Detroit’s Selling Abandoned Homes For $1,000–With A Few Strings Attached

April 17, 2014  |  

Imagine buying a home in Detroit for $1,000? Well, it’s possible but there are some strings attached.

Under a new program launched by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called Building Detroit, thousands of vacant and dilapidated houses will be auctioned off.

“The Detroit Land Bank Authority’s Building Detroit auction site initially lists several city-owned homes in East English Village, a residential neighborhood on Detroit’s east side, with starting bids of $1,000 each. The auction for each property will last one day only, with staggered dates in May,” reports The Huffington Post

Here are those strings: Winning bidders in the Building Detroit auction must promise to fix the homes to make them up to code within six months–and then actually live in it. And some of the houses need extensive repairs but must be bought without having seen what’s inside.

Bidders must be Michigan residents, companies and organizations who have not lost a property due to back taxes in Wayne County in the last three years. So no out-of-state bidders.

“We are not looking for speculators,” Detroit Land Bank Chair Erica Ward Gerson said in a statement. “If you’re not going to act diligently to fix up the house, you’ll lose the house and your money.”

Duggan is also taking aim at people who abandon homes. The city is pursuing legal action some owners in the 16-block Marygrove neighborhood, giving owners six months to repair and occupy their homes. According to CBS Detroit, Duggan said he would “sue the owner of every single abandoned house.”

“Starting today, it’s no longer acceptable to leave behind a vacant property in the city of Detroit,” the mayor said in a statement last week. “Either you can fix it up, or the city will seize the property and get it into the hands of someone who will.”

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