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Old 03-30-2008, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Oregon
7 posts, read 31,889 times
Reputation: 13

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I guess I am having a mid life crisis but as an outsider (from Oregon) I find incredible value in homes in Detroit. I am going to list an example here but I would like input of people that have lived and experienced Detroit for a while. I am not a "flipper", I have been doing real estate rehab, building, development, etc. for 25 years and feel that if you purchase right and are willing to hold for 5-10 years it would be a reasonable investment. So am I being reasonable or just dreaming and hypnotized by the incredbly cheap prices. I think some of the cheap REO pricing is because of steep terms (cash quick close) demanded by the banks. Anyway I looked at a property at 5903 chatsworth, Detroit 48224. (chatsworth and chandler Park dr south of I-94 a few blocks and north of Grosse Point Park) Is this a war zone or?
BRICK COLONIAL w/ 2 Car Garage/NO RESERVE!! CLear Deed! - eBay (item 140216885943 end time Mar-25-08 19:16:46 PDT) (broken link)
I would appreciate opinions as I plan to commit a lot of time, quite a bit of money and a whole lot of effort. (gradyrbrown@gmail.com)
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Old 03-31-2008, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
3,792 posts, read 5,865,699 times
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Detroit obviously has major issues. I don't know if even 5-10 years is enough before that town starts to recover. The current mayor has set that city back 20 years at least with his antics, and the job market almost doesn't exist. Most investors want to see some signs of life before they take a gamble on such a notorious region, and it aint happenin' now. A lot of people think Detroit will not recover within any of our lifetimes.

That said, things will never get going again there unless folks like you take a chance, so I encourage you to invest in Detroit's future. It was one of America's great cities once upon a time, and can be again.
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:49 PM
 
15 posts, read 64,043 times
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Default There was an article about this topic in the paper just yesterday:

Detroit's housing slump is attractive to investors | Freep.com | Detroit Free Press (http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080331/BUSINESS06/803310318/1118/PRINT - broken link)

There certainly are a lot of bargains in Detroit with all the vacancies and foreclosures. Detroit's economic problems are a magnification of our national economic problems. When the national economy begins a downturn, the very first thing people do is stop buying new cars, and that affects Detroit more than any other place in America. The '90's proved that when the national economy is good, then Detroit will start to comeback. The recent national downturn has slowed down the comeback, but I'm sure it's only temporary.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:30 PM
 
999 posts, read 4,373,266 times
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Lots of people from the west coast are "investing" money in Detroit housing stock right now. You need to come and live here for a while before taking that kind of financial gamble. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, I guess.

But consider this: Detroit's population was once near 2 million. Most of the housing stock was built prior to 1970. Between WWII and now, Detroit has lost most of its population. That's not an exaggeration. It hasn't lost MUCH of its population, it's lost MOST of it. On the other hand, most of the houses that were built in Detroit in the past 50-70 years are still here. Who do you think is going to live in them? If you're banking on people moving back into the city in the next 10 years to live in those houses, God bless you. I don't see it happening. If you're going to take that kind of gamble, I wouldn't do it on older single family houses.
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Old 04-02-2008, 08:23 AM
 
1,969 posts, read 2,820,150 times
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"and the" states:
"On the other hand, most of the houses that were built in Detroit in the past 50-70 years are still here. Who do you think is going to live in them? If you're banking on people moving back into the city in the next 10 years to live in those houses, God bless you. I don't see it happening. If you're going to take that kind of gamble, I wouldn't do it on older single family houses."

ARE YOU ABSOLUTELY OUT OF YOUR MIND??????? ARE YOU ????????
Older single family houses are very attractive to many, many, many people. Older homes are being rehabbed in all in other older cities, such as Chicago, St. Louis, and older cities and towns ALL OTHER THE NATION.

Older single family houses offer such things as:

- SOLID hardwood floors that if taken care of, can last over 100 years!!!!!! Since the 1960's most houses have not been built with hardwood floors, just carpet, or are having "engineered" hardwood floors installed in them, which cannot be sanded down and refinished more than once or twice.

