Houses For $1: "My 14-Year-Old Son Could Buy a Block of Detroit Property"

Things are looking pretty bleak in parts of Detroit these days. In fact, you can get a house for $1. Yes, that’s right. A house.

Even at the low, low price of a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s, it took 19 days to find a buyer for a gutted house on Detroit’s east side, says the Detroit News. The house in question used to be the nicest house around. After foreclosure, however, vandals stripped the property of everything valuable from the wiring to the kitchen sink.

The home, at 8111 Traverse Street, a few blocks from Detroit City Airport, was the nicest house on the block when it sold for $65,000 in November 2006, said neighbor Carl Upshaw. But the home was foreclosed last summer, and it wasn’t long until “the vultures closed in,” Upshaw said. “The siding was the first to go. Then they took the fence. Then they broke in and took everything else.”

“It about doesn’t make sense to put the family out,” Upshaw said. “Once people are gone, you’re gonna lose the house in this neighborhood.”

Empty houses are becoming more and more of a problem in Detroit and other cities hard hit by the foreclosure crisis. Banks are so desperate to rid themselves of these properties that they’re willing to pay $10,000 to sell a house for $1.

So desperate was the bank owner of 8111 Traverse Street to unload the property that it agreed to pay $2,500 in sales commission and another $1,000 bonus for closing the $1 sale; the bank also will pay $500 of the buyer’s closing costs. Throw in back taxes and a water bill, and unloading the house will cost the bank about $10,000.

“It doesn’t make sense in some neighborhoods to keep paying costs and costs,” Colpaert said. “It can make more financial sense to give it away.”

While a $1 house is certainly unusual, even for Detroit, houses can be had for as little as a few hundred dollars these days.

“My 14-year-old son could buy a block of Detroit property,” said Ann Laciura, senior servicing specialist for the Bearing Group.

Foreclosure Fallout: Houses Go For $1 [Detroit News]

Comments

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  1. SadSam says:

    Wow! I wonder what the real estate taxes will be on that $1 house?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hey, anyone wanna go in on a city with me?

  3. How does nobody “notice”, or even care to call the police, as people steal siding the siding and fence off a house?…

  4. BlondeGrlz says:

    @SadSam: They base your property taxes on the assessed value, which (in my area) is 80% of your appraised value. So it’s not like you’re really paying taxes on $1. But since you don’t have the closing costs related to a mortgage that $500 from the bank would probably cover you for the first year. The only value left is probably in the actual land.

    I wonder how much it would cost to make that house livable again? More than it’s worth I bet.

  5. woodenturkey says:

    @EE:

    ah ha ha ha ha!! call the cops to the ghetto and think they will show up lol dude you are cracking me up

  6. clnclarinet says:

    Hmm, I thought “selling” houses for $1 was fairly common when transferring official ownership between, say, members of a family… I mean, this does sound like a different case, but I don’t think the practice is “certainly unusual”.

  7. I’ve read there are a bunch of churches doing farming (to generate produce for soup kitchens) on empty abandoned lots in Detroit where the houses have been knocked down, and the city encourages it, even though the churches don’t own the lots, since it’s at least pretty and productive.

  8. Norcross says:

    @BlondeGrlz: well, tearing it down and building fresh wouldn’t be all that expensive, given that (a) the land cost a buck, and (b) so many people in construction are hurting for work.

  9. evslin says:

    @BlondeGrlz: I wonder how much it would cost to make that house livable again? More than it’s worth I bet.

    I’d wager the same, unless Batman came along and cleaned up the neighborhood first.

  10. temporaryerror says:

    I wonder if the neighborhood surrounding the house is worth even living in? It does say that the house is a couple of blocks from the airport, so it may not be anyplace you would want to live if you have a choice. I would be willing to be that it’s not an individual that purchased the house, but rather a development company. Anyone remember on The Wire how a holding company was buying up all the blighted houses? The same thing is happening in North St Louis. I would imagine that it’s happening in Detroit as well.

  11. _catlike_ says:

    @EE: If you take a look at the house on Google street view, you’ll see it’s next to and across from a pretty large empty lot (well, empty except for the pile of garbage and tires). If you stroll through the neighborhood, you’ll see other empty lots, along with an inordinate number of tires lying around. Something tells me this isn’t the most policed area in Detroit.

