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Old 07-08-2017, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
304 posts, read 280,553 times
Reputation: 325

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Hello everyone in the Detroit Forum,

I am a long-time urbanist and construction enthusiast who thoroughly enjoys urban renewal, restoration, and transformation of previously blighted urban neighborhoods. I am originally from North NJ, and so far have lived in Newark, Jersey City, Chicago, and I currently live in BedStuy, Brooklyn.

I work as a carpenter/custom woodworker, and I also make my own furniture and do side projects for people as well. I love old architecture, restoring abandoned buildings, and also love the Great Lakes Rust Belt region, and cold weather.

I have heard of the great opportunities within Detroit Proper for urban renewal, possible low cost home ownership ($40,000 Or less?), and the low cost of living compared with the East Coast cities.

I am considering a move to Detroit Proper in 2019. I would be coming with about $20,000 in savings. I would like to begin work there as a carpenter/woodworker, and slowly transition to having my own work space (possibly in one of those old commercial buildings?) and go into business for myself riding the (hopefully) wave of construction and the need for carpentry and woodwork that will ensue as the city's core gets rebuilt.

I would also like to buy an old historic property for cheap and begin restoration on it, as I cannot nor do not want to do this in Brooklyn - it is prohibitively expensive and overcrowded here, the opportunity is gone IMHO.

Will I find much construction work going on in the city proper? Or will I have to reverse commute for the first several years? I would also like to live Downtown or close to it, as this is a selling point for me, since the cost of Detroit is much cheaper I can have a bit more societal leverage and live in a more happening neighborhood.

Lets just say I were to live with roommates upon arrival, and spend $800 renting in the beginning. Can I afford downtown Detroit? Or must I be renting further out from the city center?

My hobbies outside of woodworking are bodybuilding and attending NA meetings. Those are the amenities I would prefer to be close to. Gym, tanning salon, and NA/AA meetings. I'm 29 years old and Caucasian. Will I meet many people I will relate to?

Please give me advice and steer me in the right direction. Looking forward to reading all the responses. Thank you ahead of time.
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Old 07-08-2017, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Michigan
4,571 posts, read 7,270,310 times
Reputation: 3605
Lol, yea things are slower in this forum and in this region in general. That's Midwest life for ya.

But anyway, it's actually kind of a misconception on how cheap things are here. It's true that COL is cheaper here than in NYC, but only relatively (incomes are not as high). It's still very expensive to restore historic properties. It'll still take a lot of manhours and sometimes close to $100K to fix up a house depending on the size and initial condition. And especially for homes in a historic district, the district has to sign off on the renovations that you make. It might be impossible in Brooklyn but make no mistake it's still difficult in Detroit.

Luckily, the city of Detroit has an auction program in which you can bid for potential homes to renovate. The city already inspects them and gives you information on what you need to bring the home up to code. There's even some financial programs to help fund the renovation. There's a number of other rules and regulations to weed out non-serious buyers but the main thing is that you have to be a Michigan resident or a non-Michigan resident who expects to move into the property after renovation. The goal is to get long-term homeowners into vacant homes and stable neighborhoods.

Auction Program - Building Detroit

As for other construction work, SE Michigan including the city of Detroit is actually going through a shortage of construction workers. There's a lot of construction going on (though definitely not as much volume compared to NYC or Chicago) and there's plenty of opportunity for construction work. The City of Detroit incentives contractors to have at least 51% of their hourly workers be actual residents of the city. Most Detroit residents have to go through training since the pool of workers is actually pretty small, but the city's unemployment rate is still pretty high (8% as of last month). So for someone like you, it might actually be pretty easy to find some work, especially in the city as in the midst of a construction boom.


$800 might get you downtown if you were paying half of the rent. Supply of apartments is actually pretty low and $1400-$1800 is what you can expect to pay in total rent for a 1-2 bedroom apartment. Keep in mind though, that's in a newly renovated/built high rise downtown. A bargain compared to what you could get in NYC. For anything cheaper, you would have to move farther out into some place that's probably rough around the edges or into the suburbs. And by the way, there's no major mass transit here so you will be using a car pretty much no matter where you live. It's possible to live car-free downtown, but it's a very small area.
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Old 07-08-2017, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
304 posts, read 280,553 times
Reputation: 325
Having lived in South Newark and sketchy parts of Chicago, I'm willing to go cheaper for a better bargain. I'm pretty built and big and can hold my own, and have a checkered past, so it's not the crime im I'm scared of, just want to be around people I can relate to. I know how to move in the rough streets all too well. I don't want to live in a fully gentrified part of town. I'm also not trying to live in a part of town where the only entertainment is heroin, crack, and the bodega. Been there, done that. Would Midtown or Uptown be more appropriate?

