Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org so we can help you figure out what's going on. The auction has already happened, so the property has already been foreclosed and offered for sale. We need to first see if the property was sold in the auction.
Alex from LOVELAND
Alex from the Loveland team here. We see stories like this frequently. Unfortunately, there aren't very effective methods in place for informing residents that they are subject to tax foreclosure. Many people don't find out they no longer own their house until a new owner shows up at the door with a deed. So we strongly encourage anyone who participates in the auction to reach out to current residents well BEFORE you ever to bid on the property. If it seems like the current resident isn't willing to leave or deal with a new owner, you probably shouldn't bid on that property.
The auction is a very destructive force for almost everyone involved. It needs to fundamentally change in order to prevent situations like these.
I've walked by this building for years wondering how it could possibly still look frozen in 1978. Turns out its because its a privately owned single family home purchased for $100,000 40 years ago and still owned by the same person. Quite the steal. 35,000 sq ft and 72 rooms.
This was the first place I lived in Brooklyn!
Alex here from the Loveland team.
First, I completely agree with you that foreclosure prevention is the most valuable area to spend time, effort, and money.
There's $500 million available via Step Forward Michigan in the form of forgivable loans (if I recall correctly...), up to $30,000 per household. The County Treasurer has worked hard to connect homeowners with the resources, but there's much more that can and should be done to capitalize on programs like that. It's awful to see lack of awareness and poor systems come between people and the ability to hold onto their homes.
That being said, I think there is great value in knowing, and quickly, who is purchasing properties in the auction. While it's true that the information does, eventually, become public via the assessor's database or register of deeds, the information there sits behind a paywall. $2 on the assessor's database, $5 on register of deeds. So there is, in fact, added transparency when we post the information quickly, and freely.
It is also true that nothing can really affect the ownership of the properties for six months or so, but it is important for those who participate in property ownership in Detroit, and Detroiters in general, to know that there are methods for accountability in the maintenance of property. Hopefully making information public more quickly and freely will also help agents like the Wayne County Treasurer in exercising powers like the clawback provision, and in being informed by residents who can look at ownership habits while uploading photos and comments to WDWOT.
Does this make sense?
I don't think I could make any reasonable arguments that more information is worse than less information. But I can't say I'm seeing the argument that this is better than less information. The knowledge of who bid the most isn't publicly valuable. Privately or personally, I can see that, but I don't think that's where we're going.
In the time frame of [End of Auction] to [Filing of Deed], what is the specific value of knowing who owns the property? The MLive North Corktown article provides no substantive information. I assume all of the monied purchasers similarly used agents anyway, so it's really not going to reveal much, or, even worse, will 'reveal' misleading information. And again, that list is not yet a list of property owners.
As for the clawback provision, WaCo Treasurer is the one giving out the information, so they clearly know who's who. If citizens want to submit evidence that the clawback provision should be used, WaCo needs nothing more to find the owner. To the best of my knowledge, the clawback provision does not attach to more than one property (i.e. if you bought 10, but one is clawed back, you keep the other 9). Thus the clawback provision is entirely ownership-independent. And the clawback would never be triggered before the deed is signed/recorded. But that *still* doesn't prevent data collection (photos, comments, whatever) regarding the state of the property.
(Assessor's database trick: just use fake info and say you own the property.)
This property is listed as one of the properties to be demolished as part of the I-94 expansion. Hence the high bids.
Not sure what the protocol is to qualify for the list, Steve, but here it is on Freep's map, too, for corroboration:
Like many things in Detroit, the process of designation (and undesignation) of a dangerous building is very opaque. It is possible this was designated many years ago (as much as a decade in some cases), perhaps when it was open-to-trespass or suffering heavy neglect. I've heard that at one time there was a list of triggers that automatically caused a building to be put on the demo track, open-to-trespass among them. Not sure if this is still the process today.
There doesn't appear to be a correspondingly simple process to get *off* the list (that I know of), there are a several buildings around that have been reoccupied and restored that are *still* technically on the demo list.
Since it is in a historic district, demolition cannot occur until final review/public hearing by HDC, which is not involved in assembling the list. Such approval would appear to be exceedingly unlikely in this case (it is Indian Village, after all), but the new owner should begin the process of removing it from the list, as far as that is possible. Per the HD ordinance, BSEED can only approve demo in historic districts (without HDC approval) if conditions are "immediately necessary for the protection of public health and safety."
Thanks so much.
Yea, the open structures go through a city council committee, which then adds it to the dangerous buildings list. From there, the Bing administration has been deciding what to demo. Unfortunately the city council has to rely on residents complaining about open buildings. But you won't find many people in the most neglected neighborhoods complaining about open, dangerous structures. I drove through Philadelphia, from west to east today, and so many of the houses that were open to trespass were not on the city's lists. The city pretty much relies on citizen complaints to handle the dangerous structure list.
