DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A University of Michigan class is teaching students from Detroit how to acquire abandoned homes, fix them up and rent them out as part of an effort to create lively, walkable neighborhoods.

Peter Allen, an adjunct lecturer at the Ann Arbor university’s Ross School of Business, recently started the class with 18 students at the university’s Detroit Center.

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“It’s not easy, it’s not fast,” Allen said “This is not a ‘get rich quick’ class.”

Allen is joined by three of his former students to help mentor those taking the class. They’ll work to develop strategies to rehabilitate homes and bring in revenue.

“I’m going to teach you in this class how to map it out. This is not some academic effort — it’s a real house,” Allen recently told students. “You will begin to figure out what you can buy it for, how much it costs to fix it up, how we can finance it and rent it out.”

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Allen told his students that he’s now enjoying the benefits from his years in real estate investing, although his Ann Arbor properties took 15 years to give him a cash flow.

“I’m not going to teach you how to be a millionaire. I’m going to teach you how to not lose money,” Allen said. “I’m teaching this class for free. The only payback is when you do your first house, you invite me and my wife for dinner.”

Detroit has worked for years to deal with vacant homes and buildings, and thousands of them have been razed. The city has a number of efforts to encourage people to buy vacant homes and fix them up as well as to get rid of structures that are beyond repair.

The class targets six Detroit neighborhoods that are part of the Skillman Foundation’s Good Neighborhoods program, including Brightmoor, Chadsey Condon, Cody Rouge, Northend Central Woodward, Osborn and Southwest Detroit. The first class took place May 30 and the remaining classes are June 27 and July 25.

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