Detroit - Dexter & Elmhurst - How bad is it?

9 Replies | Detroit, Michigan

So there is a good size multi-story property not far from Dexter & Elmhurst that I am kicking the tires on but not sure how bad the crime is around there or what the local rents really are. Some sites have it as below 'hood' and others not so bad.

I get that one side of the street can be a burtout war land and the other side safe and even upscale. Looking for first hand knowledge of the area, if there is any sub - sub pockets that worse / better, etc.

Thanks in advance.

The Wife and I were just scouting out that neighborhood last Sunday.  Our conclusion...doesn't fit our strategy.
That said were impressed with the housing quality on Dexter itself.  So without knowing the address, I would say the closer to Dexter the better, and I would argue the streets closest to W. Grand Blvd are worst than the ones heading towards Joy Rd or Chicago.

I would go ahead and invest in some quality security in terms of fences, lighting, and upgraded locks. Thats not "The Hood" but I could never imagine someone paying more than $700 for 2 bedroom market rate or $800 on a 3 bedroom market rate Section 8 yes, but not market. Its far for from the schools, hospitals, and Downtown, so your renter pool will be interesting.

Dexter & Elmhurst is a tricky area... 

You have Russell Woods to the northwest which has homes starting to come back (this old house did a show in the neighborhood) & Boston Edison / Virginia Park to the Southeast with rehabs fetching in the mid $300-$400's easily. 

I don't know if I would necessarily invest a lot into the area just yet. There are no signs that the particular intersection, or anything close by, are seeing any types of development currently, nor in the near future. 

As @Christian Hutchinson said, if you are going to purchase I would make sure your security is top-notch and be prepared to market to Section 8 for now. I do imagine the area will come back, but how long before that happens is the question. 

You might want to take a trip out here to check the different neighborhoods and see what you truly feel comfortable investing in. Google maps and other sites aren't going to give you the best picture of what is really happening in Detroit right now.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Originally posted by @Michael O. :

Dexter & Elmhurst is a tricky area... 

You have Russell Woods to the northwest which has homes starting to come back (this old house did a show in the neighborhood) & Boston Edison / Virginia Park to the Southeast with rehabs fetching in the mid $300-$400's easily. 

I don't know if I would necessarily invest a lot into the area just yet. There are no signs that the particular intersection, or anything close by, are seeing any types of development currently, nor in the near future. 

As @Christian Hutchinson said, if you are going to purchase I would make sure your security is top-notch and be prepared to market to Section 8 for now. I do imagine the area will come back, but how long before that happens is the question. 

You might want to take a trip out here to check the different neighborhoods and see what you truly feel comfortable investing in. Google maps and other sites aren't going to give you the best picture of what is really happening in Detroit right now.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Tongue in cheek comment but semi-serious if you have $500K in cash you could take complete control of that neighborhood between listings, tax sales, and land bank in about 18 months. Lots of the stuff for sale is over there for 35-70K are big 2-4 unit brick buildings that are just short of turnkey, they prob just need paint, refinished floors, and a new vanity in the bathroom.

@Michael O. Russell Woods could be interesting our churches parsonage is there, and those homes have been VERY well kept. Lots of people there are the old Black Middle Class (think shop owners, or Union guys) that bought those homes during White Flight and have refused to leave the City or let people turn their neighborhood homes into halfway houses, adult foster care,etc. That area survived YBI and the Chambers Brothers basically unscathed when you consider Dexter and Davidson was basically ground zero for crack and heroin boom of the 1970s and 1980s, those people fought for their neighborhood, and basically won.  IDK if they will be happy someone wants to give them money for their house, or they are of the mentality after everything they been through they want their family's to hold on to it? I do not think this will be a place where people will just take $30k from the first person who knocks on the door offering to buy.  They might lose the house to taxes, or maybe get caught up in a tricky mortgage, but I doubt they will "take money and run" unless its some real money.

@Christian Hutchinson @Michael O. Appreciate the input.

From your comments and other stuff I've read it seems that the further north you are from Grand and towards Davidson the 'slightly' better it gets. Also, being a bit away from the highway also helps cut down on the traffic (volume / noise).

I totally agree about the security. I've learned the hard way that for this kind of area, access control, lighting, video, even a patrol are very important.

Regarding rents - Do you really think that market rents for an elevator apartment (not house) are that high. A quick check on rentometer suggests closer to 600-625.

Any recommendations regarding an agent that really knows the area well and what programs may be accessible?

Oren

Hi Oren, I'm nearby that area fairly often (more Southwest between Grand Blvd/Tireman/Dexter) and it's mainly C-D class neighborhoods, which I describe as tenant majority (section 8 or other subsidy), distressed properties on the block. There are some decent streets throughout and if distressed properties are present sometimes they're boarded up and potentially owned by the Detroit Land Bank. I personally think the area is worth looking into and I'd definitely take heed to Christian and Michael comments. You'll be signing yourself up for a task investing in the area, but is doable if you're prepared to landlord to the type of tenants in those neighborhoods. I work at a nonprofit in Corktown, which just outside of Downtown Detroit, and it takes me 10 minutes to get in that area, which is a bonus. Though there isn't much development (shops, stores, etc.), it is well connected to public transit.

Those are my thoughts. I'm still learning the ins-and-outs. I think if you slightly adjust the streets you're looking at, you'll be able to find something that fits your strategy.

@Oren K. what drew you to that area in the first place? Whats you investment strategy? You have some good and a little misguided information on here, but it first of all depends on your investment strategy which I don't recall you sharing. You definitely need to know your strategy which will drive the area and type of property you seek out. 

We used to tell prospective investors to stay clear of Dexter and Linwood, but in the past year or so have seen alot of activity and the development from CBD has spread which is affecting these areas now. You are well advised to be looking at the area now, unlike someone said it maybe to early, give it a while, I disagree, you want IN NOW while prices are depressed so you get ALL the appreciation.

We are currently rehabbing a 20 unit apartment just off Linwood (Linwood and Grand) for a client (he purchased against our advise, and is paying for it dearly but he will make it out ok eventually) DON"T BE LIKE HIM, get wise counsel and take their advice.

I'd like to know if the Oren K went ahead with the investment. We are looking in that area too. We will not rent it out. We want to rent out our 4 Bedroom, 3 Bath home in West Bloomfield (Bloomfield Hills schools, a very desirable school district) that we have a mortgage on, and downsize to a rehabbed home in Detroit after the kids graduate with no mortgage. So, unlike others here. We will live in the house. We have two other rentals in Oakland County. We know it's risky. But, where else in a US metropolitan area could we get a 1600 sq ft bungalow for around $25K? (We do all the work ourselves)...

@Oren K. I grew up in this area. Dexter and Elmhurst itself is a pretty rough area. The “good side” of Dexter is on the other side of Davison. Oakman is a good street to look at. Not many multi families on Oakman though. Inbox me if you have more questions. I lived in this neighborhood 20+ years.