Detroit Land Bank Authority Helps Families, Fights City Blight

The Detroit Land Bank Authority is helping encourage responsible home ownership in Detroit, and both owner-occupants and companies are eligible to bid on rehabbed properties.

From the Detroit Free Press:

"A new round of open houses today and Sunday will show off the Duggan administration’s latest salvageable abandoned homes to be auctioned to families or investors who promise to have them quickly reoccupied.

Some of the new homes are smaller and less grandiose than the big historic homes auctioned so far by the Detroit Land Bank Authority, and they may fetch smaller bids than the big-ticket homes that sold for $40,000 to nearly $100,000. While the auctions started in East English Village in May, the new batch of homes are in more modest, working-class neighborhoods like Old Redford, Cody Rouge and Cornerstone.

Dekonti Mends-Cole, deputy director of the land bank, said Friday the auction is meant to sell fixable homes in stable neighborhoods across the city, not just marquee areas like Boston-Edison, with [']price points for all buyers.[']

[']This is much more realistic for a lot of people to get into,['] Mends-Cole said. [']They’re good homes, and we got a lot of requests to purchase these before they even went into the auction. We’ve really tried to make sure that these homes were in neighborhoods with lots of interesting things happening in terms of amenities.[']

One of the new additions is a light yellow-green, two-story wood-frame home in the city’s Hubbard Farms Historic District, 1,300 square feet with two bedrooms. The home, built in 1900, has original woodwork, 10-foot ceilings, leaded glass windows and an elegant fireplace, the city’s description says, and though it’s mostly in good condition, [']the purchaser should expect to make many repairs, including an overhaul of the kitchen, bathrooms and carpet.[']

Auctions of the homes start Monday at That’s the website set up for the auctions — now two every day — and it has more information about available homes and the rules for bidding on, buying and fixing up the houses. Contact the land bank at 844-289-3522.

The program is designed to encourage responsible home ownership, but it’s not limited to owner-occupants. Both individuals and companies interested in fixing up the homes are eligible.

Bids beginning at $1,000 are taken between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Winning bidders have 72 hours to put down 10% of the bid price. Then, bidders with auction prices of up to $20,000 have 60 days to pay the full price or close on a mortgage; for bids of $20,000 or more, the deadline is 90 days to close the deal. Bidders who don’t meet deadlines lose the houses and money put down on them.

And to ensure that the homes are reoccupied quickly, new owners must provide the land bank with executed construction contracts or other plans for rehabilitation within 30 days of the closing. Homes must be certified for occupancy within 6 months with either the owner or tenants living in them; that’s extended to 9 months for homes designated as historic."