  12. yourpunhere says:

    I’ve actually looked into buying several properties in the Detroit area and converting them to small farms. Turns out that there are several issues with this: The obvious one is zoning laws. Secondly, oil tank removal and soil remediation can run you up to $20,000. Alternatively, if one were to attempt to rehab a $1 home, chances are said home has fallen victim to arson or major theft and vandalism like the one above. I’m estimating that it would cost $50k-$70k to rehab a home like the example in the article.

  13. backbroken says:

    So, wouldn’t it have been cheaper for the bank to figure out a way to let the foreclosed family stay in the house? Is this a case of foreclosure out of spite?

  14. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    I think the more pressing question is, if evict people on a house you are planning to sell for $1 and pay all fees, taxes, etc., why not just forget the loan?

  15. Anonymous says:

    This isn’t a mortgage meltdown problem. This is the neighborhood of savages problem.

  16. backbroken says:

    They took the siding and the fence but left the satellite dish?!?!

  17. alfundo says:

    You have to pay for service for the dish to be of any value.

  18. B says:

    Remember that Simpsons episode when Bart bought an office building for $1?
    I had no idea the show was in Detroit.

  19. henrygates says:

    There’s something seriously wrong with a $2,500 commission on a house that sold for $1.

  20. mac-phisto says:

    @SadSam: if you rtfa, it says next year’s tax bill will be $3900 (unless the buyer challenges it).

    if it were me, i’d demo the house (i certainly think it can be done for less than $5000) & then offer the property to adjacent property owners. probably the quickest way to make a few bucks off the transaction.

  21. cmdrsass says:

    @SadSam: You could, you know, actually read the article and find out!

    Can anyone remember when Detroit wasn’t a cesspool? It has to have been at least 25 years.

  22. Anonymous says:

    It’s pretty much the same situation in Buffalo, NY. I’ve heard that we have around 20,000 vacant homes. Nobody knows what to do with them, and nobody wants to buy them, so they just sit there and are vandalized even more.

  23. mac-phisto says:

    incidentally, this is the best part of the article (imho):

    The company hired to manage the home and sell it, the Bearing Group, boarded up the home only to find the boards stolen and used to board up another abandoned home nearby.

    rofl.

  24. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @woodenturkey: srsly, this is the neighborhood made famous by people like Michael Moore and Eminem, and not famous in a good way, either. It gets that way because (1) nobody has any money anymore, and (2) nobody gives a damn. The whole place has been on life support so long people are beyond numb to this sort of thing.

    “Oh, a bunch of guys just pulled up across the street in a truck to get the copper pipes and wiring.”

    “That’s nice, dear. More coffee?”

  25. EBounding says:

    Location location location.

  26. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @: Utica, too. Arson has become something of a favorite pastime there. Population has gone from 90,000 in the 60s to something like 58,000 today. That’s a lot of empty houses.

  27. Shadowman615 says:

    So why even bother foreclosing on the house and kicking the deliquent owners out. Wouldn’t the bank be better off continuing to try to work something out or hounding the owner? Even if they continued not to pay, the bank would *still* be better off without a worthless leech of a house on their hands.

  28. AngryEwok says:

    You couldn’t give me that dump.

  29. TideGuy says:

    @mac-phisto:

    Because then the neighbor could have the crack house with the biggest yard on the block

    @Shadowman615:

    The owners probably abandoned the house

  30. TO be fair, Detroit property has been declining since long before the mortgage crisis. Detroit property value has been in trouble since the car factories closed. This is just icing.

  31. andyfvp says:

    $1 houses! Just another sign that the governments housing bill aint’ going to work. I recently wrote a detailed article (too long for the comment, you can check it out here – [www.savingtoinvest.com]) where a number of readers vented their anger at why we have to bailout broke home home owners who have foreclosed!

  32. JennaBelle says:

    Detroit is a sad, sad city. I’d love to move there, but go one or two blocks off of the main, populated areas and you could be in the line of fire. Many times I’ve headed downtown for a concert and got lost, within a few days, I’ll notice the street I was lost on was the site of a shooting or attack. As far as not calling the cops, there just aren’t enough. Detroit Public Schools has had to shut down so many schools and just lock them up because they can’t even afford to move anything of value elsewhere (like entire computer labs), which leads to more theft. The average response time on the alarms on these closed buildings is two hours, because again, there is just not enough staff to respond. In the end, the fact that the mayor has been charged with a felony (regardless of his guilt- I’m not here to debate that) and is spending a lot of time and money on fighting the charges isn’t helping. There isn’t a true leader in Detroit right now and there aren’t enough programs to force these thieves into work or education (or else lose their benefits) so they can keep scraping by.

