Deal With It, Detroit

MIAMI - FEBRUARY 11:  A foreclosure/price reduced sign stands in front of a home for sale on February 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. Today, the Obama administration revealed plans to reform the government-controlled mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which included winding down some of their programs that help home buyers.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Deal With It, Detroit: Five percent of the city’s properties are for sale at $500 auction right now, with 1/2 not expected to  sell.  So what happens next?

Let’s strap on our Detroit x-ray glasses at, look at what’s happening with the 20,000 properties at  the  Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction, and get real about improving land

use strategies, informing the public,  advertising the problems and dealing with all the properties left behind.


There’s something going on in Detroit right now that we should all know about and follow, because it’s huge, it’s real, it’s happening, it touches every neighborhood, it sends waves into the future, and if addressed head-on it could become the gateway to more transparent and inclusive management and problem-solving as relates to the city’s physical space.

Today until October 26th, 20,000 Detroit properties are being auctioned online for $500 at the Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction.

That’s basically five percent of all the 384,861 properties in Detroit, and the world’s largest such property auction.

Normally a silent, invisible and anonymous event, it’s now clearly mapped out for you with discussion channels and live bid and winner tracking at If you live in Detroit, you can just type in your address to see what’s around you. How to share public information with the public 101.

Note: Though bid registration is closed, in a pinch you can try reaching out to a proxy bidder through the site.

Some zip codes like 48205 in north east Detroit basically have 10 percent of their properties for sale at the auction (2,224 out of 22,889 properties, with as many again owned by a disparate mix of the City, HUD, the state land bank, and bank banks):

If the auction is anything like previous years, we expect roughly half of the properties to not sell. If 10,000 receive no bid, that means $5,000,000 could purchase 2.5 percent of all Detroit’s properties.

Will someone do that? It’s certainly interesting to consider, especially in a frozen system that needs to be thawed before it can be remolded.

This summer I wrote about an idea called “No Property Left Behind”, suggesting that every property without a bid could be crowdfunded and informally landbanked using more open methods for finding new ways to put the land back to use. I spent a lot of time talking to block clubs and neighborhood groups, seeing who might like to function as local administrators, but unfortunately everyone seems afraid to take these properties on because the system is such a mess.

A lot of these properties just need to be dealt with, which is why they’re being left behind again and again. So, you know, when do we actually deal with them? Maybe the problem of this auction presents an opportunity.

If there are indeed 10,000 or however many properties left behind after the auction, it looks like the county and city do attempt an effort to put un-purchased auction properties back to good local use, but that the current strategies are un-transparent and unmanageable. In an evolution of No Property Left Behind thinking, what if rather than trying to buy the properties we used WDWOT to clearly show people exactly which properties are left behind after the auction. If we can marry that information with an open application process that includes neighbors requesting things and advertising problems that need to be dealt with, amazing things can happen.

With new web-based tools for managing the process alongside hardworking organizations who’ve been doing work like this for a long time, we can now efficiently match the people with resources with the people in the neighborhood who have the local knowledge of the big, hard problems that need solving.

I know there are people out there in the world who will help pay for and perform deconstruction on structures that are too far gone, while helping secure genuine neighborhood assets. There are people who will do environmental cleanup, who will help create parks in new open spaces, and who will help solve other problems if Detroit actually advertises them clearly and invites crowdsourced solutions.

With properties freshly left-over from the auction, there’s a total logic for why they should be tracked and managed this way, serving as a sort of virtual land bank. Successes from the approach can then be applied to the tens and tens of thousands of other empty buildings and vacant lots not at this auction.

We’ll see how it evolves and if people care as we attempt to clearly show what’s happening at and what’s left behind after the auction on I hope you’ll follow along, contribute your insights, spread word to your friends, family, neighbors and networks, and if you see something on the site, say something, please.

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Will unprecedented mortgage lending finally save Detroit?


The plight of the city of Detroit has been well chronicled in the last few years. Once the hub of American ingenuity and enterprise, the city took serious body blows with the downfall of the American auto industry and the city itself filed for bankruptcy on July 18, 2013.

In the aftermath of the housing crash, Detroit has been the subject of numerous efforts to save the city, from the likes of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of the Treasury, Fannie Mae, and Quicken Loans, just to name a few.

But after this week, no one can ever say again that the city of Detroit is not prepared to go to extraordinary lengths to pull itself out of the recession.

On Thursday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced a new mortgage program designed to stabilize its neighborhoods, fight the city’s blight and help more of its citizens become homeowners.

The newly created program, called the “Detroit Neighborhood Initiative,” is based on a partnership between the city of Detroit, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, the Opportunity Resource Fund and Bank of America (BAC).

After completing a NACA pre-purchase program, homebuyers can qualify for what the group calls a “remarkable” mortgage, featuring zero down payment, zero closing costs, no fees, and “below-market” fixed interest rates – 3.5% on a 30-year note and 2.875% on a 15-year note.

But that’s not all. Not by a long stretch.

The program will allow borrowers to take out loans with a loan-to-value ratio of 110%, with the excess to be used as funding for renovations.

For homes bought through the Detroit Land Bank, which recently began purchasingforeclosed homes back from Fannie Mae, borrowers will be able to take out loans with a LTV of 150%; a figure that NACA CEO and founder Bruce Marks says has never been done before.

“This is a game changer, which has never been done in the history of mortgage lending,” Marks said. “The mayor of Detroit, Bank of America, and NACA are not only redefining neighborhood stabilization for Detroit, but are providing a national model of a true partnership that will significantly stabilize both neighborhoods and homeowners. It shows a path forward for how hard hit communities can truly be revitalized”

Additionally, the buyer’s credit score is “never considered” in the mortgage process. Instead, the buyer’s “individual payment history” will be considered instead. A report from the Detroit Free Press delves into what that actually means. According to the Free Press report, borrowers must be employed or have a steady income, and be 12-months current on their existing bills.

According to the group, the loans will be underwritten by NACA and funded by Bank of America.

“We know the desire to renovate these houses and rebuild our neighborhoods is there” Mayor Duggan said. “What we haven’t had is enough lenders willing to take a chance on our city to show what’s possible. That changes now in a big way.”

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Global Journeys Summer Day Camp

  The Global Journeys Summer Day Camp runs from June 22 – August 28, 2015,  Monday through Thursday, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The program will be  held at the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit,  at 111 E. Kirby, in  Detroit. The children will be surrounded by cultural and ethnic history. 

The daily  activities will include: The youth will learn about lifestyles, holidays, religions,  languages, and folktales of different ethnic groups. The curriculum will include  basic communication in different languages, arts and crafts from different  cultures, dance, songs and playing instruments from different countries, learning indoor and outdoor games, and experiencing stage performances with cultural attire.

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Detroit Property Management has worked with investment funds and high net worth individuals in dealing with each stage of the investment process

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Detroit Property Management has built up a strong network of clients and professionals and is active in acquiring and disposing of properties on their behalf

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Detroit Property Management has experience in developing property in the USA: Assessment of development proposals, Negotiation of contracts

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