Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past several years, you know tax foreclosures are at an all-time high in Detroit. By law, the Wayne County Treasurer is charged with administering the auction in an effort to recoup some of the delinquent taxes. The Wayne County Treasurer transitioned to an on-line auction in an effort to alleviate the administrative burden caused by the increasing number of properties. While this new system seems tailor-made for out-of-state speculators, potential homeowners may be able to find a deal. For those resourceful Young Detroiters, the idea of scoring a house and living mortgage free before your parents is definitely attainable.
Margarita Barry, Founder and Publisher of IAYD, found her Northwest Detroit home in the 2011 auction. “I was reading an article in The Detroit News about a couple who bought their foreclosed home back in a prior county auction and a light bulb went off in my head. I’ve always wanted to own my own home, but didn’t think it would be possible …as a 20-something struggling entrepreneur.”
Here’s a few tips for taking advantage of the auction:
1. Start Early- The tentative list of properties is usually available in Late Spring. Why Don’t We Own This is a great tool for scoping out properties. Beware! All properties on the initial list may not be available in the Fall auction as property owners can save their properties from the auction by paying their delinquent taxes. Registration for the Treasurer’s 2012 auction for tax foreclosed properties will take place August 14th through September 7th.
2. Save your pennies- After registering at bid4assets.com, you will be required to place either a $535 or $5035 deposit, depending on if you’re interested in purchasing one or several properties. Additionally, winning your “dream home” will require paying for taxes, insurance and surely some repairs.
3. Develop a plan of attack- Picking your areas or street of choice will enable you to search more effectively. While addresses are the most common method of searching, the most accurate identifier for properties is the parcel identification number. Search the City of Detroit’s Property Tax website or use one of the spreadsheet available at Bid4assets.
4. Work your connections- While the idea may seem overwhelming at first, stay patient and reach out to people that may be of assistance. Family members and friends may help you in your search or know reputable contractors that could assist with your potential rehab in the future.
As Barry stated, “I think it’s a great opportunity, but it’s not without its challenges…I’m still learning along the way.”