    There was another article (or editorial) in the freep that talked about how the fire department in Detroit has to pick and choose which fires to attend to and when (and who knows who’s choosing what). The idea of abandoned homes in Detroit being a new problem is a joke. Since I was a little kid there has been a problem with vacant houses. The arson of these vacant houses has been in the news for at least the last five years on a very regular basis. Hell, last Christmas someone hogtied a litter of puppies in a house and lit it on fire (one of the puppies, Miracle, was saved and is still recuperating). I love Detroit, but I can’t move there because I don’t know the areas well enough and one wrong turn could be my last. It’s so sad to visit, too, because you can see the beautiful buildings everywhere that are crumbling. Plus, when a coworker of mine looked at a house in a “nicer” neighborhood in the city, the Realtor explained why the house was on the market. The previous owner has just got home and heard a noise, so he thought it was another neighbor who had seen him pull in his driveway. It was a burglar and he was shot and killed. The Realtor’s explanation? Well, he didn’t come downstairs to answer the door with his gun. He would’ve scared them off and be fine if he hadn’t forgot his gun. Having to be armed to answer my door just isn’t a viable option for me.

  33. Triborough says:

    $1. Seems about right for Detroit.

  34. CRSpartan01 says:

    I’d be worried that there are lots of unpaid taxes and whatnot associated with that land. There is a reason it’s a firesale, and it’s probably not because the owners are bored with it!!

  35. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @backbroken & @ WiglyWorm : That was my first thought as well. At the very least let the family stay there while the bank’s trying to sell and give the family a chance to buy back the house if it’s going to go as low as a dollar.

    @corthepirate: 20K? Good googly moogley!

  36. Anonymous says:

    The obvious hasn’t been stated yet:

    Where is Omni Consumer Products when we need them?

    Halliburton perhaps?

  37. wgrune says:

    Buy the block, build some walls around all your new properties, and you have your own little compound!

  38. mantari says:

    Careful. Some of these $1 houses are nothing but liabilities. Perhaps the city has sent the owner a notice that they need to remedy some code violations, or a notice that the city intends to bulldoze the house and then charge you for the service.

    There are tons of great reasons why you don’t want a $1 home.

  39. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think there’s any way this property is doable. Suppose the knockdown/etc. was free. You’d have a lot of land that you’d be paying $2k/yr on for taxes.

    You’d do better if that $2k/yr was earning 0% interest in a checking account.

  40. HogwartsAlum says:

    @:

    They need Harvey Dent!

  41. mac-phisto says:

    @: exactly. or, if the entire neighborhood is going under, properties could be bundled & sold to a developer.

    this is how one guy in my hometown got filthy rich – he bought virtually the entire downtown that became dilapidated when the mall moved in – now that a “walkable downtown” is all the rage, guess who owns the property that the new movie theatre, 6 blocks of boutique stores, 2 office buildings, a half dozen restaurants/bars & 2 apartment complexes sit on?

  42. Yeah to almost everybody, and it’s a damn shame because Detroit is home to some of the best people in the world. I love that city, moved there as soon as I could when I was young, and then tried to move back with my family — but no. You can’t in good conscience live there with kids anymore, if you can avoid it (and I’m quite grateful that I could, that I had a place to change my mind and go to instead).

    The dollar houses have been around for quite a while, and they’re yet another band-aid, not a deal. I kind of wish the band-aids would quit making headlines, because they overshadow the FACT that until somebody does something about the rampant official corruption (the mayor ain’t the half of it) and positively disgusting amounts of systemic, sanctioned economic and racial discrimination that that poor town is subject to, none of this will ever get fixed.

    Some day, somebody will come along who’s forced to admit that and deal with those two overarching causes. Until then? Detroit will remain cool mostly for being like Gotham. *sigh*

  43. @backbroken: in Detroit, much like many other cities right now, a pile of scrap metal is worth much more to a thief than a satellite dish.

    A friend of mine was looking at buying a house in a much nicer neighborhood (Woodbridge) than this one, and in between the time he was there and the time that he decided against it, all the plumbing was stripped. And this is completely normal in Detroit.

