Please accept this Invitation to the “Good Life”...
More than any other place in the world, Detroit has the greatest inventory of quality homes at huge discounts. Almost every block in the city has at least one vacant house. If you couple this with the substantial pent-up demand for quality homes, you have the perfect scenario for rebuilding a community and creating great wealth. The question is: Why aren’t “we” restoring our neighborhoods?
We can see that certain areas are booming with new construction, home restorations and good sales; specifically, Midtown, Corktown, East Jefferson and the Woodward Corridor. How about NW or NE Detroit? Neighborhood streets like Steel/Sussex/Forrer or Carlisle/Lakepointe/Somerset, have very little going on….. WHY?
I am the first to admit that the going can be tough. The students at Strather Academy have acquired more than 100 houses, and we have restored over 80% of them. Some were lost due to vandalism by scrapper thieves and non-paying tenants who feel that they can have landlords over a barrel. The “evict me” and then “suffer the consequences” threat that come with some tenants and squatters have many people not interested in being a landlord or rehabber. This is not hard to rationalize.
Notwithstanding the daunting circumstances we face, we all must play a role in the restoration of our communities. Being a good neighbor and playing a role could mean keeping an eye on a vacant house, cutting the grass or even cleaning out a vacant structure. We ALL should play a role. Let’s dig deeper into “why” we aren’t restoring our neighborhoods. Why are we letting others from all over the world restore our communities or restated … to eat our lunch at our own kitchen table while we sit back and watch?
I think the top reasons that we tell ourselves are:
- I do not know how to find the owners of the vacant houses
- I do not want to be a landlord
- I do not want to be ripped off while rehabbing
- I do not have any cash or credit
- I do not know how and where to start
Admittedly, all of these are good answers. However, they are not good enough. If we, as responsible adults, do not rescue our blocks, who will? Dan Gilbert? (although Dan is doing a super job downtown). Do we need a Savior? What will we say to our children and grandchildren when they ask, “Did you benefit from the great recession? Did you buy any real estate or help bring back the community?”
I would rather leave this world than watch Detroit continue down this current path and be taken over by investors all over the world. I will go anywhere and talk to anybody or any organization (with Detroit DNA) that wants to be involved in the redeveloping of the “D” and restoring our pride. The topic this week is “Rebuilding Detroit - Block by Block.”
Consider this; many people will live in a tough area, if the block is stable. It could be unwise to restore a single house on a block that has several vacant houses in need of repair. Recently, I drove down several Holmur Streets between Dexter and Grand River. I found one of the blocks so appealing that I circled and drove the block a second time. I imagined that I could live on that block; notwithstanding the fact that the block was surrounded by other blocks I would not even consider moving on. Your measuring stick should be: Will a single mom move her family into this house on this block? Will she feel safe or will she be afraid? I feel a single mom would move on that block on Holmur. Go check it out. I offer this as evidence you can restore a community block by block.
I imagine from the beauty and stability of Holmur Street, that one person recruited others who all joined together and kept the block stabilized through these turbulent times. Whoever you are, God bless you.
For those interested in learning how to restore your block or neighborhood, you can join as follows:
- Get a free copy of our real estate App, go to: www.sarealestateapp.com (join our Master Mind Group).
- Take a home study course at www.stratheracademy.com or call 313.444.9691.
- Come to our classes as a guest held on Tuesdays from 6-8pm @ Tower Center 15400 Grand River 2nd flr.
- Watch Herb Strather Live every Wednesday at 11am on www.detroittalkradio.com
Together we can rebuild our communities. Questions and responses welcomed.
Herbert J. Strather
Mr. Strather is an Author, Broker, Community Philanthropist, Developer, Educator and Financier.