About WDWOT?

Why Don’t We Own This? is a service by LOVELAND Technologies that displays every property in a city and provides meaningful lenses to understand property information including:

  • Ownership Information
  • Property Tax Status
  • Foreclosure Information
  • Foreclosure Prevention Resources
  • Property Tax Payment Portals
  • Real-Time Foreclosure Auction Updates
  • Social Channels to comment and connect with others
  • Additional tools for those who join our $25 annual membership program

The focus of Why Don’t We Own This? is Detroit, Michigan. We started WDWOT in 2011 to track the Wayne County Foreclosure Auction. Each year our work has grown along with the size and scale of the foreclosure auction and its effect on the City of Detroit, and now we're branching out to provide more year-round property and land use services.

We strive to provide property information in a clean and interactive way that is intuitive to use while increasing the sense of ownership and power a citizen has in their city. Hopefully WDWOT helps prevent the accidental and unnecessary loss of properties to tax foreclosure and auction, and helps connect you with otherwise invisible opportunities for enlightenment, investment, charity, and support.

It's free to look up information and comment on WDWOT, but we encourage you to become an annual member for $25. Memberships and tips allow us to run and develop the service, and they also give you access to additional site features.

We're constantly developing things and looking for feedback on not only how to improve the site, but how to work with governments, businesses, neighborhood groups, and nonprofits. Our feedback page is at whydontweownthis.com/topics/feedback.

If you are interested in the service Why Don’t We Own This? provides for your city, or any custom work, give us a call at 313-649-5263, or drop a line at team@makeloveland.com.

Thanks for visiting the site and taking the time to read this.


Disclaimer on Accuracy of Information: The information we display is pulled together from a variety of public records and we do everything we can to keep it fresh, although it is certainly imperfect. Please check with the city and/or county directly before acting on anything, and let us know if you find any inaccuracies so we can fix them. We would LOVE to work directly cities, counties, and states to mirror their public record databases in realtime, and we make every effort to collaborate in improving how public information is shared with the public. If you like where this is going, please encourage your local governments to sign on.

Using the Site

WDWOT should work and display well on any modern web browser or smartphone. If anything looks funny to you, please let us know: team@makeloveland.com.

First we recommend signing in to the site by creating a free account or becoming an annual member for $25. If you're not signed in you can still view site information, but you won't be able to comment, draw, or interact. To sign up for a free account you can use your email address to create a WDWOT account, or if you're a Facebook user you can click the Facebook Connect button. Free users can comment, draw a limited number of Neighborhoods, and receive updates, while paid members have access to additional features.

WDWOT is a powerful tool that can be put to a number of uses. We invite you to let us know how you’d like to use the site. Please leave your questions, comments, and suggestions in the WDWOT Feedback (link) Forum.

Finer Points:

In the upper-right of the map you'll see an icon that will let you turn satellite imagery, places, and boundaries on and off.

The map of Detroit is divided up by Zip Codes. To start exploring individual properties, first click a zip code to zoom down to the local level. You can also search for a specific address, or if you're in Detroit, press the "What's Around Me?" button to automatically zoom down to where you are.

Use the Data Layers button to choose which property information you'd like to see.

Click a property to pull up its address. Click the address to visit the property page.

Use the comment box to leave a message on a property or area. Comments made by others should appear below a property or area.

While signed in, use the drawing tool icons in the upper right to click and draw points on the map. Outline an area you're interested in, give it a name, and save it to focus on that area. Free users can draw and save 5 neighborhoods publicly. Paid members can draw and save as many as they'd like publicly or privately, and set one as their own neighborhood.

Click the Activity feed under the Community tab to see a sequential list of everything everyone has said or added to the site.

Paid Members Only:

Pet Blocks
Follow properties and areas
Draw Neighborhoods
Add properties to Favorites
Add properties to Collections

Organized Social Uses:

We hope to see WDWOT become an organized surveying and outreach tool used by people, projects, neighborhood groups, and those who want to reach out to their neighbors to make sure they know they're at foreclosure risk, and inventory vacant properties. If you're interested in this, please let us know what we can do that would be most useful in helping manage your efforts and provide the information and surveying tools you need.