    Once a year the city holds tax auctions where you can buy properties all over town for less than $100. A girl I used to work with bought a plot over by Wayne State for $75 and turned it into a small park using donations for the cleanup and playground equipment.

    And yes, there are several churches using vacant lots for urban gardens. The city doesn’t exactly approve of it, but they also don’t give them a hassle, either. The biggest one I’ve seen is over at the MLK/Grand River/Trumbull intersection, but I think that church actually owns the lot.

  44. Dennis says:

    Google street view => [tinyurl.com]

  45. Nighthawke says:

    Condemn the house, demo it, recycle/resell the materials from it, destroy the foundation. Then plow, till, plant and harvest. Produce rates being the way they are you’ll make a pretty penny this time next year.

  46. Hanke says:

    It’s DETROIT. Who in their right mind wants to live in a city that is the symbol for the failure of the american manufacturing economy?

  47. _catlike_ says:

    @CRSpartan01: That would show up when the title search was run and the liabilities would be paid off when the sale closed.

  48. stardeo says:

    I’d like to blame the victim here: if the banks hadn’t made all sorts of bad loans, they wouldn’t have all sorts of houses to take $10000 loses on selling them for a buck.

  49. mac-phisto says:

    @Nighthawke: does detroit have a “right to farm” law on the books?

  50. neilb says:

    As a matter of fact some friends of mine got hosed on buying 5 “investment houses” in Detroit. They could not keep the vandals out OR find someone to rent 4 of them…or even keep the non-paying renter in the best one. They couldn’t pay the high Detroit taxes and forget about buyers!
    They got a GREAT bankruptcy deal because the banks and city are so overloaded with foreclosures that they will agree to ANY terms just to file them through. It was the only alternative, and it is getting more favorable by the day. It is sad, but it almost encourages bankruptcy–they would have never gotten such a deal in a sane city with banks who were not overloaded.
    On the flip side, the homeless population of Detroit is doing pretty well with these houses. They have free housing and (because the utilities are overloaded and the properties are poorly managed by the overloaded banks), they have free heat and water too. My friends have thousands of dollars in utility bills on their “vacant” houses (the ones that they no longer own) that they forward to the bank on a monthly basis. The bank just ignores it all due to being overloaded.

  51. SadSam says:

    @EE:

    We have a foreclosure to the north and the south of an investment property that we own. We call the police and code enforcement regularly re: squatters, trespassing, thefts, etc. at the two homes. The police don’t have time to deal with it.

  52. niagaraview says:

    Houses for a dollar are nothing new in Buffalo, Ny. From my recent musing on what it’s like to live in the second poorest city in the United States:

    “Commuting to work is a 20 minute trip, taking me five and a half miles through the streets of Buffalo. On Friday I did a count; in the 5.5 miles it took for me to get home from work (entirely within city limits), I counted 80 abandoned buildings including business and residential. This was taking my normal route. If you think that number is high, consider this: Buffalo has somewhere around 18,000 abandoned houses. That’s more than all of the McDonald’s in the United States. Who knows how many abandoned businesses there are. It’s interesting to note that the city of Buffalo is the largest owner of residential property, having picked up properties people discard. The current tally is around 4,000-5,000, or a quarter the vacancy. They do fix up homes to resell to first time home owners, but this practice is done half-heartedly, a generous descriptor. The majority of houses sit until fire or natural decay seals their fate with an emergency demolition order in the amount of $20,000.”

    You can read the full post here: [www.roadwolf.ca]

  53. backbroken says:

    So, how goes the ROI for your new downtown stadiums Comerica Park and Ford Field?

    Comerica Park – $115 million of public financing (out of $300 million)

    Ford Field – $219 million of public financing (out of $430 million)

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that $334 million dollars could have bought a lot of urban revitalization, especially at $1 a property. But at least Gary Sheffield has a nice big locker now.

  54. ShortBus says:

    See for yourself: [www.waynecounty.com]

  55. Anonymous says:

    @: Detroit makes me so sad. I’m from Lansing, but my brothers still live in the suburbs of Detroit. I really wanted to stay in MI, but after trying to get a job closer to family and failing, trying to stay on top of the growing cost of living and failing and then having several shootings happen across the street from my old job I gave up and came out west.

    I’d really like to come home some day.

