What It’s Actually Like To Buy A $500 House In Detroit

Over the past few years, you’ve probably heard about houses in Detroit selling for $10 and up. You’ve also seen pictures of houses that were abandoned during the ciry’s decline into bankruptcy. Now Detroit is slowly recovering, but you can still buy a house, even historic houses, for a pittance. It’s not a simple transaction. The public agencies that sell homes at auction for as little as $500 or $1,000 require you to pay property taxes, which may be years overdue, and you may be required to repair and live in it.  

8. If you buy a house from the Detroit Land Bank, you have six months to get it up to code and occupied.

For historic homes you get nine months. Otherwise you risk losing the property and the money you paid for it. That means you’ll need to have the cash to fix up your fixer-upper ASAP. If you show a good-faith effort toward renovation, they will consider giving extensions, but they want legitimate landlords or homeowners, not absentee investors.

This rule is the biggest difference between the DLB and other auctions. “We’re trying to discount the speculators and the people just buying up properties and sitting on them to wait for them to go up in value,” Craig Fahle, director of public affairs for the Detroit Land Bank, told BuzzFeed Life. “We actually want someone to fix it up and rebuild the value of the neighborhood.”

This is a great deal for someone who is looking for a home instead of a property investment, if you are willing to put in the cash and the work. And people from Detroit will tell you that it’s a great place to live and getting better. Read the particulars about buying a house in Detroit at Buzzfeed.

(Image credit: Jessica Probus/Buzzfeed)


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