Blog: Travis Millward

From Utah to Motown, Travis Millward bucked tradition and decided to 'Go MidWest'. The founder of Patriot Properties Group, he purchases and rehabs vacant Detroit-area homes. Travis will be writing about the foreclosure epidemic, entrepreneurship in a down economy, and Detroit’s real estate investing market.

Travis Millward - Post 1: Is Detroit facing a vacant house epidemic?

I have been living in Detroit for 2 months now. And I have been asked many, many times "Why on earth did you move to Detroit?" I grew up out West, so for my family and I to move 2,000 miles across the country to live in Detroit is definitely out of the ordinary and, to many, simply bizarre.  My friends and family for the most part have no clue what Detroit is like and what it is all about (more on this in my next blog). They are only aware of the little negative media that is published.

My primary purpose for moving to Detroit was business related. To be totally honest, I see Detroit as the land of opportunity – especially when it comes to real estate! The economy right now is absolutely crazy but certain things have taken place within the real estate industry that have caused some unfortunate results. We hear about it everyday from banks failing, record high foreclosures and now the Bailout Plan. Often I ask myself… "What is happening to our economy?" 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to read about Dan Gilbert's own personal bailout plan that he is suggesting on his blog. It sounded great and made sense. Yet, the focus of that plan was on stopping or minimizing future foreclosures, because apparently we are nowhere near the end of this epidemic.

I beg the question, "What has the relentless number of foreclosures caused for the neighborhoods of Detroit?"

Vacancy! Yes, it is important to stop or attempt to reduce future foreclosures, but we need to address the issue at hand. And that is Detroit’s neighborhoods are turning into ghost towns! There are over 5,000 vacant bank-owned houses on the market for sale. Most of these will remain on the market for over a year. And guess what? Banks do not take the time, the money or the resources to properly secure these properties. The result is a sea of blight! Detroit’s housing stock is rotting from the inside out. 

I found this great organization called National Vacant Properties Campaign
. This website is an incredible resource of information on bringing awareness of the vacant house epidemic. Not only are vacant foreclosures springing up in Detroit exponentially but all over the country – in every major city, in a very scary way. If we don’t begin taking action now on revitalizing these vacant houses in Detroit I do not want to imagine what will possibly occur with the rest of Detroit’s neighborhoods. It’s already happening and we need to join forces and fight back.