No Property Left Behind Invitation: Who, What, Where To Crowdfund At The Detroit Tax Foreclosure Auction?
The Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction touches every neighborhood in Detroit with more than 20,000 properties being auctioned citywide in September and October. In recent years more than 1/2 have not sold and been left behind even at $500:
This is an invitation for neighborhood groups, block clubs, motivated locals, and etc, who would like to take ownership of tax foreclosure auction properties near them that no one else bids on, to please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the telephone at 313-649-5263.
The nutshell premise is this: From October 19-25 thousands of Detroit properties all over the city will be auctioned for $500 (everything that does not sell for back taxes in September). You can see what’s coming up near you at whydontweownthis.com and if you have a clear, simple, trust-worthy plan for renovating, re-using, deconstructing, cleaning, selling, renting, or otherwise making improvements or productive use of some of these properties that no one else bids on, we’re interested in promoting you and your efforts and helping you raise the funds to acquire them.
Read on for more:
Over the past couple months I’ve had some really great meetings and gotten good advice, I think, on the No Property Left Behind idea to crowdfund the purchase of $500 properties that no one else bids on in Detroit. See the original post and update here.
For those just tuning in, at last year’s Wayne County Tax Foreclosure Auction (link from whydontweownthis.com), more than 7,000 of the 13,000 properties being auctioned for $500 in Detroit did not sell (this year the starting number of properties is 20,000…). In rough numbers that means if someone had wanted to purchase 7,000 otherwise unpurchased properties it would have cost them $3.5 million.
That is not very much to many wealthy people and companies, and also, interestingly, not very much for a motivated crowd of people who care about Detroit.
Of course, crowdfunding the properties does not solve what happens to them on the other side. Still, it’s intriguing because in one fell swoop it would open the door to massive innovation in how Detroit does land, moving beyond the armchair question of what you would do with such an inventory if you were the city, the county, the state, or the various land banks and large owners right now, to *what are we going to do right now!* Eek!
There is value to that, and it would be amazing, for sure. If you put your daydream hat on and one, two, skip a few, the entire world would tune in for something so grand, and, the network being what it is these days, resources would likely start appearing to fund the many things that needed to be done. It could be the moment when the red tape is cut, the excuses run dry, and Detroit finally thaws in the light of increased transparency, donations, visitors, and investment.
But. Recognizing that that is an awful lot of liability, guaranteed chaos, and a management problem quite likely above our current pay grade (mighty tho we be), there might be other options for getting at the same thing in more bite-sized chunks working directly with neighborhood organizations and hyper-local people who are interested in taking on auction properties near them that get left behind on a project by project basis.
The only way to find out is to gauge people’s interest, so I’ll use just a few quick one-examples, and hope you reach out if you’re interested or share it with people, groups, and networks you think would be:
• A block club discovers that there are 5 properties coming up at auction in their area and wants to raise the $2,500 to buy them all if no one else does. The properties are known to be dangerous and blighted houses that need to be taken down, so they additionally ask for deconstruction resources, either time, money, or equipment.
• A charitable organization focused on a neighborhood with 1,000 properties coming up at auction decide they can handle 100 of them that are either livable homes or vacant lots, with the goal to find renters and people that want to garden or otherwise maintain the land. They set an ambitious $50,000 goal knowing that their nonprofit status does away with property taxes and binds them to a trusted charitable purpose for the properties which they can extend to their existing network.
• A farmer identifies 2 contiguous lots near his existing farm and seeks sponsorship in purchasing them where funders will get some food in the next growing season.
Again, if you’re interested in taking on specific auction properties that you’re familiar with and have plans for in areas near you, please write me at email@example.com or call 313-649-5263. No guarantees, but if you have a trustworthy idea and network, something really great could be sparked here!