CNNMoney’s Les Christie wrote an interesting article about what the City of Detroit is doing to address it’s widespread problem of abandoned and often times unlivable homes. The city’s woes, financially and otherwise, have been well documented. But we found it interesting what the story mentioned as being the city’s latest effort to revive itself, in part, through an effort to improve housing.
BuildingDetroit.org is an auction website planning to auction off a hanful of vacant Detroit homes owned by the city to the highest bidder. Bidding for each of the homes appear to start at $1000. On it’s face, the situation almost seems too good to be true. Who wouldn’t want to buy a home for around $5000 or maybe less? But reading further, you’ll learn, there’s a catch.
Detroit will sell you the home at a low cost… But as soon as you purchase it, the new owner becomes responsible for renovating the home and getting a person living in it (be it themselves or renters) within six months of the purchase date. If those line items are not handled within six months of the purchase, the city reserves the right to recover possession of the home and you ain’t getting a refund. That got us thinking.
Homeownership is often seen as a treasured landmark in American life. If you can afford it, owning a home can offer peace-of-mind, tax writeoffs and even side income if you decide to rent it out. But the City of Detroit raises a very interesting question for folks who might consider taking a bite out of real estate in the Motor City at a low cost.
Is the low price of the home and even the renovation worth risking ownership of the home if you can’t renovate and occupy it inside of six months? You tell us what you think.