Most of us in the real estate industry have read about Detroit’s housing woes. In February of 2012, the Business Insider posted an article advertising 13 houses you could purchase in Detroit for less than $100. Many of these houses were listed for $1. These prices have sparked interest from international investors. This week the Mail Online posted an article about a $1 home sitting on the market for 519 days. Fox News reports that Chinese investors have been attempting to purchase as many of these homes as possible. Some want to buy 100-200 homes in the Detroit area. Chinese officials have warned these investors that there are risks with purchasing homes in these areas; however, investors seem willing to roll the dice. They seem sure that housing market in Detroit will rebound.
As realtors and citizens of this country where do we stand? It’s clear that the city of Detroit is in sorry shape right now, but many localities are facing similar issues. An essential focus of our jobs is to help people visualize the possibilities. We stage the homes we are selling to illustrate how comfortable a home can be. Maybe areas like Detroit need a little creative staging. One strategy might be to provide examples of what buyers can build on these cheap lots. Do not expect buyers to fall in love with the run down homes that have been abandoned. Instead, inspire them to see the possibilities.
Nobody knows what will happen in Detroit. We have never experienced such a large city going bankrupt before; however, it is likely the city will be reorganized. The hope is that this reorganization will bring about a new more prosperous day. It is safe to bet that property values will ultimately rise again. The question we need to ponder is, “Who will benefit from that rise?” Agents and brokers’ real estate marketing can help shape the future of this area. However, it will take a great deal of creativity and probably the ability to locate an adventurous buyer. In the meantime, look around your own neighborhoods. Think of creative ways to inspire others to buy less than ideal properties that may be a good investment for them. Many areas are in need of improved neighborhoods, bringing in motivated investors maybe a strategy to get the economy to rev up. People in other countries can see what we cannot at times. Some call that vision the American Dream.