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

We started WDWOT in 2011 to track the Wayne County Foreclosure Auction in Detroit, Michigan. Each year our work has grown, and now we're branching out to new cities 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.

It's free to look up information and comment on WDWOT. If you are interested in more robust services, contact us to learn more about our private, subscription-based platform, Site Control.

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 313-434-5790, or drop a line at team@makeloveland.com.

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


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. 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, or if you're a Facebook user you can click the Facebook Connect button. With an account you can comment, draw Neighborhoods and receive updates.

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 25 neighborhoods publicly.

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

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.

About Our Datasets

Loveland uses public sources and portals to assemble the data you see on Why Don't We Own This? From assessor's departments, GIS portals, Socrata open data portals, and more, we strive to find the most recent parcel files and assessor's information (the foundation of every WDWOT) available.

We draw from public data sources that present information relevant to what's happening in a given city. For example, in Detroit we have tracked the annual tax foreclosure auction which affects 20,000 properties per year, for the last four years. In Atlanta / Fulton County, we retrieved property survey data collected in 2013, previously presented in static PDFs online, and built the survey layer you see.

We are well aware of issues about data accuracy that concern many municipal departments, often leading them to avoid making public data available out of concerns over accuracy. We firmly believe that public information should be accessible by the public, and that data does not become more accurate by keeping it in the dark.

So we offer this disclaimer for the data we present on Why Don't We Own This?:

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.

Thanks to the Following

OpenStreetMap provides the comprehensive street level information underlying our maps. This base cartography is © OpenStreetMap contributors.

MapBox hosts our map base maps and data layers for cities on WDWOT.

Leaflet from Cloudmade, which powers the interactive maps all over this website.

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

Mapbox for providing our satellite imagery layer.

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.

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 MongoDB.

Font Awesome by Dave Gandy, and designers from the Noun Project (Ronald Vermeijs).

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.