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]