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Posted on Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 5:57 a.m.

6 properties sold in first wave of Washtenaw County tax foreclosure auctions

By Lizzy Alfs


216 N. Lincoln St., in Ypsilanti, along with 212 N. Lincoln St., were sold at tax foreclosure auction

Courtney Sacco |

Six properties were sold during the county's first tax foreclosure auction this year, including two adjacent commercial buildings on North Lincoln Street in Ypsilanti.

The auction, which ended just after 4 p.m. on July 22, included 16 properties located in Ypsilanti as well as Ypsilanti Township and consisted of three vacant parcels, one commercial property and 12 homes.


212 N. Lincoln St., in Ypsilanti and the neighboring 216 N. Lincoln St., were sold at tax foreclosure auction this year after the former owner failed to pay back taxes.

Courtney Sacco |

The vacant commercial buildings at 212 and 216 N. Lincoln St., sold for $85,500 — $8,924 above the minimum bid price, which includes taxes, fees, interest, penalties and the cost to bring it to auction. Information on the purchaser won’t be available for several weeks.

“We visited it, and it looked like a really good property,” said Washtenaw County Treasurer Catherine McClary. “We did no environmental studies this year, and clearly it’s an old automotive use. …We always encourage people to talk with the city, and it was one of the open houses we had, so people could actually look at it.”

In addition, the following residential properties were sold:

  • 321 South St., in Ypsilanti sold for the minimum bid price of $7,575.
  • 1415 Andrea St., in Ypsilanti Township sold for $25,000. The minimum bid price was $8,224.
  • 2359 Ponderosa Court sold for $36,166. The minimum bid price was $5,948.
  • 1450 Blossom Ave., in Ypsilanti Township sold for $19,600, or $13,750 above the minimum bid price.
  • 1149 Zephyr St., in Ypsilanti Township sold for $23,750. The minimum bid price was $7,841.

The county listed 114 auction lots this year, a decrease of 33 percent over 2012. The number of tax foreclosures peaked in 2011, when 639 parcels headed to auction.


2359 Ponderosa Ct. sold for $36,166. The minimum bid price was $5,948.

Washtenaw County Treasurer

This year’s auction list includes: 51 auction items in Ypsilanti Township, 30 in the city of Ypsilanti, five in Superior Township, four in Dexter Township, three in Milan, and one or two auction items in other areas of the county. No properties from the city of Ann Arbor are on the list.

The county is distributing the properties across six auctions to make it easier for buyers who are bidding on several items. The five remaining online auctions will start on: July 26, Aug. 2, Aug. 9, Aug. 16 and Sept. 20. If any of the properties aren’t sold, there will be auctions for the remaining parcels on Oct. 18 and Nov. 5.

The next tax foreclosure auctions will begin on July 26 with 17 properties up for bid. (

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.

In discussions of foreclosed homes and businesses, I cannot help but feel for the former owners who lost everything. It's just sad.


Fri, Jul 26, 2013 : 1:53 a.m.

I just wish banks would refinance instead of taking what is not really rightfully theres when someone can pay. That is the sad reality.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

@jns Well. Hopefully it will sell. Right now, people are in buying mode. Good luck.


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 10:56 p.m.

Because of the banks 3 homes on our block are now in fore closure. Can't wait to see who moves in or not moves in but rents it to low lifes.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

What is really sad is the fact that banks refuse to negotiate with homeowners when they fall behind on payments. Especially with those who end up on medical. It happened to a neighbor of ours. House is being foreclosed because the bank refuses to negotiate with her on the house. So she abandoned it. Banks only want their money they don't care who gets hurt. Glad ours is almost paid off and I won't have to deal with our nasty evil mortgage lender as well. I guess it pays to foreclose and buy a house at 5 grand.

Gyll Stanford

Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 2:39 a.m.

Many people are not aware of the sweetheart deals the banks had in the Federal governments bailout. For example if a house had been sold for $100,000 originally 3% down $97,000 loan, and payments over x number of years reduced the principle to $90,000. The market collapsed and the new value is $50,000. The "System" went through all the smoke and mirrors like they would negotiate better terms but in the background bailout terms were; foreclose, we will pay you $97,000, take the house from you and then resell $50,000. The banks had all their risk removed, FULL reimbursement. Why would the banks want to negotiate with YOU, with a deal like that? This is what happens when crony capitalism writes the rules in Congress. If this had been a free market transaction maybe the loan wouldn't have been made, but you bet the banks would be willing to negotiate if it was THEIR money on the table. More info


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 : 12:37 a.m.



Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

A lot of those houses by the minimum bidding prices, were probably dumps. I would not have bid on any of those.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

Might want to see what comes down the pike after they foreclose on our neighbors house. Beautiful home. Scrooge bankers refuse to negotiate with a person out on medical.

