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Posted on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti to offer open houses for properties listed in upcoming tax foreclosure auction

By Tom Perkins

At 212 N. Lincoln St. and 216 Lincoln Street in Ypsilanti, two large, commercial buildings that once housed a concrete company have an assessed of value of $240,000.

The starting bid for the properties during the upcoming Washtenaw County Tax Foreclosure Auction is only $76,000.


216 N. Lincoln St., in Ypsilanti, along with 212 N. Lincoln St., are headed to a tax foreclosure auction this summer.

Courtney Sacco |

At 463 S. Hamilton St., a two-unit duplex is valued at just under $84,800. The minimum bid for the 3-bedroom home during the Aug. 2 auction is $20,356.

Under normal circumstances, potential bidders during the auction would have to purchase the properties “as is” without a chance to view them beforehand.

But, as with the last two years, the city of Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County Treasurer’s Office are offering a unique tax foreclosure open house in which residents will have the option to inspect homes on which they may bid.

“Generally, people who buy the homes are not allowed to get inside, inspect them or bring someone with construction experience beforehand,” City Planner Teresa Gillotti said. She added that the program leads to more properties being put back into productive use because people are less likely to buy a foreclosed home only to discover it needs more restoration work than they are prepared for.

This year, 11 of the city’s foreclosed properties will be open for viewing between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 29.

Among the properties open for viewing are a mix of single-family homes, a duplex, commercial properties and an office.

Gillotti said the properties are generally in better condition than those that aren’t open for viewing. The remainder of the city’s 32 properties up for auction are largely single-family homes or vacant lots.

Ypsilanti is able to offer the open house because the city has so few properties in the foreclosure auction and can provide the necessary staffing, Gillotti said. Some communities have hundreds of foreclosed properties in their foreclosure auctions.

In the program’s pilot year in 2011, six of eight properties shown before the auction sold. Gillotti said around 70 percent to 80 percent of homes and buildings residents could view first have been or are in the process of being renovated.

The former Sunshine Marina on Prospect Road just north of Michigan Avenue is one of those examples.

“There is now a property manager using it for his office,” Gillotti said. “We get a range of people who purchase them. Anytime we’re getting someone connected to Ypsilanti to live in a house we consider it a win.”

The program also gives local investors an edge over out-of-town speculators who might purchase a property on the Internet and simply sit on it.

“We’re trying to create opportunities for local investors and neighbors who are looking to stay in Ypsilanti to assess and possibly buy to see if it works for them,” Gillotti said.

The properties will either be available during the July 16, July 26 or July 2 auctions. A list of all the auction properties can be found on the county’s auction website.

A map of the properties can be found here.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter. Contact the news desk at



Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

Make sure to bring an independent, thorough home inspector with you to check it out.