KJ, you're not doing anyone any favors by 'not disturbing the tenants.' If the properties are occupied, you should really approach the people who are living there calmly and respectfully and talk to them about the situation.
Many people who are renters have no idea their property is foreclosed, and are paying unscrupulous landlords rent for a property the landlord no longer owns. We get many reports after the auction of shocked renters coming home to a landlord stripping fixtures and copper out of a house that just sold at auction. Don't contribute to that. Talk to the people who live in the houses you're looking at.
A second reason for talking to people (whether renters or homeowners) is that there will be at least a one-month lag between the auction and you receiving the deed to your property. Scrapping, arson, theft, and generally ruining the property are not unheard of for people who lose their house and have a month to move themselves out of their house. If you want to try to avoid that, it would be wise to be as tactful as possible and talk to the people in the property.
@OlMucky. Well put, and extremely important. Find out the situation of any property you bid on. Be respectful, but don't be afraid to knock on doors, ask, inform, learn. Maybe you can even offer a renter a new contract, or make a friend. Who knows? What a great questions, KJ!
Dani, all liens are wiped out by the foreclosure of the property. Two sites you can use to look at ownership history are the Wayne County Register of Deeds, and the City of Detroit Assessor's info via BS&A (the company that manages the database).
OlMucky thanks for your help. I appreciate it!!!
Well, if it wasn't on the auction list as of April 1, 2013, then I don't think it would be added at any later point for this year's auction.
For a property to be foreclosed due to unpaid taxes, it needs to be 2.5 years delinquent, and owe more than ~$5,000 in unpaid taxes.
If you're interested in the house, and the owner is letting it go, I would strongly suggest that you try to work out a deal with the owner. I know you said you already made an offer, but I'd keep working that route.
That $5,000 number is pretty wishy-washy. Maybe it's $3,000... I don't recall.
Bid4Assets is not running the Wayne County Auction this year. Realauction.com will be the auction provider. You can find information on their website, supposedly, starting August 20th. Until then, here is a writeup explaining some details on the auction:
Hey SF Mark, Good question!
It just so happens I spent a recent weekend drawing a map of Detroit completely filled in with neighborhoods. Your property falls in "Littlefield."
Most Detroit neighborhood maps show about half the city without neighborhood outlines or names. The reason for this, as I understand it, is that the population in Detroit exploded and receded too quickly for many parts of the city to really acquire entrenched neighborhood names and identities.
The map that I drew showing Detroit completely filled with neighborhoods will soon replace the zip code map on WDWOT -- it's attached to this comment, too, if you'd like to check it out.
I don't claim that the map is accurate -- as best I can tell, there's no such thing as an accurate Detroit neighborhood map -- so once it's up online, we'll invite Detroiters to suggest edits to boundaries, borders, and names. That way, hopefully, we can have a map that's defined by everyone and not just the person with the protractor :-)
Thanks for the question!
Hi Abbey, and welcome to Why Don't We Own This! I'm Alex from the LOVELAND team.
What you're looking at on the "2013 Foreclosure Risk" map are all the properties in Wayne County that are at risk of winding up in the annual tax foreclosure auction administered by the Wayne County Treasurer's Office.
When a property doesn't pay property taxes for three years, the county treasurer is required by law to foreclose on the property and auction it off in an attempt to make up the back taxes. This takes place in an online auction managed by Bid4Assets every September & October. The auction is split up into two rounds:
In the 1st round, bidding on foreclosed properties opens at the total amount of back taxes (in the case of the house you're looking at, that would be $6,139).
In the 2nd round, all back taxes are wiped out, and the opening bid for ALL properties is $500.
Each of the last two years, about 20,000 properties across Wayne County have wound up in the foreclosure auction. About 700 sold in the 1st round, 10,000 sold in the second round, and around 8 - 9,000 go unsold.
Keep an eye on Why Don't We Own This to get more information as the auction approaches.
In the instance of the house you're asking about -- 110 Atkinson -- the property has been "Conditionally Witheld" from the foreclosure auction. This likely means that the occupant reached an agreement with the Wayne County Treasurer's Office to pay their back taxes off a little bit at a time. As long as they pay off a certain amount by the time the auction rolls around, their house will not be foreclosed on, and auctioned off.
Hope this helps! Any further questions, just shout.
Hi Candice, This is Alex from the Loveland team. Our information comes from a variety of sources: For example, ownership information comes via the Detroit city assessor; foreclosure data comes via the office of the Wayne County Treasurer.
If you are looking at the "2013 Foreclosure Risk" data layer, that information all comes from the Wayne County Treasurer -- it is accurate as of about two weeks ago.
