Rehab quandary: After 341 days, is this property worth $35,000?

After 341 days, this Garfield property remains on the market for $28,000 more than the purchaser paid for it in 2007.

If you’re looking for a property to rehab, this one seems ideal. The location is nearly perfect — it sits a block away from Penn Ave. in Garfield between Graham and Fairmont, and it’s within walking distance of everything one could reasonably want to do in Garfield, Bloomfield, or East Liberty. The price, at least initially, seems manageable, too: at $35,000, real estate sites estimate you’re looking at a mortgage of $128 per month.

But there are obviously problems here. Continue reading Rehab quandary: After 341 days, is this property worth $35,000?

When ‘Right-Sizing’ Vacant Properties Goes Wrong

In Clarksburg, West Virginia, a seemingly successful move to demolish disused buildings and free up land has landlords crying foul. 

At the end of May, a task force convened by the Obama administration suggested that Detroit needs to “right-size” its housing stock. That’s a phrase often used in reference to cities that have spent decades in the midst of population decline; in Detroit’s well-documented case, it was a city built for more than 1.8 million people that’s now home to about half that number. The task force suggested the city should tear down 40,000 properties left vacant in the exodus.

On its surface, this suggestion seemed like a no-brainer. “Blight is a cancer,” the task force’s leader told the New York Times. “Blight sucks the soul out of anyone who gets near it.” What other way could a city so deeply hurt by population loss rid its streets of vacant, abandoned, and potentially dangerous buildings? And if Detroit’s housing stock is really that bad, what could go wrong in a citywide demolition sweep?

The answer to the latter question can be found in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Continue reading When ‘Right-Sizing’ Vacant Properties Goes Wrong