Investing in Detroit Properties: A Fairy Tale

Don’t stake your claim until you know the potential pitfalls.

An old uninhabited house in the middle of the woods.Investing in Detroit Properties – Once upon a time, a somewhat-nobleman of modest wealth from a land far, far away heard whispers of our land, which was of course just as far away from him as he is to us. The whispers traveled across the intervening distance by means of the Book of Faces, the Tweeting Bluebirds, and the planet-engulfing Web of the legendary spider HTTP://, whose name is obviously impossible to pronounce if you have only a human mouth.

The whispers told this somewhat-nobleman of the land of Detroit, which for whatever reason he pronounced “Debt-wah,” and they told him of the literal land of Detroit, which is known across all of the world for its two chief attributes: it’s cheap, and there’s a lot of it. The somewhat-nobleman, (whom we will call Captain Slock, because he speaks only in capital letters) wanted to hear more than just the whispers that came through HTTP://’s Web. So, he went to the Book of Faces, to a page within the Book that claimed to educate visitors about how the land of Detroit could turn a small amount of money into a large amount of money.

There, he watched video after video featuring a genial-looking fellow named Guru, who was the best person in the world to learn from when it came to figuring out how to use land to turn a small amount of money into a large amount of money. And after watching just $487 worth of Guru’s videos, Cap. Slock fancied himself a genius at doing just that.

Without even deigning to visit Detroit, Cap. Slock called the people that Guru told him to call, and used the Eastern Union and the Pals who Pay and the Master’s Card to send those people money, all to purchase for himself a very cheap (but quite real) estate smack dab in the middle of “Debt-wah”. He did all that Guru’s videos and posts on the Book of Faces bid him to do. He hired strangers through HTTP://’s Web to do good things to his estate, and make it ready to Let (and being Let was the secret to everything!).

But nothing worked quite the way that Guru said it would work. Everything cost a little more – or sometimes a lot more – than Guru said it would. Everything took a little longer – or sometimes a lot longer – than Guru said it would. But worst of all, problems kept cropping up that Guru had never mentioned. Slowly, sometimes quickly, but inevitably, the Captain’s money vanished into the gaps in Guru’s plans.

Cap. Slock slowly realized that no matter how much he learned by watching Guru, there were always details – a literally endless supply of details – that could never be properly understood, much less addressed, from far, far away. When he tried to find Guru directly to ask him for help, he was told that of course the all-powerful Guru held the answers! And they could be his for just six low payments of $2,997.

The Captain was terrified. His money was already gone! He couldn’t afford that! Desperate, he turned to Guru’s competitors, watching video after free, introductory video by the likes of Expert, Authority, and Specialist – but none of them helped. None of them explained the details.

Finally, he turned back to the Book of Faces, and he asked everyone who might answer, “How do you learn all of this?” The answer came from a company: “You don’t need to, because we already have.”

That company did all of the work and spent all of the money that was necessary to keep the estate real (for in Detroit, an improperly-managed estate rapidly becomes imaginary, you see.) Cap. Slock made a vast amount of money (almost as much as Guru had promised!) all without having to do much of anything ever again. He spent that money travelling the world, learning how to make masala and how to do a French braid and how to speak in lower-case letters. When he finally died at the age of three hundred and ninety-seven, he was truly and deeply happy.

THE END

Obviously, this is only a fairy tale, full of half-truths. The real world may have people who call themselves ‘guru’ and charge you hundreds of dollars to watch videos, and it’s true that in the real world, those videos won’t teach you how to make yourself rich. In fact, in the real world, they won’t even get you as far as they got Captain Slock. The real world may have people wealthy enough to travel around and learn to speak in lower-case letters, but they’re not, in total, any happier than the rest of us. And of course in the real world, a property manager will do the work needed to keep your property making money, but the owner still has to pay the money that goes into that effort.

Finally, of course, investing in Detroit properties is in no way guaranteed to make fantastic amounts of money. They certainly can make fantastic amounts of money – in fact, investing in Detroit properties can generate far more return-on-investment than your run-of-the-mill single-family residence in Minneapolis or Portland. But they’re also capable of generating significant negative return on investment from time to time, and not always for reasons within your (or anyone’s) control.

The moral of this story, then, is that you shouldn’t let yourself get sold on a fairy tale. Come to Detroit and invest, but only if your risk tolerance is as expansive as your patience.

And never give your money to anyone named Guru.

Posted in: 1. Property Owner Blog Posts, Acquiring Rentals, Detroit rental market, Investing Strategy

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