- Wet plaster, crown moulding, coved ceilings, rosettes, barrel-vaulted ceiling, wood beams in ceiling of dining rooms and living rooms, as opposed to bland, cheap drywall with no ornamentation or style

- SOLID wood interior and exterior doors made of mahogany, oak, and stain-grade pine, with antique (mortise lock) doorknobs (think skeleton key), as opposed to cheap hollow doors fitted with brass plated garbage hardware

- natural fire places with intricately carved wood mantles, or other surrounds made of Pewabic tile, plaster or marble, as opposed to no fireplaces in most houses

- windows made of wood or steel, as opposed to the plastic windows that proliferate today.

- exteriors made with not only wood-lap and brick, but real stone, cast concrete, wood shingles, cobblestone, and other decorative exteriors, as opposed to plastic (vinyl siding)

- in addition, many historical and non-historical homes have things such as antique wall sconces, solid wood wainscoting, LEADED glass windows, STAINED glass windows, solid wood moldings like base molding and window/door casing (as opposed to today's finger-jointed, paint-only GARBAGE), built-in cabinetry in dining room and around fireplaces,

From what I know, you lived in Warrendale, which has the LAMEST housing stock of tract 1940's and 1950's 3 bedroom houses - of which I reside. But Detroit has much more to offer than these lousy houses.

The only thing that new houses have on the old are insulation and electrical systems, which can be upgraded in the old houses.

If Detroit would stop the crime problem, improve the schools, and elect leadership that people have confidence, people would be flocking back to renovate these houses.
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Old 04-02-2008, 11:14 AM
 
392 posts, read 1,798,488 times
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Where to start?
There are beautiful homes in that area, there is no doubt about that. Amazing quality and workmanship. Many have been in decline for years though and need lots of work. It isn't cheap work, it is major, making the cost to repair more than the home is worth on the market. This may or may not be true of the home you are looking at but what is the difference if the homes surrounding yours are in a major state of decay?
What do you plan to do with the property? Are you going to move to Detroit and live there? Do you plan to leave it empty while you have it worked on long distance? I can tell you from experience you do not leave houses in that area sit. Stripping is common, copper plumbing, aluminum screen doors, furnaces can all be sold for scrap. I had a friend come home one Christmas eve and someone had stolen the lead glass front doors off his house. Are you going to put new things in a house and leave it?
Do you plan to rent it? It might work for you.....do you plan to do that long distance? I sold a house about 5 blocks from there 15 years ago (more desirable address, well maintained, brick with garage) because I was having problems finding good tenants. I lived nearby and could keep an eye on things, I wasn't trying to do it cross country. The area has not become better during that time.
This Christmas my daughter and I went looking at houses in Detroit about 3/4 from a mile from the one you posted, near Cadieux. I was shocked how the neighborhood had declined since the last time I had been through there. The amount of boarded and empty homes was incredible. I had certainly seen it in others areas of Detroit but that area had been relatively stable, not anymore.
The house you are looking at is in the Morningside area of Detroit. IF you are really serious I would consider moving up to East English Village. Being further east and south in the past has been better, closer to Grosse Pointe Park.
Also I WOULD NOT consider a house that some broker is auctioning EBay. If you are really serious, talk to relators in that area, find one you feel you can trust and work with them to find a investment property. You can't spit without hitting a foreclosed home in the area, "deals" abound if you think the investment is worth it.
I love Detroit, I would love to see investors come in and rebuild the area. I'm just giving you some idea what challenges you face, even before you get to the "how much will it appreciate" stage of the game.
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:20 AM
 
999 posts, read 4,373,266 times
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Quote:
If Detroit would stop the crime problem, improve the schools, and elect leadership that people have confidence, people would be flocking back to renovate these houses.
You could have skipped all the previous stuff in your post and just left the above. Why not add The Fountain of Youth to the list? I also lived in the New Center Area for a while in a 1911 Federal style house with all the nostalgic stuff (including dumb waiters) you seem to think would make peoples' lives worth living in Detroit. Wasn't worth it to me. House eventually sold for under $60,000.00 (when the market was UP) and if you could evict the crackheads, you might get that much if you demolished it and sold the parts....assming they were still there. As far as living there? Be my guest and pay your taxes....and your kids' private school tuition. Nobody cares about the pedigry of their house when their kid is getting raped on the way to school and most established families who can afford to leave have left. No thanks, I'll take drywall and a good school district any day to a house with a plaster medallion on the ceiling across from a park full of glass, weeds and hookers. What price do you put on being able to let your 8 year old ride his bike around the block. There really ARE neighborhoods out there where you can do this with relative peace of mind. But hey, no reward without risk right? I'd rather risk a little less because I can't afford to lose as much. If you want to stake your future with Detroit, and it pays off big for you, I don't begrudge you your profits at all. More power to you and let us know how it works out for you.