Thank you so much for your detailed response. I firmly agree with you my timeline of goals will be taken in baby steps, and purchasing and renovating historical property is at the far, higher end of my spectrum.

It sounds like you've told me what I want to hear as far as the availability of work for me. Like I said, the main thing is can I as a young man, live in a partially blighted neighborhood with interesting people/architecture, hold a job practicing my trade as carpenter, and live more comfortably than I would in Brooklyn.

Thanks for reaching back to me

Also, can anyone chime in on amenities I'm looking for? Are there large gyms with extensive free weight sections in Midtown? Tanning Salons? Single white girls?

Please, any responses are appreciated.
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Old 07-08-2017, 12:12 PM
 
Location: On the brink of WWIII
21,093 posts, read 24,790,495 times
Reputation: 7812
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy_407 View Post
Having lived in South Newark and sketchy parts of Chicago, I'm willing to go cheaper for a better bargain. I'm pretty built and big and can hold my own, and have a checkered past, so it's not the crime im I'm scared of, just want to be around people I can relate to. I know how to move in the rough streets all too well. I don't want to live in a fully gentrified part of town. I'm also not trying to live in a part of town where the only entertainment is heroin, crack, and the bodega. Been there, done that. Would Midtown or Uptown be more appropriate?

Thank you so much for your detailed response. I firmly agree with you my timeline of goals will be taken in baby steps, and purchasing and renovating historical property is at the far, higher end of my spectrum.

It sounds like you've told me what I want to hear as far as the availability of work for me. Like I said, the main thing is can I as a young man, live in a partially blighted neighborhood with interesting people/architecture, hold a job practicing my trade as carpenter, and live more comfortably than I would in Brooklyn.

Thanks for reaching back to me

Also, can anyone chime in on amenities I'm looking for? Are there large gyms with extensive free weight sections in Midtown? Tanning Salons? Single white girls?

Please, any responses are appreciated.
Best you may be come and see the city before proclaiming dominion over its citizens? In case you haven't heard, size don't matter when the other guy has 14 plus one in the chamber.
If you are serious about avoiding living in the gentrified forest ( MID TOWN and UP TOWN being the center of gentrification and the HIGHEST cost for real estate), you really need to come see for yourself before assuming any where in the city that is cheap is acceptable.

The city land bank does have a program where city residents and some professions ( like teachers) can buy land and homes at 50% the auction price---though most will still carry huge restoration costs and possible back taxes and or GIGANTIC water bills.

As for actual work, most construction is NEW development, not so much restoration or rebuilding--unless you are self-employed, buy a few shacks and dress them up before they get stripped again and rent to section 8. Actually selling most homes in Detroit may not be as easy as the guy makes it sound on the radio.


Also, can anyone chime in on amenities I'm looking for? Are there large gyms with extensive free weight sections in Midtown? Tanning Salons? Single white girls?

LOL..you gotta come see for yourself...
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Old 07-08-2017, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Michigan
4,571 posts, read 7,270,310 times
Reputation: 3605
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy_407 View Post
Having lived in South Newark and sketchy parts of Chicago, I'm willing to go cheaper for a better bargain. I'm pretty built and big and can hold my own, and have a checkered past, so it's not the crime im I'm scared of, just want to be around people I can relate to. I know how to move in the rough streets all too well. I don't want to live in a fully gentrified part of town. I'm also not trying to live in a part of town where the only entertainment is heroin, crack, and the bodega. Been there, done that. Would Midtown or Uptown be more appropriate?

Thank you so much for your detailed response. I firmly agree with you my timeline of goals will be taken in baby steps, and purchasing and renovating historical property is at the far, higher end of my spectrum.

It sounds like you've told me what I want to hear as far as the availability of work for me. Like I said, the main thing is can I as a young man, live in a partially blighted neighborhood with interesting people/architecture, hold a job practicing my trade as carpenter, and live more comfortably than I would in Brooklyn.

