Moving to Detroit

42 Replies

Hello, My wife and I are considering selling our house in Denver, moving to Detroit, and investing in real estate. I have 15 years experience in home construction and renovation, but limited experience in investing. We will have around 150k cash to invest and I plan on doing most of the renovations myself. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

@Dustin Zentz What type of real estate investing are you planning on doing when you get to Detroit?

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Do you want to live in Detroit?

Here was my answer to a question asking how to invest $150,000 that I posted as my third post ever on this web site. I post it here again since you are specifically considering moving to Detroit.

"I lived in Orange County California (Tustin) where $150,000 will get you $4000 a month in cash flow easy.

Just one major problem it has a minus sign in front of it!

I now live in Michigan where $150,000 can easily provide $20,000 a month in positive cash flow!"

Dustin, welcome to BP. What part of Michigan are you considering. I live in the southeast part of the state and the opportunies are amazing my friend and it is the same in most parts of the state.

Originally posted by @Dustin Zentz :
Hello, My wife and I are considering selling our house in Denver, moving to Detroit, and investing in real estate. I have 15 years experience in home construction and renovation, but limited experience in investing. We will have around 150k cash to invest and I plan on doing most of the renovations myself. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 Dustin, I moved to the Detroit area to invest in both metro and the city of Detroit. My advise is have a plan of attack and make it a goal to build a business team right away when you get here. This will ensure your success  and catch you up to the market with those with boots on the ground in place.

With your budget you can do alot of damage in the market and have great value properties with excellent cash flow.  PM me if you ever really wanted to consider it and want to take a look before jumping ship

Welcome, @Dustin Zentz

You made a smart move coming to the mitten. As much garbage as this city takes it is ripe with opportunity. Money (currency) is made in your mind. Good luck and if you ever need anything you can find me somewhere in Oakland County!

Alberto De jesus , thinking of buying a single family or duplex in Boston Edison, or somewhere comparable to start. Buy with cash, renovate with financing or cash (not sure on that yet), and then live in and hold. Once the reno is completed on the "family" home, I plan on buying a single or multi-family w/cash, renovating (within reason for the neighborhood) and renting it out, Managing it myself.....etc, etc....

@Dustin Zentz I hope it goes well for you my friend. I can't imagine leaving Colorado for Detroit. Even if you are not in Detroit proper, the weather change would be more than I could stand. Have you lived in the area before? If not, pay it a visit in early Sept when the weather is great here in Colorado and then again in December. It's hard to beat our sunshine here.

Originally posted by @Bill S. :

@Dustin Zentz I hope it goes well for you my friend. I can't imagine leaving Colorado for Detroit. Even if you are not in Detroit proper, the weather change would be more than I could stand. Have you lived in the area before? If not, pay it a visit in early Sept when the weather is great here in Colorado and then again in December. It's hard to beat our sunshine here.

WOW! I honestly never knew the weather was a selling point for Denver!

Skiing maybe! Summers beautiful! I used to vacation in Telluride & Durango!

I moved to S California for the weather 20 plus years ago.

I moved to Detroit for the opportunities 6 years ago. Now that was a change! but I could not have accomplished  what I've accomplished in any other market.

Originally posted by @Dustin Zentz :
Hello, My wife and I are considering selling our house in Denver, moving to Detroit, and investing in real estate. I have 15 years experience in home construction and renovation, but limited experience in investing. We will have around 150k cash to invest and I plan on doing most of the renovations myself. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 Is there a particular area of real estate investing that you have in mind?

Originally posted by @Andrey Y. :

Do you want to live in Detroit?

 That's a good question, and one that I continue to ask myself on a daily basis lately. I'm from upper Michigan and went to college in Grand Rapids, so I am aware of the good and bad when it comes to much of Michigan. Detroit is a different story. I think we see an opportunity to be part of a community in the early stages of a rebound. I've been hearing about improvements in Real Estate values, population, housing programs, and the arts. The growth in the artistic communities appeals to us on personal and business levels. We also are drawn to the architectural history of the city and the possibility of purchasing and renovating a large historic home without the use of much credit. Leaving colorado will NOT be easy. I moved here from Michigan 11 years ago and have enjoyed almost every minute of it.  Not to mention that we just went to a concert at Red Rocks last night, which really had me second guessing this. But, I think we have a good opportunity to sell high, buy low, eliminate debt, and pick up a couple investment properties, so I'm considering it......

Originally posted by @Lance Petway :

Dustin, welcome to BP. What part of Michigan are you considering. I live in the southeast part of the state and the opportunies are amazing my friend and it is the same in most parts of the state.

 Detroit for now. Boston Edison, Indian Village, University Hills, maybe Grosse Point Farms for our personal home. Very open to different areas when it comes to rentals or fix n flips. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Originally posted by @Richard Dunlop :

Here was my answer to a question asking how to invest $150,000 that I posted as my third post ever on this web site. I post it here again since you are specifically considering moving to Detroit.

"I lived in Orange County California (Tustin) where $150,000 will get you $4000 a month in cash flow easy.

Just one major problem it has a minus sign in front of it!

I now live in Michigan where $150,000 can easily provide $20,000 a month in positive cash flow!"

 Turning 150k into 20k a month is exactly what I'm looking to do.