  56. incognit000 says:

    @backbroken:
    Sports stadiums always get priority over actual real projects because they make the politician look good on TV. There have been a lot of papers written about how stadiums are always a losing proposition (only a tiny fraction of the people who live in a town can go to the stadium, and most people who live in a town are not interested in the local sports team enough to pay for it) but politicians keep going for it because it gets them re-elected.

    Also:

    Finally, housing prices are reaching levels that people like me can afford.

    All it needs is a little paint, a little wallpaper, maybe a little everything else, and it’ll be good! I just gotta drive the junkies out of the basement.

  57. dsevil says:

    @JennaBelle: wow, your realtor didn’t lie to you about why the house was on the market? They’re a keeper.

  58. Underpants Gnome says:

    @Dennis: Wow, article didn’t mention that it was directly underneath an airport approach vector, just a block from the end of a runway. I might have haggled it down to $0.50 if I knew that.

  59. Notsewfast says:

    @ all those saying they love Detroit

    I understand why impoverished people have to live in a city like this, and I get why it was probably great 50 years ago, but after reading so many articles about the place, and just looking through the Google street view of the city, I don’t understand why anyone would want to live in a place like that.

    The only reason I can come up with is that you have never been to a decent city and just assume that everywhere else in an open cesspool like this.

    Nostalgia be damned, I’d live in rural Nebraska (no offense to Nebraskans) before I’d move within a 200 mile radius of Detroit.

  60. typetive says:

    My parents did this a couple of times when I was a teen. The city was attempting to redevelop a section of the city, and sold off lots of houses that were seized for back taxes for the amount owed (or in other cases for $1).

    The whole family helped to gut one of the houses before the real workers came in and rehabbed it.

    Enough people did it and actually move in (including my father in another building he bought that was a bit more expensive), really revitalized that neighborhood, now the city is actually collecting real property taxes in that area.

    However, I don’t think they let just anyone buy them, I think you have to make some sort of promise or contract that you’re going to rehab or occupy. (Kind of like adopting an animal from the pound.)

  61. dangermike says:

    @evslin: Surely you mean Robocop.

  62. zingbot says:

    Turn it back into farmland. Plot-by-plot.

  63. Roy Hobbs says:

    @Secret Agent Man: @:

    I lived in the suburbs of Detroit for 8 years and had to commute through the area near City Airport. It made the neighborhoods in The Wire look good by comparison.

    There are good things about the SE Michigan area, but there are very, very few south of 8 mile road.

  64. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @: There’s an idea. I wonder why some of the drug kingpins in the neighborhood haven’t built their own autonomous states, snow crash style.

    “Now entering New Estonia”

  65. Hongfiately says:

    The Magumba Bar is certainly worse than Detroit, but stories like this have been far too common for more than a generation. This story basically says that the entire area is one giant sunk cost. That’s depressing.

  66. Notsewfast says:

    @Roy Hobbs:

    It just seems like I very rarely hear anything good about the city, and I am genuinely curious why anyone under the age of 70 with the financial ability to leave would choose to stay (let alone move back).

    Looking around the city, it appears that even the “nice” neighborhoods are comparable to starter neighborhoods in other areas of the country.

  67. zlionsfan says:

    @Secret Agent Man: That’s probably a little excessive, unless you have something against the greater Toronto area. For that matter, once you get past 20 miles or so, a lot of that 200-mile radius isn’t going to be that different than Nebraska.

    @backbroken: @incognit000: You’ll notice that stadiums are never offered as an either/or proposition. It’s almost always “Help us keep the [your sports team here]!” We’re just now entering an era when cities are standing up to owners and calling their bluffs, and even then, they’re not necessarily raising that kind of money and putting it back into the city.

    It’s a sad story, but I think the meltdown in question isn’t so much the mortgage part as the city itself. I was born in Ann Arbor and go back every year or so, and I don’t mind it at all, but we don’t tend to visit Detroit that much. When we do, it’s in and out, not like visiting Chicago …

  68. Notsewfast says:

    @zlionsfan:

    Sorry, you’re probably right. I spent My formative years in Austin, TX so 200 miles is like to the end of the block in my mind.

  69. Tmoney02 says:

    @: Can anyone remember when Detroit wasn’t a cesspool? It has to have been at least 25 years.

    Well I can’t personally remember since it is way before my time but from what I understand Detroit was fine until the 1967 riots. It never recovered.

  70. cheera says:

    @Roy Hobbs: The division that 8 mile road provides is ridiculous. The same with Altar Road at Jefferson. Beautiful safe suburbs turn into dilapidated city nastiness over a 4 lane road.