For $25, you'll get access to additional tools and features including:

Neighborhood Dashboard:

Set an area of the city as the primary place that you’re interested in. You’ll receive emails with changes to property in your area including tax delinquency, foreclosure, change of title, comments, and more.

Privacy Settings:

Organize your thoughts, make notes, and create maps all in private for your own use.

Custom Maps:

Use the custom map tool to build up to five maps quickly accessible via your homepage dashboard.

Highlight Multiple Areas per Map:

Track and take notes on properties in different areas, all on the same map.

Access to WDWOT Labs:

Be the first to take our tools and experiments for a spin in the field.

A "Pet Block":

To visualize memberships you'll be randomly matched with a quarter-mile area of Detroit to explore.

2013 Membership costs $25. You also have the option to leave a "tip" if you'd like to support this work at a higher level. Your membership is good for 1 year, at which point you'll be asked if you'd like to renew.

About » Site Control


Have you ever wanted to know who owns the world around you? The Ownership layer will tell you who owns property around the city of Detroit. When you're zoomed in on an area you'll see a dashboard under the map that breaks down various ownership statistics and leaderboards. You can click the name of an owner to highlight all of their properties on the map.

We use the freshest data available in early 2013, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy. If you find something wrong, please do let us know.

About » Distressed Tax Map

Distressed Tax Map

Using public data on the Wayne County Tax Portal, LOVELAND has assembled a map of the property tax status of every property in Detroit. The map presents in a clear and accessible form the scale of Detroit’s property tax deficit. It can be used to focus resources in the most affected areas, and think holistically about the state of Detroit land use and investment. If you click a property, you'll see a list of the various options for getting on a payment plan and applying for tax relief. The names of property owners are not included in this map. If you are on this map and would like your property updated or removed, please e-mail us at team@makeloveland.com.

About » 2013 Foreclosure Risk

2013 Foreclosure Risk

With the 2013 Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction fast approaching, we have assembled a map of all 43,000 properties at risk of foreclosure and inclusion in the foreclosure auction. All properties on this map that do not address their tax delinquency by March 31, 2013 will be foreclosed on and ownership will transfer to Wayne County.

Every property in this map includes resources on foreclosure prevention. Many tools are available to help homeowners avoid foreclosure, and they are presented and explained on individual property pages. If you are an organization or party interested in connecting homeowners with foreclosure prevention resources, please contact us at team@makeloveland.com if we can help.

About » 2012 Tax Auction

2012 Tax Auction

An archive of activity from the 2012 Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction, where 11,972 properties sold to 2,198 bidders for $49,975,566. 8,686 properties went unsold for $500 a piece. Unrecouped taxes from the 2012 auction left Detroit’s property tax revenue gap at $225,546,049. Peruse the activity from 2012 here.

About » 2011 Tax Auction

2011 Tax Auction

An archive of the 2011 Foreclosure Auction, the first that Why Don’t We Own This? followed. The site tracked 5,815 Detroit properties that sold to 1,132 bidders for $20,580,806. Peruse the activity from 2011 here.

Thanks to the Following

SEMCOG, the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, is the only organization in Southeast Michigan that brings together all of the region’s governments to solve regional challenges. We'd like to thank SEMCOG for sharing their map of green infrastructure and building footprints with us. Using the layers toggle in the map, you can turn on or off 'Buildings' to see the SEMCOG data.

Leaflet from Cloudmade, which powers the interactive maps all over this website. Cloudmade also provides the underlying street map, based on data from the OpenStreetMap project.

Data Driven Detroit for generously sharing their 2011 Wayne County Tax Auction information with us.

Bing Maps for providing our satellite imagery layer.

The web services we happily use every day: Linode, Braintree, Typekit, New Relic; and the many open-source tools that go into the making of this site: Ruby on Rails, jQuery, Bootstrap, RGeo, MySQL, and Entypo.

About » A Message from the Treasurer

A Message from the Treasurer

Want to keep your property?
If you own a property that's being foreclosed on and want to keep it, please call the Wayne County Treasurer's office at 313-224-6105. You can also comment on it to let people know. No guarantees, but we hope you'll find support.