Homesteading Detroit

21 thoughts on “Homesteading Detroit”

  1. It is great seeing people in Detroit helping to improve the community. I write for an organization that deal with housing in the area. If you could be so kind as to check out my blog and tell me what you think it would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I attempted to post a comment directly to your blog, but it was rejected. So here you go:

      Some basic responses to the concept you describe based on my experiences all around the country for many years.

      First, if you place your faith in the voting public you will be terribly disappointed. Voters everywhere at all times vote against anything that smacks of affordable anything. That’s not me being pessimistic. That’s just reality.

      Second, anything that relies on external subsidies will be critically dependent on bureaucracies with requirements and agendas that are almost always in direct conflict with what locals actually need and want. And these distant funding schemes are unreliable since they come and go with the whims of changing administrations.

      Third, it is absolutely possible to do all kinds of things if highly motivated, tenacious, and politically savvy people devote – no exaggeration – THEIR ENTIRE LIVES to the effort. And the results will be teeny tiny compared to the larger need.

      Fourth, It’s easier to relocate to a cheaper location than to get an expensive location to provide affordable housing on the required scale.

      I could go on, but you get the gist. I’m not a doomer. I’m a pragmatist who has explored all the options and come to a realistic assessment of the situation. None of the official institutions have the interests of low income people at heart and they’re currently incapable of self-reform of any kind. Let it go.

      Instead, motivated individuals need to seek out undervalued properties with like-minded people in half forgotten neighborhoods and build lives for themselves on the cheap and in the absence of official procedures.

  2. I’m thinking that y0u would like to know there’s a documentary on the market that examines Detroit from a positive perspective called “The Great Detroit,It was-It is-It will be”. 55 interviewees cover a little of everything about this city, including Motown, Techno, Henry Ford, urban farming and so much more. Its available on amazon.

  3. Great post. But I got all of you beat. Detroit DOES have solid housing stock, but it has TWO huge problems. One, it is not a little problem, it is a bunch of LARGE problems, with little to counter their influence. I agree about Grand Rapids being a smarter choice. Second, it is so far north it is essentially in Canada. Brrrr….

    Meanwhile:

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1138-W-Washington-St_Petersburg_VA_23803_M67826-28562#photo1

    Petersburg is 25 minutes away from Richmond, VA, which, along with Railegh and Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC is one of the few lifestyle destinations on the east coast that have a good cost of living/career ratio. Meanwhile, Petersburg is an undiscovered gem with whitewater kayaking within city limits, one of the USA’s most historic downtowns (Richmond has the USAs largest Victorian neighborhood, “the Fan”, as well as older neighborhood’s that rank up with Boston’s for historical coolness) and my sweet little streetcar suburb where I bought our granite stone house with yard that backs to woods and sidewalks, etc for 60k. Climate cannot be beat without being in the mountains (or The California coast/Hawaii) which are two hours away, as is the beach and Wahington DC AND Raliegh-Durham. We have 3 of the top 10 state unis. within 2 hours drive, and several top 100 colleges too.

    Let’s see what else is out there in the USA?

    1. Really? Apples and oranges! You can’t compare those little towns to a major metro like Detroit. A big city has countless options, amenities and cultural elements, major sports teams, all musical concerts, etc…..Detroit is totally at a different level- so much more there and so much more significant.

      Also, warm climates are totally over rated. The greatest cities of the world are in cold climates. yes, even where it snows. London, pAris, Copenhagen, Stockholm, New York, Montreal, toronto, Chicago, Amsterdam, Shanghai, Beijing, etc, etc. You don’t hear of people leaving these cities because of the weather.
      Richmond? Greenville? Raleigh? Are you kidding me??

      1. I think you really should do some research on the Raliegh, Richmond, Greenville areas. Are there any great colleges or universities (There’s the Crane school in the suburbs, right?) Raliegh is off-the-charts in livability — Richmond has WAY more to do than 95% of people WANT to do (and, if you are the type that needs Opera or something, D.C. is a two hour drive/train-ride away.

        Greenville, SC is a great place. It has Furman University, which is likely as good as any college in Michigan (and UNC Chapel Hill and Duke are in the Raliegh area, while Richmond has U.VA nearby, and a large state school with one of the highest ranked arts schools as part of it.

        You really need to come out of your deep sleep. Even HOUSTON is becoming cool, while Chicago keeps sliding toward mediocrity.