    Detroit makes me sad every time I’m in it. Its got cool stuff (Heidelburg, art galleries, venues) but…the bad outweighs the good, by far.

  71. Aisley says:

    @woodenturkey:

    And you forgot wooden, call the cops to the ghetto, and after they’re gone (IF they come) your house will be next loosing the fence, the sidding, the kitchen sink, the dog, the cat, the wife, the mother-in-law and the neighbor!

  72. Tmoney02 says:

    @Tmoney02: This comment was in response to @cmdrsass:

  73. Dave J. says:

    @Underpants Gnome: Seriously, that place is “count the rivets” close.

  74. balthisar says:

    There are nicer residential sections of Detroit. But by area, they’re certainly the majority. The Corktown area and area around the stadiums have new condos, and they’re pretty expensive considering it’s Detroit. Southwest Detroit (i.e., Mexicantown, one word) features the fastest economic growth. It’s still not a truly good place to live yet by my personal standards, but it’s coming along. Heck, for what I could pay for a house there and save on gasoline (it’s close to work in Dearborn), I’d probably still come out ahead by remodeling and putting in some uber security system. But, they’re city lots, and I like my giant, green, grassy yard.

    One of the worst things that prevent middle-class redevelopment is the city’s tax structure. The City of Detroit imposes a 2.5% income tax for living there. Most of the state (except for other depressed cities) impose no income tax. Additionally, the homestead millage is 65.96 mills! Holy rip-off! That’s $6596 dollars on a $200,000 home (we tax at 50% of assessed value). That supports a police department that won’t show up, a fire department that may decide to show up, no snow plowing on secondary roads, a corrupt political system, and real real tangible benefit. In my charter township, we have no income taxes and my property taxes for the same value house are just over half of that, and by golly, we have world class city services.

  75. Eric1285 says:

    I went to school in Ann Arbor and just finished up. Yeah…Detroit sucks. I did my senior design project in Detroit, helping to set up a new middle school. There are certainly a few nice parts of the city, but 80% of it is run-down and abandoned. Just the other day my friend was driving in one of the more decrepit parts of the city when 4 guys surrounded his car and tried to car jack him. Thank goodness they didn’t have guns and my friend was able to leave them eating smoke.

  76. DH405 says:

    Why not just knock it to the ground and keep the land for future development once the shitstorm passes?

  77. ShortBus says:

    @Secret Agent Man: Only 30 miles from Detroit is Bloomfield Hills, one of the wealthiest cities in the nation. Detroit is located in Wayne County, Bloomfield Hills in the adjacent Oakland County. The whole of Oakland County is either the third or fourth most affluent counties in the country.

    Only Detroit proper and some portions to the South (aka “Downriver”) are a hell hole. And even the whole city itself isn’t that bad. The Boston Edison District is very nice: [www.historicbostonedison.org]

  78. Detroit’s been in a tailspin since the early 90s.

  79. @: Because then the cops would know where to find them.

  80. dreamrot says:

    @EE: It has nothing to do with not noticing the siding getting stolen. It has everything to do with just not caring. And apathy is the biggest problem with the city of Detroit anymore. No one cares around here.

  81. mariospants says:

    @: “It’s pretty much the same situation in Buffalo, NY. I’ve heard that we have around 20,000 vacant homes. Nobody knows what to do with them, and nobody wants to buy them, so they just sit there and are vandalized even more.”

    I went to Buffalo a month ago for my cousin’s wedding, I really really liked the town. It has some beautiful period architecture and the people are friendly and they like beer, hockey and football. What more could you ask for? Apparently the snow’s vicious there, however.

  82. dreamrot says:

    @Secret Agent Man: Part of it is nostalgia. I’ll admit to that. Detroit is a horrid and apathetic city sometimes. I’ve been all over the country, and I can tell you that I like it a lot better that rural Nebraska.

    Detroit is a lot like the Lions (our football team). You know that they’re going to lose, and they’re a national embarrassment, but you can’t help but want to see them succeed. Most of the people who come from ‘Detroit’ live in the suburbs now, but Detroit is still the heart of the area. If the city thrives, the suburbs thrive. And this is a city that could thrive if someone with a real plan came in and gave it some direction.

    In the same way that the Lions are waiting for a good quarterback and a good coach, Detroiters are waiting for a leader.

