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Crazy property taxes?


DTEJD1997
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Hey all:

 

I'm considering buying a commercial property in Michigan.  It is near Detroit, but NOT in it.

 

I personally know the owner, and he solicited me to buy it.  When he told me how much he was asking, I almost fell on the floor!  The price is solidly LESS than a luxury car...

 

The building is commercial/retail, about 6k sq. ft.  It has retail space on a major secondary road, a parking lot, offices, bathrooms, and a couple thousand sq. ft. of 20' warehouse.  There is also separate access to warehouse, which is very nice.

 

It gets better yet!  There are TWO paying tenants.  They are utilizing the warehouse space to store valuables.  They come in about once a week to pick stuff up/drop stuff off.  Rents from the two tenants are very low, about $400 a month combined...The area has a TON of vacant space.  I would conservatively estimate commercial vacancy at 35%.  So there is not much room to increase rents from the existing tenants...So the building is cash flow NEGATIVE at this point.

 

The REAL PROBLEM is the property taxes.  They would equate to about 7-8% of the cost of the building.  Some months, property taxes are the single highest expense.  Insurance is just over $200/month.  So taxes & insurance are close to $500/month.

 

If I located my business there AND filled up the building with tenants, it would be only marginally cash flow positive.  What is a building worth that is in a marginal area that is cash flowing $600 a month (and gives you a space to work out of)?  $100k maximum?  $80k realistically?  That is also if most things go smoothly...

 

So I am crunching the numbers.  The key is lowering the property tax...

 

The local government is pretty stupid in my opinion.  Taxes are high to begin with AND assessed values are 2x or more of true market prices. 

 

This results in nobody willing to commit fresh capital.  There are VERY FEW new businesses in this area, almost everything has been there for years.  It is becoming a vicious circle.  Government, strapped for cash, squeezes harder.  Capital goes on strike or flees.  Less money for government, so they squeeze harder....repeat, repeat.

 

Any thoughts?  Any advice?

 

Thanks!

 

 

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Frankly this sounds like a poor investment.  Your friend probably wants out because he has to pay cash every month and can't figure out how to turn it around.  If there were a way to decrease the property taxes he probably pursued that unsuccessfully.  Its value is less than zero since it is not earning any money and has no prospects to do so.  The value of a commercial property is based on the economic activity around it.  If there aren't prospects for new businesses moving in or other economic growth then you'll just continue to lose money.

 

I know that in DC for some blighted properties that have a lot of unpaid property taxes on them, new owners have sometimes successfully reached a settlement with the city to pay only a fraction of the overdue taxes.  It might also be possible to petition the county to lower your appraisal value which would lower your taxes.  But this cuts the county's revenue and they are not going to be willing to do that without a lot of fight and bureaucracy.  You could also look into the zoning of the building and see if that can be changed, but this too is not easy.

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Hi DTEJD1997. Detroit metro is a hard place for real estate (unless you're Dan Gilbert). I have been there three times to look at apartment complexes. There are tons and tons and tons of vacant buildings of all kinds. Some simply stunning buildings in seemingly decent locations just sit empty. It's odd in Detroit.

 

I'm not an expert on the Detroit market, but all the rents I saw were very low and so margins were tight. I would strongly, strongly encourage you to figure out if you can rent the space and if you can, how much will it take to make it reantable. You must be intellectually honest here. 6k sq ft isn't too much space, but there is a ton of open space in Detroit.

 

Since the seller is your friend maybe you can get a nice, no money down type deal. When we talked to banks they wanted 35% down. Perhaps you can get the seller to finance the down payment or the entire thing. He'd get out of the property and you'd be able to get into it for nothing down. If you can turn it around that's not a bad deal. Make sure you carefully run your numbers and are actually confident you can turn it around. You don't want to be in the same position as him. 

 

As for property taxes, yea they're high in Detroit.

 

$600/mo is $7200/yr (if everything goes smoothly). Is the money worth it to you for all the work you'll likely do? 

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The time I challenged an assessment  I was required to show that it was too high relative to other properties.  There was no box to check to indicate that I thought they were all too high.

 

Is it possible to write a contract where you'll buy if he can get the assessment lowered?

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Yes but I think it would be easier to do it after you buy the property and depending on how or if your financing requires an appraisal. One could you both of these to help strengthen your value conclusion. If you are using private financing or cash one could pay for an appraisal or could have a commercial broker do a BPO (broker price opinion) similar to CMA for a lower cost.  I am located in a different state so my experience may not be same due to different state laws and customs.

