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Wayne County auction offers nearly 20,000 properties for sale

September 10 2013 | 1 comment

BE HomeWayne County’s auction of foreclosed properties is underway.  It provides potential homeowners the opportunity to purchase properties at reasonable prices.  But there are potential pitfalls.

The large brick house at 2274 Chicago in Detroit’s Boston-Edison neighborhood is for sale as part of Wayne County’s foreclosure auction.  The starting bid for the 3-story home is $18,700.

The minimum bid is the sum total of all the outstanding taxes, penalties and interest.

There are nearly 20-thousand properties available in the on-line auction.

David Szymanski, Chief Deputy Treasurer for Wayne County says, “These are commercial, residential, and vacant property. It’s a little bit of everything and they’re throughout Wayne County.”

Anyone interested in bidding on one of the homes must register by this Friday.  The deposit to bid on a single property is $535.  To bid on more than one property, you must deposit $5035.

Click here for the Wayne County auction website.  You can search properties by city, street or zip code.

You can usually find pictures of the property online but some of those pictures are two or three years old and can be very out of date.

And you’ll have to base your decision on the exterior of the home.  Szymanski says, “We don’t have the opportunity here in Wayne County for people to go into the property and see if the plumbing and electrical are working, so they do have to take a risk there.”

There are great deals to be had.  That’s the good news.

But it can be bad news if “someone moves into the property thinking they’re getting a great deal and don’t know what they’re getting into,” according to Brian Ceccon of the Historic Boston Edison Association.

Flora Bennett has lived in Boston Edison for nine years.  She told us about a case where California investors bought a home at auction sight unseen

She said, “When they realized how much money it was going to take to get the house up to code and livable, they walked away from it.”

In Boston Edison, there’s a committee that takes care of mowing the grass and looking after empty homes.  And in some ways, that makes abandoned houses more desirable than those with bad investor-owners.

Debbie Baldwin is co-chair of the Boston Edison Beautification Committee.  She warns, “Because you can get a house for $3000 doesn’t mean you can stay there.  I’ve known people who have bought a house for say $19,000 and that first year they get their tax bill and their tax bill is $8000.

The county adds a reverter clause to their deeds that allows them to take a property back if the owner doesn’t pay the taxes or maintain the property.

Debbie Baldwin’s dream is, “To get all of them full, all of them occupied, all of them have beauty on the outside, beautiful grass, children playing, making it very vibrant around here.”

It’s expected that about 1,000 homes will be sold this month.  Houses that don’t sell in this auction will be offered again in October, with starting bids of only $500.






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  1. realestateman December 25, 2013

    Great article! There are many foreclosed properties for sale in Detroit currently, and now anyone can bid on these through real estate auction websites (such as, which offer $1 Minimum Bid auctions.


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