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 10:53 a.m.

I didn't put this in the story after I talked with Catherine McClary yesterday evening, but called this auction "very successful" because of the six properties that sold, five sold over the minimum bid price, and four were more than $10,000 over the minimum bid price.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 10:28 a.m.

Okay, Lizzy. Perhaps my math is getting a little fuzzy. Please specify the absolute numbers of properties foreclosed this year and previous years instead of percent change. Seems like over 100 properties this year were in arrears yet never went up for auction. Does Catherine McClary hold back door sales for real estate friends and investors prior to the auction ?


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 3:04 p.m.

@Lynn Liston "LXIX, why don't you just write the article for her?" @self "What we got here is failure to communicate"" - Picture - man slowly banging head against wall. - Movie - The Truth About Cats and Dogs Answer Reporter has access to interviewed person holding key factual information. Relevant followup question by professional posed to Ms. McClary might be of public interest "How many foreclosed Washtenaw properties were sold at non-public auctions over the past three years?" If any, "To whom ? For how much ?"

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 2:46 p.m.

Ok, @LXIX, hopefully this helps. Sorry if I'm not communicating well. This is from Catherine: The total number of foreclosed parcels this year is 184. The total number of auction items is 114. (As I mentioned, foreclosed parcels are sometimes bundled together at auction, such as the 52 lots in Superior Township. So there aren't 70 unaccounted for properties) "There are zero private sales of tax foreclosed property. ...When I return to the office I can get the (past) foreclosure statistics for your readers. I don't keep auction item statistics. There have NEVER been any private sales. Local units of government can, however, take properties without allowing them to go to public auction. "

Lynn Liston

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 2:12 p.m.

LXIX, why don't you just write the article for her? Lizzie is providing information available on the most recent auction. She isn't writing a detailed history of the auctions of the last three years. I admit that might be an interesting year-end summary article, but it should wait until after the last auction of 2013. In the mean time, you can actually do some research of your own on the internet to answer your more specific questions. I found it interesting to learn that municipalities have right of first refusal on auction properties and that some were purchased to be resold to Habitat for Humanity - an excellent approach to saving neighborhoods and providing help to those who need it in order to get into a family home of their own.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 12:11 p.m.

I don't even understand myself sometimes. Lizzy, How many foreclosed properties were sold by Washtenaw County in private sales this year? 2012? 2013?

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 12:01 p.m.

The 184 number was the total number of properties in tax foreclosure -- before similar or adjacent properties were bundled together for the auctions. For instance, 52 vacant lots in a subdivision in Superior Township are being auctioned as one item. As for the total number of foreclosures in past years, I'll have to check and get back to you later today.


Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 11:29 a.m.

Thanks but you failed to answer my question. Please specify in absolute numbers How many properties were foreclosed in 2013, 2012, 2011? How many properties went to auction in 2013, 2012, 2011? How many properties were sold by McClary in private sales each year? Who were the buyers involved in those private sales? This makes a big difference for many reasons. A) If investment banks are scooping up millions of properties across the U.S. in these backroom deals then the public is losing vast amounts of future value and control over their own economic decision making locally. Even more wealth is being transfered to the already wealthy. B) Economists are crowing about rising home sales as proof the U.S. economy is getting better. If in fact half the sales are being made by investors through the McClary back door in order to inflate sales figures and pricing to enhance economic reports and to prop up their own over-extended derivative investments then maybe that is news, too. C) That is akin to cronyism and corruption in governance. Maybe the public would like to know. that. From your article Thu Apr. 25 "The total number of properties up for bid this year is 184, compared with 274 properties in 2012 and the record-setting 637 properties in 2011." From this article "The county listed 114 auction lots this year, a decrease of 33 percent over 2012. The number of tax foreclosures peaked in 2011, when 639 parcels headed to auction." According to your own numbers then there were 70 properties unaccounted for. A handful went to Ypsi for Habitat. What happened to the other sixty some properties this year alone? Last year.? 2011?

Lizzy Alfs

Tue, Jul 23, 2013 : 10:51 a.m.

This year, for the first time, the county decided to spread the properties out across six different auctions (and then two more after that for any properties that haven't sold). So the auction that ended yesterday was only the first of this year. There were 114 auction items this year. Although, once the properties headed to auction are finalized, the cities and townships can use the community's so-called right of first refusal to purchase any properties on the list. Ypsilanti Township purchased seven homes and three lots that had been headed to auction and those will be sold to Habitat for Humanity. Here's the lineup for the rest of the auctions: July 26 August 2 August 9 August 16 August 23 And if you go here -- -- you can see the upcoming properties.