It's important to understand two things about the 2013 Foreclosure data:
1.) All properties that appear as "Foreclosed" on the 2013 Foreclosure Risk map were foreclosed on April 1st, 2013, and are now owned by the Wayne County Treasury.
2.) All foreclosed properties can still be redeemed, and prevented from moving to the foreclosure auction, right up until the first round of the auction begins in September.
If we can help further, just let us know.
I'm with you on them stopping paying rent. The owner is now the Wayne County Treasurer, not whoever they've been paying.
I'm not sure what the rules are concerning under what conditions a landlord can say 'get the hell outta my building,' but I imagine the only risk in not paying rent would be the landlord gets the building off the foreclosure list and decides to kick his tenants out. Even if there are rules against that kind of thing, well, you know, there are rules, and then there's what you can get away with in Detroit, which tend to be two very different quantities.
Roger, not through any official channels that I know of (i.e. going to the Treasurer's office and making an offer). What you might be able to do is reach an agreement with the foreclosed owner to put the property on a payment plan, make a payment, and purchase the property once it's redeemed from foreclosure. But that could be complicated and require some lawyerly assistance.
Hey Erica! Alex from team LOVELAND here. What can we do to help you get started?
I spent yesterday afternoon at the American Serbian Memorial Hall, for Black Family Development Inc's community luncheon. Got to speak to about 200 people about Why Don't We Own This? and foreclosure prevention resources.
The more events like these we see, the clearer it is that information on Detroit property is needed, wanted, and can make a huge difference when it's easy to access and understand.
Talked to one area resident at the end of the event who commented that the number we have on Why Don't We Own This? showing the total amount of unpaid property taxes in the city ($450 million) is "fictitious." Told him I couldn't agree more -- a huge chunk of that money is gone and not coming back. People who owned some of that property have moved on, and the properties will never recoup expenses at auction.
But there are simple steps we can take to get information into the hands of neighborhood organizations, block clubs, and other entities across the city that will help keep people in their houses, and even return some taxes to the city.
Best way to check is lookup online at Register of Deeds. Costs $5, but it'll answer your question :-)
Would like to note the epic limo Google Maps happened to capture in front of this house. NICE
I first started looking at Detroit in March of 2009. A few friends and I were contemplating moving out here. Just went back and looked at a few of those e-mails and realized that 2522 Chicago Blvd was the house we had our eye on. Looks like it's ready for demolition now, and eligible for foreclosure.
I know I hit you back on this on e-mail, Sandra, but just repeating here so all can read. You can toggle between street map and satellite view using the icon in the upper right of the map that looks like three pieces of paper. You can also quickly turn on and off the parcel shapes, should you want to see what's underneath them.
Google Maps and Bing already show imagery, so it's not like you'd be doing anything that isn't already accessible online. But that doesn't speak to the basic question of whether or not it's right, wrong, or just kinda creepy to post photos of other people's property online (though a lot of us do it all the time -- whenever someone else's house, business, or property winds up in the background, or as the subject, of an Instagram photo or something).
To me, as long as you're intentions are good and respectful, and you're photographing stuff to show change over time or to present useful information to the WDWOT and Detroit community, it's fine to photograph property and post it publicly.
And WDWOT does have a moderation policy -- if people are taking photos or making comments that we don't think are appropriate, we won't allow them to be posted on the site.
Then again, there's also this guy :-)
Hey Sandra! It'll be public by default. If you are a Member then you can click the "Make this comment private" checkbox underneath the comment field, and the photo, and anything you write, will be private. - Alex
You can also connect with foreclosure prevention resources via the property pages on the Tax Distress Map.
If you, a friend, or a neighbor are at risk of foreclosure, remember that there a number of resources and options available to you -- and that the sooner you act, the better.
Show Cause hearings -- an opportunity to show why a home should not be foreclosed on -- started today. They continue...
Any person with an interest in the property
may appear in person or through an agent to
show cause why title to the forfeited property
should not vest absolutely in the Wayne
City of Detroit
Wards 1-11—Jan. 30, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.
Wards 12-15—Jan. 30, 2013 at 1:30 p.m.
Wards 16-17—Jan. 31, 2013 at 9:00 a.m.
Wards 18-21 — Jan. 31, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. even addresses; Feb. 1, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. odd addresses
Ward 22 — Feb. 1, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. Street names beginning A-G Feb. 4, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. Street names
beginning H-Q Feb. 4, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. Street names
Wayne County outside Detroit — Feb. 5, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. parcels beginning 30-49; Feb. 5, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. parcels
If anyone were to lease that property, you'd hope they did their due diligence first since it's headed to foreclosure if no one pays the taxes. And the sale price is really $14,000 when you add in what's owed in back taxes.