Thanks for reaching back to me

Also, can anyone chime in on amenities I'm looking for? Are there large gyms with extensive free weight sections in Midtown? Tanning Salons? Single white girls?

Please, any responses are appreciated.
Midtown is kind of equally expensive and it's generally filled with college students. Though would probably be pretty easy to find a roommate in this area.

Uptown isn't a commonly used term in Detroit, but New Center/Boston Edison and Hamtramck are farther north with some decent options. Southwest Detroit might also be a decent option for you to look into.

Outside of that, the rest of the city is very spread out varying between very dilapidated areas that aren't even worth moving into to family centered quiet suburban neighborhoods. Very easy to find cheap places to live, but even considering the crime, you'd still have to drive 10-15 minutes away to find the amenities you're looking for in many areas.

Bagley, Rosedale Park and vicinity, West Village, and the North End are areas I'd suggest. All are decent neighborhoods but more populated with families. Very easy to find rentals in the $800 range.
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Old 07-09-2017, 08:33 AM
 
5,114 posts, read 4,819,582 times
Reputation: 4380
I think that SoldierHobo's threads Go East Young Man.html and Go East...and Become Homeless should be required reading for anyone who wants to join the transformation of Detroit.

Be warned, it doesn't end happily.

But that's not to say that SoldierHobo's experience will be your experience. I'm just saying that one needs to go in with eyes wide open, willing to do the due-diligence required, and ready to power through the unexpected difficulties that you will encounter.
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Old 07-09-2017, 12:21 PM
 
1,851 posts, read 2,296,651 times
Reputation: 1864
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmilf View Post
I think that SoldierHobo's threads Go East Young Man.html and Go East...and Become Homeless should be required reading for anyone who wants to join the transformation of Detroit.

Be warned, it doesn't end happily.

But that's not to say that SoldierHobo's experience will be your experience. I'm just saying that one needs to go in with eyes wide open, willing to do the due-diligence required, and ready to power through the unexpected difficulties that you will encounter.
Soldierhobo chose to purchase a $2,000 home in northeast Detroit in one of the highest crime zip codes in THE COUNTRY (48205). Mr. AnimatedMartian has suggested FAR, FAR, FAR better neighborhoods - New Center, Boston-Edison, Hamtramck, Bagley, Rosedale Park, and West Village - that are seeing an influx of new residents, or, are at the least, stable.

Last edited by usroute10; 07-09-2017 at 12:33 PM..
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Old 07-09-2017, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Detroit
3,671 posts, read 4,806,363 times
Reputation: 2624
Quote:
Originally Posted by djmilf View Post
I think that SoldierHobo's threads Go East Young Man.html and Go East...and Become Homeless should be required reading for anyone who wants to join the transformation of Detroit.

Be warned, it doesn't end happily.

But that's not to say that SoldierHobo's experience will be your experience. I'm just saying that one needs to go in with eyes wide open, willing to do the due-diligence required, and ready to power through the unexpected difficulties that you will encounter.
To be fair... he was in the most dangerous neighborhood in Detroit. And what really messed him up wasn't the crime it was that flood that ruined his investment.

Quote:
.....?

Have to bump this lol, its been 4 hours not one response? I didn't think the city was that abandoned ��

I guess I'm just used to the New York forum has more users..
NYC metro is like 4 or 5 times bigger than Detroit metro. And there's only a few regular posters on here, most people on the Detroit forum are part time posters and half of those are trolls who just come here to stir up some sh*t so alot of people on the Detroit forum end up getting banned/ suspended or just stop coming to CD all together. You would actually probably get a better response on other Detroit websites like Detroityes.com or something.

But I mostly agree with animatedmartian on his post. The only part I disagree with is having to drive 10-15 minutes to amenities, that is not really true. The average Detroit neighborhood has restaurants, gas stations, pharmacy's, grocery stores (mostly locally owned), laundry, beauty supply, barber/ beauty shops, liquor stores, auto repair shops, car washes, churches, banks, ect. Even in the crappiest areas of the city your not longer than 5 minutes away from any of that stuff. Although it's nothing close to the scale of NYC. BUT with that being said, you will have to drive at least 10 minutes from most parts of the city to get to big box stores like Walmart, indoor shopping malls, movie theaters, swimming, amusement centers, ect.