    We hitched our wagons to the auto industry for too long, there really isn’t anything else here. And as the industry falters and the jobs go away, there isn’t any place else people can go to work. The majority of companies here work with the auto industry. There isn’t a lot of diversity as a result. There isn’t another industry that we can look to to hire the displaced auto workers. As a result, you get people who aren’t qualified to do anything else.

    To add to the problem, since there aren’t a lot of other options, a lot of the younger, college educated citizens are looking elsewhere for work. Out of town and out of state. There’s nothing for them here. I can’t say I blame them either, I know for a fact I’d bolt for someplace like Portland, OR if the opportunity arose.

    Strip away the nostalgia and what little hope still remains and you see that Detroit is going to get even worse before it gets better.

  83. CRSpartan01 says:

    @_catlike_: True. But with a lot of those properties, you don’t necessarily know if you have superior title or not. There have probably been so many fingers in the pot that who knows what could happen in five years, let alone five months. I worked in the foreclosure business for over a year and have seen some strange things happen. Still, I’d like to learn a lot more about it because, who knows, one day I might be dipping my finger in that pot, too.

  84. CRSpartan01 says:

    @dreamrot: Don’t forget the Red Wings. I could never live there, because of my (hockey) religious beliefs.

    Go Blues!

  85. dreamrot says:

    @CRSpartan01: The Red Wings are one of the great things about Detroit. Unlike the Tigers and the Lions, they’re consistently good (at least over the last 10 or so years).

  86. CRSpartan01 says:

    @dreamrot: I will admit that they have a certain way of injecting life into old, dying hockey players. I’m pretty sure they made a pact with the Devil.

    Someday, we will rise again.

  87. veronykah says:

    @: Ah sounds like a friend I have from Detroit. She went home to visit and was driving downtown and apparently some dude tried to crawl into her car at a stoplight through the sunroof.
    Everything I hear about Detroit makes it sound like Mad Max.

  88. dreamrot says:

    @CRSpartan01: I hope so! There were some great playoff battles between the Wings and the Blues not horribly long ago. I’d love to see that rivalry come back to life!

  89. timsgm1418 says:

    I’m wondering why Habitat for Humanity doesn’t buy up a block of houses to rehab? This seems like the perfect project for them. It is incredibly sad when cities just fall to crap like this

  90. UnicornMaster says:

    As a realtor, could you just buy the property yourself, make the commission and own a piece of land for “free”. You shouldn’t owe too much on taxes considering the last sale was $1.

  91. sven.kirk says:

    @Dennis: Thanks for that link.
    Wouldn’t move there at all. WAY too close to the airport. Even if it is a small one.

  92. sven.kirk says:

    Plus I just noticed that it is not far from a train yard also

  93. revmatty says:

    @stardeo: $10K was just the transaction cost, it doesn’t include the amount of loan that wasn’t paid off. Given that it sold for $65K on 2006 let’s be generous and assume the buyer put down 20% (stop laughing) and regularly made their payments right up until the month the property was sold for $1 (stop laughing). The bank ultimately lost closer to $61K.

  94. harvey_birdman_attorney_at_law says:

    @: Sad, but very true.

  95. meneye says:

    This place is a hellhole. They need to bulldoze and rebuild, but they can’t because of the incredibly corrupt governmental system right now. Until then I’m in favor of building a massive flamethrower…

  96. thewriteguy says:

    Detroit = Gotham minus The Batman :(

  97. u1itn0w2day says:

    Who the heck is stripping or STEALING from places like this?.i don”t care if it is an ” evil ” bank that owns it going into to that house and taking something is tresspassing and THEFT among other CRIMES.That house IS still someone else’s property.

    Yeah it be nice if they would work with behind tenants but then I guess half of those would wind up on the serial evictee thread.

  98. girly says:

    @zingbot: @Eyebrows McGee:

    You do know it’d probably have to be raised-bed farming since most of the soil is contaminated with lead.

    @: I thought Moore was into Flint, not Detroit. Flint is one hour/ 70 miles away from Detroit, right? And in between them I believe are several cities that rank high on the ‘safest cities’ list

  99. Pro-Pain says:

    What is happening to this country and who’s fault is it?

  100. varro says:

    @dreamrot: And Portland has the opposite problem – highly inflated housing and rental prices caused by every young person from everywhere else coming here because the New York Times is in love with the city.