So, this is one of the 43,000 properties eligible for foreclosure and inclusion in the 2013 tax foreclosure auctions. The owner has until March, 31st to get on a payment plan, or pay their taxes. If that doesn't happen, the property will be foreclosed and ownership will transfer into the hands of the Wayne County Treasurer's Office.
The foreclosed-upon owner will still have an opportunity however, up until the start of the auction, to recover the property. If nothing happens and the auction begins, the property will go on the block.
If you're interested in purchasing the property, you can wait and see what happens -- see if it winds up in the auction. You could also try reaching out to the current owner and see if they'd be interested in selling now, before foreclosure.
Remember that there are a number of reasons this property could be behind on its taxes. The owner could have fallen on hard times, they could be desperately trying to prevent its foreclosure, and want to retain ownership. At the same time, the owner might want to get rid of it. Let us know how it goes.
Not sure what what's up on this one, Joe. My best guess is that it's an issue with the parcel shape files that we got from the city. I'm not seeing any obvious explanation. If you can interpret this legalese from the title search (I can't :-P) maybe we can figure out if there's a discrepancy between that description and what's on the map. But hey, this is why WDWOT exists, in part -- to find these inaccuracies and get them straightened out. - Alex
W BRUSH E 38.40 FT ON N LINE BG E 34.76 FT ON S LINE OF S 77.62 FT ON E LINE BG S 77.50 FT ON W LINE 24 BLK 11-BRUSHS SUB L8 P12 PLATS, W C R 1/49 77.62 IRREG
Hey Eric, It looks like we've got the Foreclosure warning on this property incorrectly. It's owned by City P&DD, so it's not eligible for foreclosure. Does seem to be coming up as late on its taxes though. Could be a way to buy it through City P&DD though -- that should be the idea at least!
Your Pet Block is like this, Dennis
Hey Jon, Your Pet Block doesn't have as many tax issues as many a Pet Block in Detroit. The missing shapes just mean those properties don't have tax issues. Go up to "Data Layers" and turn on the "Ownership" layer to see all the properties your Pet Block contains.
Hi Jacquie, Sorry to hear you're having trouble tracking down your deed. What's the situation exactly? Did the Treasurer's office not deliver your deed to UHC?
Good question -- it's one with an ever-changing answer, unfortunately.
Unsold properties from the 2011 auction went to the Michigan Land Bank. These properties can hypothetically be purchased from the Land Bank, but I'm unsure of how easy it is: http://www.michigan.gov/landbank/0,3190,7-298-52513---,00.html
Unsold properties from the 2012 auction are still in a limbo state -- it's unclear if they will wind up in the City of Detroit's hands, the Detroit land bank, or the Michigan Land Bank. Stay Tuned...
As for all government owned property in the city, WDWOT offers this collection, though I'm not sure if it's entirely up to date:
You can buy your house back in the auction, or you can buy it back from someone else who bought. Both are legal, and not a problem.
Cassandra, I'll repeat what Wayne County deputy treasurer David Szymanski said at an event we had the other night, "Until a judge tells you you have to leave the home, you don’t have to leave the home." Not sure if that Notice to Quit meets that requirement or not, but wanted to let you know.
detroitbuyers, Hey, it looks like you got quite a haul of properties in the auction, assuming you are the same person as the bid4assets "detroitbuyers" who has 290 properties.
I'd be curious to learn more about your experience dealing with the auction. I work with the WDWOT team -- drop a line at email@example.com if you'd like to chat. Would be very interested to talk with you.
Not only is Wayne County advertising the auction heavily (with taxpayer money), they are also advertising that they are advertising: http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012310190149
Bid4Assets is a for-profit company that has a vested interest in seeing the houses in their auctions sold -- that's how they get and keep clients.
It is generous of you to suggest that Jerry can do more to promote the auction with a tambourine than Bid4Assets and Wayne County combined with the resources at their disposal, but I'm afraid it's not the case.
I'm part of the WDWOT team and wanted to address your concerns.
I think the problem you identify has less to do with Why Don't We Own This? than it does with the fact that Detroit / Wayne County deals with a massive inventory of tax foreclosed property through an auction.
Whether it's an auction conducted in person, where participation depends on your availability of time and money in order to buy (which seems to heavily favor wealthy speculators, to me), or an auction online that is open to the world, given transparency through WDWOT or not, the fact is that 20,000 houses are still at risk of being purchased by irresponsible investors for very little money.
One of the uses I encourage for WDWOT is to continue following property after the auction via the site. The utility of this tool depends on its continued use once the auction ends. If you see speculators in your neighborhood who allow houses to languish, use WDWOT to keep a light on their activity. Let those who would buy property and disregard a neighborhood or the plight of those around them know that their activities are not being ignored. WDWOT provides a platform for that kind of accountability.