  4. Winter/Schminter. Makes you appreciate summer….turn into the skid.

    It is Cleveland, not Detroit. I live in the 44102 zip code. Detroit/Shoreway Gordon square neighborhood.

    This is an active urban message board
    http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php#c2

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1410-W-81st-St_Cleveland_OH_44102_M33804-83536

    4 beds
    2 full baths
    2,064 sq ft

    89,900

    on the “fringe” of the gentrified places.

    3 Miles from downtown. Detroit Rd has bike lanes.

    I have a friend that owns rental properties in Tremont. You can rent 1/2 a house in the city or one of the inner ring suburbs (lakewood, shaker/university/cleveland heights) for 600 a month all day long.

    Here is the craigslist rentals for lakewood. Spend at least a year renting before buying.

    https://cleveland.craigslist.org/search/apa?postal=44107

    Plenty of Banking/coding/health care related jobs available. As well as restaurant/hotel staff positions.

  5. Winter/Schminter. Makes you appreciate summer….turn into the skid.

    It is Cleveland, not Detroit. I live in the 44102 zip code. Detroit/Shoreway Gordon square neighborhood.

    This is an active urban message board
    http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php#c2

    http://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/1410-W-81st-St_Cleveland_OH_44102_M33804-83536

    4 beds
    2 full baths
    2,064 sq ft

    89,900

    on the “fringe” of the gentrified places.

    3 Miles from downtown. Detroit Rd has bike lanes.

    I have a friend that owns rental properties in Tremont. You can rent 1/2 a house in the city or one of the inner ring suburbs (lakewood, shaker/university/cleveland heights) for 600 a month all day long.

    Here is the craigslist rentals for lakewood. Spend at least a year renting before buying.

    https://cleveland.craigslist.org/search/apa?postal=44107

    Plenty of Banking/coding/health care related jobs available. As well as restaurant/hotel staff positions.

    http://www.cleveland.com/jobs/

  6. Good points, all.

    I honestly think there are “too many people” in California, so the idea of spreading out makes a lot of sense.

    When I retire, I may actually head back to the Midwest. I can use my 457 (which is basically going nowhere) and even with the nasty tax hit buy a nice bungalow in someplace like Louisville, KY and be free and clear. I will hate it in many respects, as I utterly LOVE the California landscape, climate, and even culture, but….because of my own irresponsibility, buying a property here will be impossible.

  7. My friend very nearly did this a few months ago. She’s a rent burdened Portlander who was swept away with Zillow’s enticing catalogue of dirt cheap Detroit houses. She chickened out at the last minute because of the winters and the crime, but if she knew at least one person there, I think she would have done it. Who knows, She may still do it if she can manage to save up a chunk of money (hard to do as a renter on a modest salary). She can only run from rising rents for so long before she’s permanently squeezed out here.

    1. Yeah, as a Michigander [on the west side – Grand Rapids, MI]. The crime issue – and the truly terribly transportation system – would make me a bit hesitant about Detroit. Maybe next year check again – if their huge new transit mileage passes – that is a bell-weather for me if the residents of the place are ‘for reals’ in moving the city forward.
      If someone is still interested in Detroit I recommend checking crimemapper.org – you may find that there is very **little** crime in some parts of Detroit and that it is concentrated far from the property you are interested in. Detroit is different than most cities in that it is geographically enormous, it gobbled up community after community, until it was far too large to manage properly; that is part of how it got to where it is. But that means statistics-about-Detroit can be very misleading as there are many Detroits in Detroit.
      Of course there are other Detroits not in Detroit. Grand Rapids being one; post-industrial city bouncing back. And lots of IT jobs here. We are further in our bounce than Detroit but good deals are still available in some neighborhoods.

      1. @adamtaunowilliams, thanks! This is great advice that I will pass onto my friend. None of us knew anyone from Detroit and the one person we knew in Grosse Pointe thought my friend was straight-up crazy for even considering it. It’s good to hear a bit more nuanced view.

        1. Grosse Pointe isn’t at all a great place to get an idea of Detroit. It’s an old money bubble that tries really hard to make Detroit not seem anything like it.

      2. Detroit is not too big! Is houston, dallas, Phoenix, Jacksonville, too big. In fact, you can fit three Detroit’s inside of Houston. The size has little to do with its problems and how they came to be

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