. With six out of seven Okemos schools performing above the top 90th percentile, the Okemos School District is the best in Greater Lansing and one of the best in the state. Students are evenly distributed over four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school, with exceptional schools at every level. Okemos High School (grades 9-12) ranks at the 98th percentile, giving teens a great jumpstart before college.

    2. Haslett 


    • Haslett High School
    • Haslett Middle School
    • Murphy Elementary School 
    • Vera Ralya Elementary School 

    Overall: Well above average

    Extraordinary schools and the beautiful Lake Lansing make Haslett a popular place for families to settle down. With two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school, students at Haslett Public Schools follow a straight-forward path. This allows peers to stay together and make lifelong friendships. While all of the schools perform well above average, the two elementary schools stand out particularly brightly in the 95th and 97th percentile. 

    3. DeWitt 


    • DeWitt High School 
    • DeWitt Junior High School 
    • Herbison Woods Elementary School 
    • Scott Elementary School 

    Overall: Well above average 

    All DeWitt Public Schools test higher than nearly three fourths of Michigan’s schools, making it one of the best and most well-rounded districts in the Greater Lansing Area. Of the four schools, the Junior High School performs particularly well at the 96th percentile. Near average or low achievement gaps in each school also indicate that students receive extra help when needed. 

    4. East Lansing 


    • Donley Elementary School
    • East Lansing High School
    • Glencairn School
    • MacDonald Middle School
    • Marble School
    • Pinecrest School
    • Whitehills Elementary School 

    Overall: Above Average 

    Several high-ranking schools stand out in the East Lansing area, including East Lansing High School, Glencairn School adn Whitehills Elementary School. With Glencairn School (grades K-5) in the 95th percentile, children will receive an outstanding education right from the start.  East Lansing High School performs at the 90th percentile, which will help teens get ready for college or careers. East Lansing schools also display very low achievement gaps, indicating each student gets the attention and instruction they need.

    5. Mason 


    • Alaiedon Elementary School 
    • Mason High School 
    • Mason Middle School 
    • North Aurelius Elementary School 
    • Steele Street Elementary School 

    Overall: Above Average 

    Mason Public Schools perform relatively uniformly, with Alaiedon Elementary School and the Public High School leading the district at the 88th and 82nd percentile, respectively. With all of the schools performing either at the average or above average level, students receive a quality education at every age. 

    6. Grand Ledge 


    • Delta Center Elementary School 
    • Grand Ledge high School 
    • Kenneth T. Beagle Elementary School 
    • Leon W. Hayes Middle School 
    • Wacousta Elementary School 
    • Willow Ridge Elementary School 

    Overall: Above average

    Grand Ledge Public Schools covers a large area to the west of Lansing, including some suburban areas on the outskirts as well as rural areas farther away. Grand Ledge’s six schools are well-rounded, performing at, above, or even well above average. Two notable elementary schools, Wacousta Elementary School and Delta Center Elementary School, lead the area in the 85th and 83rd percentile, respectively.

    7. Holt


    • Dimondale Elementary School 
    • Elliott Elementary School 
    • Holt Junior High School 
    • Holt Senior High School
    • Hope Middle School 
    • Horizon Elementary School 
    • Sycamore Elementary School 
    • Washington Woods Middle School
    • Wilcox Elementary School 

    Overall: Average 

    With about a 54 percentile average across the district, Holt Public Schools are comfortably in the middle of the School Ranking report. Though the schools themselves vary widely, with Horizon Elementary School at the top in the 93rd percentile and Holt Junior High at the bottom in the 20th, the student body is more well-rounded, with very low achievement gaps between students. 

    8. Bath 


    • Bath Elementary School 
    • Bath Middle School 
    • Bath High School 

    Overall: Average

    Bath Public Schools overall perform near the middle percentile of Michigan’s schools, though the Bath High School stands out at the 79th percentile. With three schools and a relatively small population, children form close friendships with peers they will continue to see until graduation. 

    9. Waverly 


    • East Intermediate School 
    • Elmwood Elementary School 
    • Waverly Middle School 
    • Waverly Senior High School 
    • Winans Elementary School 

    Overall: Below average

    Student on Lansing’s west side attend Waverly schools, including two elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school. Ranking in the 28th to the 40th percentile, the schools test somewhat below average. Elmwood elementary and Waverly Middle School perform the highest in the area, at the 40th and 39th percentiles, respectively. 

    10. Lansing  


    • Attwood School
    • Cavanaugh School
    • Cumberland School
    • Eastern High School
    • Everett High School
    • Fairview School
    • Forrest G. Averill School
    • Gardner Academy
    • Gier Park School
    • J.W. Sexton High School
    • Lansing K-8 STEM Magnet Academy 
    • Lewton School
    • Lyons School
    • Mt. Hope School 
    • North School
    • Pattengill Academy 
    • Pleasant View Magnet School
    • Post Oak School
    • Sheridan Road
    • Wexford Montessori Magnet School 
    • Woodcreek Achievement Center

    Overall: Well below average 

    Lansing Public Schools includes 21 schools across the central Lansing. All but one school, Post Oak School (grades K-6), ranked below the 50th percentile. The elementary schools tend to perform higher than the high schools, indicating additional support or alternative high school education may be ideal in this area for older children.

    The schools in the School Ranking report did not include private schools or independent academies, which may be attractive options for many families. If you have children or starting a family is an especially important consideration as you look for a new home, take a close look at all the schools in the area. This way you can find the perfect home for current and future members of your family. 

    [Read the rest of this article...]

    Property taxes are an important consideration when buying a home. Though you will eventually pay off a mortgage, property taxes are due twice annually...

    [Read the rest of this article...]

    In a survey of home buyers’ and sellers’ satisfaction by market research company JD Power, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices received the hi...

    [Read the rest of this article...]

    As 2018 comes to a close, the third quarter data from the Greater Lansing housing market statistics appear, revealing some interesting trends over the...

    [Read the rest of this article...]

    When the temperatures go down and the winter jackets come out in Michigan, Greater Lansing is a great place to be. Some of the best and brightest even...

    [Read the rest of this article...]

    Okemos, Michigan if one of the most desirable communities in Greater Lansing, and a highly sought-after spot in Mid-Michigan in general. There are a v...

    [Read the rest of this article...]


    21 Things to do in Fall in Lansing

    Whether you’re a lifelong resident or a visitor to the Greater Lansing area, fall is the perfect time to enjoy everything the city has to offer....

    [Read the rest of this article...]

    Waterfront Living in Mid-Michigan: 9 Lakes to Live on in Greater Lansing
     Residents of the Great Lakes State don’t have to go far to get property on the water. Besides the beautiful Great Lakes, Michigan has over...

    [Read the rest of this article...]

    Considering Moving to East Lansing? Here’s What You Need to Know About the New East Lansing Income Tax
    On August 7th, East Lansing residents voted “yes” to an city income tax proposal, making East Lansing the 24th city in Michigan with an in...

    [Read the rest of this article...]

    Page 1 of 22First   Previous   [1]  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  Next   Last   
      • Home Finder Pro

        Moving to or within Greater Lansing? Use our guide to find the perfect neighborhood for you! Download the Guide ›