DETROIT (CBS Detroit/AP) Got $1,000? Then you could own a Detroit gem.
Officials have launched a new auction website at www.buildingdetroit.org to help sell Detroit-owned abandoned and foreclosed houses as part of an effort to fight blight. It dovetails with Mayor Mike Duggan’s recently announced plans to aggressively pursue the owners of abandoned houses in court; and a bank’s offer of forgivable loans for new home buyers in one targeted neighborhood.
And there are plenty of houses to go around.
Take, for instance, the stately brick 1929 Tudor at 5261 Grayton. It has about 1,400 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths, a two car garage, and a full basement. It also has newer windows, a good roof and a fireplace.
But according to the listing, there’s also “peeling paint in the kitchen, and the bathroom needs repairing. No furnace or hot water heater.”
It’s a common story — many of the houses for auction on the new buildingdetroit.org website are lacking essentials, probably due to scrappers. The site warns that most houses will require more money in improvements than the cost of the home itself, also cautioning that “failure of property to bring a property up to code within six months will result in forfeiture.”
The city said Monday that one home will be auctioned each day on the land bank site beginning May 5.
Of the 15 homes currently listed for sale on the website, the first dozen are located in Detroit’s East English Village neighborhood.
Detroit has been struggling for years with vacant and dangerous buildings, often demolishing them. This new plan is designed to get empty houses into the hands of people who will quickly fix them up.
Detroit is in court this week fighting to seize abandoned properties, as part of Duggan’s blight-busting plan, which includes suing the owners of each one of the thousands of abandoned houses in Detroit. Under the plan, seizure notices are posted on abandoned houses, then property owners are given three days to respond before a lawsuit is filed to take the property.
In the meantime, there’s money on the table for those who will buy and fix up the houses in one neighborhood.
If the house is one of the 79 houses in the Mary Grove Community on the west side, after the city takes the property and auctions it off, the new home buyer can apply for a $25,000 forgivable loan from Talmer Bank. Talmer has allocated $1 million to help homeowners in that particular neighborhood.
“If you want to live in the house, I don’t know what you’re going to bid, $10,000, $15,000, you’ll be able to get $25,00 from Talmer and they will forgive $5,000 per year, for each year you live in the house, up to five years,” Duggan told WWJ 950’s Stephanie Davis.
Duggan calls the plan a bold experiment, but says he’s excited to see what happens in the next 90 days.
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