I would always suggest that you check out the area and even more so the property itself first before buying. Your going to want to know the average selling price in that neighborhood vs how much it's going to cost to fix up the house. With all of the stuff going on downtown right now, in 2 years (assuming the housing market or economy doesn't go to sh*t), the neighborhoods near downtown-Midtown will probably start having alot more development so when your ready you might be right on time. I would just make visits to Detroit every once in a while and look at locations you may be interested in and do tons of research and in 2 years you will probably know all you need to know.

As far as you wanting to do construction, your work will probably be scattered around the Metro Detroit area, city and suburbs.
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Old 07-09-2017, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Detroit Suburbs , MI
157 posts, read 109,023 times
Reputation: 120
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy_407 View Post
.....?

Have to bump this lol, its been 4 hours not one response? I didn't think the city was that abandoned ��

I guess I'm just used to the New York forum has more users..
Suggested reading

https://www.amazon.com/500-House-Det.../dp/1476797986

Want to meet that guy someday. he inspires.

And keep checking https://detroit.curbed.com/
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Old 07-09-2017, 04:01 PM
 
1,851 posts, read 2,296,651 times
Reputation: 1864
Quote:
Originally Posted by tommy_407 View Post
Having lived in South Newark and sketchy parts of Chicago, I'm willing to go cheaper for a better bargain. I'm pretty built and big and can hold my own, and have a checkered past, so it's not the crime im I'm scared of, just want to be around people I can relate to. I know how to move in the rough streets all too well. I don't want to live in a fully gentrified part of town. I'm also not trying to live in a part of town where the only entertainment is heroin, crack, and the bodega. Been there, done that. Would Midtown or Uptown be more appropriate?

Thank you so much for your detailed response. I firmly agree with you my timeline of goals will be taken in baby steps, and purchasing and renovating historical property is at the far, higher end of my spectrum.

It sounds like you've told me what I want to hear as far as the availability of work for me. Like I said, the main thing is can I as a young man, live in a partially blighted neighborhood with interesting people/architecture, hold a job practicing my trade as carpenter, and live more comfortably than I would in Brooklyn.

Thanks for reaching back to me

Also, can anyone chime in on amenities I'm looking for? Are there large gyms with extensive free weight sections in Midtown? Tanning Salons? Single white girls?

Please, any responses are appreciated.
Mr. Animated Martian had some good suggestions. I think that Midtown, Hamtramck, and Southwest Detroit are fits for you. I disagree with him about Midtown being mostly students or student-focused. I would also consider Islandview Village and the North End for houses on the edge of the gentrification.

MIDTOWN

If you just want to rent first, there are still many studios and 1-bedroom apartments in Midtown that are between $600 to $900. They will not be brand new places. Please see below web address for rental rates

Rent | Midtown Detroit Inc.

Here is a relatively new mixed-use development in Midtown, with studios from $900 to 950. Units include washer and dryer.

The Auburn - Center City Properties

If you desire a roommate in a 2-bedroom apartment in Midtown, there are plenty of options under $750 per roommate.

I would also look into the Lafayette Park district east of downtown; there are studios being offered in the $700-$800 range. Lafayette Towers has 528 square foot studios for $799.


PLACES TO BUY A HOUSE IF YOU GET TO THAT POINT

HAMTRAMCK
Hamtramck is an interesting community, very diverse, gentrifying, but still rough around the edges. Unfortunately, the houses are fairly small and non-descript. The adjacent community of Highland Park has amazing housing (see here), but is still in decline and has all kinds of problems.

Link to a sample of the housing for sale and prices in Hamtramck - Homes for sale and real estate search results in Hamtramck Michigan Provided by Real Estate One


SOUTHWEST DETROIT/MEXICANTOWN
Diverse, rough around the edges, walkable, but crime is a concern; be street smart

Honestly, I didn't find many homes for sale in the better part of Mexicantown

Here is one right of the main strip in the "Springwells Village". Vintage Southwest, but the houses are not really historic.

2346 Honorah St, Detroit, MI 48209 - realtor.com®

NORTH END & ISLANDVIEW
$40,000 House in the North End

$50,000 House in Islandview

SINGLE WHITE GIRLS
Midtown and Downtown are going to have the single white girls within the city. The trendy "urban" suburbs of Ferndale, Royal Oak and the surrounding communities also have a lot of young single white ladies.

For gyms in Midtown/Downtown:

Anytime Fitness
Bolls Downtown YMCA
Wayne State University Fitness Center
Fitness Works in nearby New Center
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