The #1 Mistake Investors Make In The Detroit Real Estate Market and How to Avoid it

I work with investors from all around the world and I can tell you that invariably some crazy things can happen when endeavoring to invest in Detroit.


However, one key point will make or break your Detroit investing activity.


Here’s the #1 tip to help you navigate through the sometimes treacherous environment of Detroit investment property:



Do not buy what you cannot see


This seems simple and logical, yes, but in the heat of searching, bidding and negotiating for property, this basic principle gets lost.


The problem is the Internet. Investors can see everything now online. And crooks can deceive everyone online as well!


Many times, unscrupulous sellers will post photos from years ago, or only show a tight from of the home, but none of the other homes on the block, which may be a total wreck.


Other times, the investor doesn’t fully grasp the concept of vacancy and the extraordinarily high vacancy rate in Detroit.  Investors have no idea that sometimes homes sit for years and the city nor the owner will do anything about it.


Vacancy in Seattle or Miami looks completely different from vacancy in Detroit.


To combat this problem, remember:

  1. Do not buy what you cannot see- no deal, no matter how seemingly good, just has to close without an inspection. That’s just someone’s way of swindling you
  2. Google is not your friend. We don’t use google earth shots, they are unreliable. I know, you’ve seen the Googlebot trooping through the streets and you have great confidence in Google Street view, but no.A good street can go bad quickly with a fire or vacant property, so we must have interior, exterior and street photos before even considering investing in Detroit property.



In order to get a true and accurate picture of an investment property in Detroit, you’ll need someone to access the property and take photos or videos.


That person should not be involved in the sale.  The photographer needs to be completely objective and have no interest either way in the transaction.


This will ensure that you get an honest view of what a property really looks like before you spend one dollar.


If a seller will not allow you or your representatives to see a property before purchasing it, WALK AWAY quickly. They’ve got something to hide and you don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s problem property.


If you need help finding and evaluating great Detroit investment properties, contact us immediately: or 248.905.1531.


Good Luck and Happy Investing!




Letitia Patterson is a licensed associate real estate broker in Metro Detroit with over 20 years in real estate, investing, residential and commercial finance.



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