    There has to be *some* kind of medium – even if it means giving abandoned houses like the one depicted to church groups or community organizations in exchange for in-kind donations of produce produced on the land.

    Or make it “Fixie-land”, where tattooed and pierced urban hipsters made junky bicycles, make vegan food, and roam the city with their pit bulls…

  101. varro says:

    @u1itn0w2day: Junkies will steal anything they think they can sell.

    There are two extremes – in Detroit, stuff gets stolen and people don’t care because the house is abandoned. In Portland, stuff gets stolen and people don’t care because they’re insured.

    In either case, the problem is the price of metal (thanks, oil speculators, for driving other commodity prices up!), and either crooked or lazy scrap metal dealers. Portland (and other areas of Oregon) have had tweakers stealing bronze statues and selling them for scrap.

  102. Canoehead says:

    Detroit is the logical end point of hald-core leftist policy at the state and city levels, combined with a rusted out economy and massive white flight.

  103. u1itn0w2day says:

    @varro: good point but they’ll get off because it was a ‘drug’ CRIME

    And the scrap dealers,I’m starting to see reports where these junk yards have been taking things like manhole covers not only creating a danger but taking what is obviously somebody else’s property.

    And the banks probably don’t want to get into any sort of property management.I guess they figured they already lost enough but there should be enough local ordinances though where they should at least have to board up an open window or cut the lawn.

    Hey as a homeowner living in a house there are places where they’ll fine YOU for things like an uncut lawn so why aren’t the banks getting fined on these properties.If I was a code inspector I would look for commercially held real estate because that’s an easy target for violations/vandalism.I can’t stand big brother but when businesses in the form of a bank can get away with more than me as owner of property that’s not right.

  104. Justifan says:

    all the whining lot of “artists” and such that complain about gentrification of places like san fran and such driving prices out of their reach have options it seems.

    MOVE!!

    lol:)

  105. verdantpine says:

    @Secret Agent Man: I see someone has already asked and it appears that I assumed right – you’re not from the Midwest.

    Within 200 miles of Detroit are …

    Windsor, Ontario – great little city, safe and walkable
    Grosse Pointe – ritzy and wealthy
    Ann Arbor – my overrated but still pretty nice hometown with plenty to do and a traditionally low violent crime rate
    Frankenmuth – where you’re Wilkommen to have a good time at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland and the Cheese Haus!
    Chelsea – home to Jeff Daniel’s great Purple Rose Theater
    Kalamazoo – another nice university town with an old-fashioned downtown
    Mason – lovely period houses, small town feel
    Toledo, Ohio – city of glass, but it’s got a nice Art Museum, you know?
    E. Lansing – home to MSU, great college town
    Not to mention Stratford, Ontario – where you could once see William Shatner do Shakespeare in the flesh.

    Most of us who grow up in this area feel bad about what’s happened to the city proper but it’s difficult to hear people (who have never been there) talk about our entire metropolitan area or our whole state like it’s a war zone. The reality is quite different. Yes, I have a few scary downtown Detroit stories, but I also had a relatively idyllic upbringing in Ann Arbor where I could walk anywhere.

    (Oh, and by the way – Eminem is NOT from Detroit. He is from Warren, which is in Maccomb County. It has some rough neighborhoods. I think people outside Detroit give Eminem more street cred because they assume he comes from a black neighborhood in downtown Detroit. He does, however, come from a tough white neighborhood a la Boston’s Southie.)

    The issues with Detroit are VERY longstanding and tensions between whites and blacks are key. They go back before Coleman Young, who was mayor throughout my childhood and until I became old enough to vote. It has to do with white flight after the mid-60s riots, and the elimination of manufacturing jobs. Things got much worse under Coleman Young, due to the corruption and his bad relationship with the suburbs; that’s when Devils Night started making the national news.

    Dennis Archer actually tried to do something for the city. What is needed is for the entire city to become an Enterprise Zone, so that more businesses will relocate there. The federal government could also station some regional offices there. It comes down to good jobs. Good jobs would bring a major supermarket back to Detroit.

    Failing that, maybe residents could get a tax credit to relocate while something dramatic is done to the city (build a new spaceport!). I’m against eminent domain in most cases, but Detroit has been dying a long death for years.

  106. closed_account says:

    @Dennis: A block to the east there are some decent cars (more than 10k) and a few not horrible houses as well.