Hardwood floors to last a hundred years? Better budget for at least two then cuz that's how long it will take to "..stop the crime problem and improve the schools....." You already HAVE the one qualifier though, "....elect leadership that people have confidence in...." The people elected Coleman Young as often as he wanted to run, and Kwame TWICE! The city council is mostly in for life too. Sounds like a big vote of confidence to me.

Could it be.....and I'm going to go out on a limb here....that the ELECTORATE is the problem?!?!?! How many Art Deco accents or Pewabic tiles would it take to attract people to the city if you made THAT admission???? They elected this guy TWICE! That's the problem. I could see once, becuase he was so smart and honest and handsome and had such great ideas for sacrificing of himself for the city. But electing him a second time was a mistake of the heart, not of the head.

Quote:
If Detroit would stop the crime problem, improve the schools, and elect leadership that people have confidence, people would be flocking back to renovate these houses.
Oh...you mean if Detroit offered everything that people left to find in the suburbs, PLUS cheap historic housing and low taxes, people would flock to Detroit. Well DUH!!! Maybe L Brooks Patterson will be the next mayor too! Go Brooksie!

Last edited by and the; 04-03-2008 at 01:41 AM..
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Old 04-03-2008, 08:51 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
30,255 posts, read 74,440,649 times
Reputation: 38281
What you are missing is that these investors are planning to buy entire nieghborhoods and fix them up. They can do repairs more cost effectively when they are restoring 100 homes at a time. When the homes are nicer, you get better tenants/residents, even if only a little bit better. Such residents tend to chase the crackheads away becuase they call the police.

City living has had a huge surge in popularity. People are sick of commuting and want ot be able to walk to stores and entertainment. If these investors rebuild the entire community, they could turn arond one neighborhood at a time and make money. They will not turn derilect neighborhoods into instant nirvanna, but they will make them a little bit better. Even a little bit better will increase the value.

Somne asked what I would do if I won the recent Lottery. I said that I would buy Harper woods (the whole thing, or most of it), hire my own security and services and start restoring all of the homes and buildings. It should nto cost much to buy it all. Then you could restore one section at a time and as it gets nice, sell off the restored portion to fund the next section of restoration. When done, I might even have enough left to buy a new car.



It does nto work to fix up one house, because you are still surrounded by blight. If you fix up 50 houses in one area, it can turn around. I have lived in an area that did just that.


By the way someone mentioned hardwood floors that can last up to 100 years. Our house is 1702 years old and the hard and softwood (yellow pine) floors are still in good and servicable condition. They are worn, but beautiful. Plus who else can sit on their floor and say "an indian sat right here on this floor and smoked a piece pipe while trading maple and furs for flour and sugar. For many of us there is immense value in living in history.
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Old 04-03-2008, 01:50 PM
 
999 posts, read 4,373,266 times
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They're buying bulk deals to fix them up enough to rent them and then sell them when the market improves. I doubt they're buying "neighborhoods" but I'd sure like to see a link to that information if you have it. It's not about preserving neighborhoods, it's high risk speculation to make $$$$.
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Old 04-03-2008, 03:16 PM
 
1,969 posts, read 2,820,150 times
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It is going to take the residents of the city of Detroit, as well as a better, diversified economy to bring Detroit back.

Even if an investor seeks to restore an entire neighborhood, he/she has to deal with scappers/thieves breaking in and stealing anything of value, homeless people who break in and set small fires to keep warm, sociopathic arsonists who love to burn things down, understaffed police and fire crews, and too many residents who just don't care about the welfare of their neighborhoods.

When, we Detroiters, start demanding more from our elected officials in terms of services like police and fire, start caring more about the upkeep and improvement of our neighborhoods, starting caring much more about our children getting the best education that they can get, then Detroit will rise. And it will no thanks to those who left who didn't do anything to stop the decline.

"And the" you exaggerate the safety problem in Detroit. Yes, their is too much gunplay, but generally, children are safe to be able to ride bikes. I see children running around all the time and all over the place in the city.
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