Originally posted by @Mike Carino :
Originally posted by @Dustin Zentz:
Hello, My wife and I are considering selling our house in Denver, moving to Detroit, and investing in real estate. I have 15 years experience in home construction and renovation, but limited experience in investing. We will have around 150k cash to invest and I plan on doing most of the renovations myself. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

 Dustin, I moved to the Detroit area to invest in both metro and the city of Detroit. My advise is have a plan of attack and make it a goal to build a business team right away when you get here. This will ensure your success  and catch you up to the market with those with boots on the ground in place.

With your budget you can do alot of damage in the market and have great value properties with excellent cash flow.  PM me if you ever really wanted to consider it and want to take a look before jumping ship

 Solid advice. Thanks.

Yep, Denver is one of those places a lot of people can't imagine leaving. I could leave, I think, if it involved being near the ocean - and the great lakes are pretty good ocean substitutes. It's the winter that would probably kill me in Michigan though - I love that our snow here MELTS after a few days, and that we get some warm sunny days scattered through the winter.

IMO, I think you could be making a great (and bold) move. The amount of capital you have isn't really enough to get much traction in the Colorado market, but could really get you rolling out there. 

I was talking with some younger friends of mine the other day about their financial future and getting started in investing. One of the things I asked was "have you considered moving?" 

I just wanted to thank everyone and give a shout out to bigger pockets, as well. This site and the people who frequent it have been extremely helpful! We are listing our house in Denver next week (although, I'm a little unsure of how it will go, considering the current shift in the market). If all goes well, we will be making the move to Detroit in a month.....then, it's on! I think we are going to try to start with either a duplex or a smaller single family for our first buy and hold(rent), but the first thing we need to find is a place for us to rent and live in. Any advice in that category????

Hey Dustin, Welcome to The Mitten, and more importantly The D.

$150K liquid you have a range of possibilities especially if you are handy, and can rough it for periods of time.

We are from Metro Detroit, and wanted to invest in the City.  So we bought a big older home and split it a few ways while we live in it, we literally started with 1 working bathroom out of 6 in the home, we are up to 5. Then we turned our old home into a rental.  Then we hedged our bet because we do believe in the City and bought a home that we would be happy living in Grosse Pointe Farms.  Because historically as home prices improve in Detroit they go up even more in GP.  Thats how we honestly got our start.

Two years ago $150K would have landed you a property or multiple ones even in Downtown.

In the current environment those areas you named, because Mortgages are non-existent basically in the Detroit, you could burn up a significant amount of or all your cash, unless you get a special mortgage program to help you out. Detroit is all about Cash.

I think all my fellow Detroit Investors have great stories to tell you about banks not wanting to give you a penny to buy a property in Detroit, but if you show up to the same bank six months later with a paying tenant they will all of sudden take the house a collateral for lending.

When you touchdown, I highly suggest you do the "Slow Roll", a biking group, or running group. You will get a nice street level tour of the City and the neighborhoods.  Especially the neighborhoods "next" to the hot ones.  You will literally watch stuff change street by street, and you can figure out your plan, on top of course networking with Real Estate People locally.

UPDATE: Six months ago, I became a member of Bigger Pockets and published this post considering a move. We made it to Detroit and are now closing on 2 homes in the next 2 weeks. The first, is a HUD home in Oak Park (a suburb, north of Detroit), and the second is a short sale in the Sherwood Forest/Green Acres neighborhood (North Detroit, just south of 8 mile). We financed the Oak Park house and bought the Sherwood house with cash. Our plan is to do a live in/fix up in the Oak Park house right away. It shouldn't take long to do, because it's mostly just lipstick....Sherwood is going to be more involved and it is double the sf.. I'll be doing much of the work myself, but hiring out electrical, plumbing and floor refinishing (labor prices are very reasonable here, compared to Colorado). I'd like to thank everyone who chimed in on this post with great advice and words of encouragement, especially Dan Mullins and Richard Dunlop. Detroit gets a lot of bad press, but my personal experience so far has been a good one. The people have really been great. I take my 14 month old son to the Meijer on 8 mile on a regular basis, and I've never experienced so many smiles, and friendly conversations, anywhere. Ferndale and Royal Oak have great bars and restaurants, Belle Isle is scenic and quiet, Detroit has beautiful historic homes and great museums (thank God the DIA kept it's collection), and you can really feel the excitement that is building around the cities rebound. That said, there is still a lot of work to be done, and it is still really rough in many parts. But, I hope that it becomes the socially progressive, entrepreneurial, artistic, and culturally diverse example of what a city can and should be.

@Benjamin Timmins I have friends who have been mugged in Milwaukee, carjacked in Denver, chased in Chicago, jumped in Grand Rapids, assaulted in Montana, etc.....There is no safe city in the US. There are some that are much safer than others, and there are areas of each one of those cities that are more dangerous than others. If you are cautious, responsible and educated, you can minimize your risk, but you can never mitigate it entirely, no matter where you live. Your viewpoint is what promotes economic and social segregation, and stifles Detroit's potential. I might get mugged walking out my door, but it won't send me running to Utica.

Good on ya, Dustin! 

 I think Detroit is too great a city not to come back strong at some point!  I can only imagine the incredibly beautiful houses one can get for very reasonable prices.  And it's people like you that will be there when the city gets there, sitting on a gold mine of good properties.  In fact, the town needs your attitude to come back to what it was, or potentially something way better than it was.  Fear is what keeps the masses away and leaves the treasures there for the bold...

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