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It sounds like there are a lot of things that could go wrong. Currently cash flow negative. Idiotic local government to deal with. Lots of nearby vacancies probably means it would be a serious pain to rent out the space to new tenants or if one of the tenants left. Tenants use space to store valuables and are only there occassionally - increased robbery/vandalism risk (i realize insurance takes care of this, but it would be a pain to go through). Sounds like a buyers market, so this would be extremely illiquid and tough to sell. There are a lot of hurdles to jump over for this investment to really pay off. The best reason to jump on this is if you have a good reason to think the area will improve, something needs to change to break that vicious cycle.

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DTEJD, what kind of business do you own?

 

If you were leasing instead of buying, would you choose this location and how much rent would you be willing to pay?

 

I own a business that is the same as the one my friend is selling...I am one of his best customers in fact...At this point in time, it provides me with a good secondary income.  Definitely not enough to live off of, but a good supplement.  If I devoted more time there is not a doubt in my mind I would make more $ doing it.

 

His business is marginally profitable, and it is definitely growing.  He has a base of customers that is growing.  His profitability though is based on the fact that he OWNS the building and keeps his expenses low.

 

It is hard to say how much the rent equivalent would be for the business.  I think it would most certainly be $700, but is hard to say.

 

I think I could definitely grow his existing business, increasing sales & profitability.  How would I do it?

 

A). I would invest some moderate $ in spiffing up the showroom.  New carpeting, better lighting, better security, broader product.  Put in some creature comforts...

 

B). My friend is "older" and has no internet presence.  I sell quite a bit over the internet, and this would actually be my growth avenue.  People come in selling items from time to time.  I can sell EVERY ITEM that he purchases within 5 business days.  I am competing with other buyers for his supply...now I would get it all.

 

C). He has no website.  That will change...

 

D). He spends literally NOTHING on advertising.  His advertising consists of turning on the "OPEN" neon sign...

 

E). He does not go to ANY trade shows.  I would change that and go maybe 6 times a year...

 

F). He is closed on the busiest sales day of the week.

 

G). He opens relatively late in the AM, I would open earlier.

 

So there are lots of relatively easy improvements that can be made to drive sales & profitability.

 

The location would NOT be my first choice, but it would not be my last choice either.  I found his store simply by driving by and walking in.  There is a good amount of traffic.  It is not a main road, but a larger secondary road.  It has close access to 2 major freeways.  That is the reason one tenant rents from him.

 

I don't think banks write mortgages for the type of money we are talking about...This is literally the price of a lower end luxury car.

 

I have capital (and access to more) to fully fund the purchase.  I would prefer for him to carry a note, maybe 50%of the purchase price to be paid over a few years...]

 

He has also agreed to stay on for a while part time to educate me in some areas I am weak on AND to make sure customers stay.

 

The viability of the business will be the driving factor, and the real estate is the kicker. 

 

Thanks for all the advice guys, I very much value it.

 

 

 

 

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Sounds interesting. If you buy the building is he throwing in the business for free? Or is that an additional cost?

 

Also can you subdivide the retail space or would you need all of it?

 

The business is being provided for free, but not the inventory.  All the fixtures are included, and goodwill is included.  I have some of my own inventory, but would need to purchase more.  I would actually probably buy a significant amount more, as I would try and sell lower end items and supplies & consumables.  That is good for local sales I would think.

 

There is also the possibility for another smaller retail business.  I was thinking of first trying to rent it out.  If I get a tenant, that is great...if not, I have plans for a second business that is totally unrelated.

 

If I do buy the building/business, I would focus on the existing business, get that going strong and then open the second business.

 

There is another building sitting vacant next door that is also intriguing.  An absentee owner bought it, fixed it up, and then made material improvements for the business he wished to put in.  He spent a lot of money on infrastructure and then ran out of capital.  It has been sitting for some amount of time.  I would love to buy it for a huge discount, and then finish it out.  I actually think it would be an EXCELLENT business for that neighborhood.

 

If I owned BOTH buildings and was running/owing 3 different businesses, that would be pretty wild.  I could work 14 hour days every day.  Take the cash flow and start really accumulating significant stakes in micro-cap companies...

 

First things first though...

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Hey all:

 

Looks like I made a mistake in my calculations....

 

The REAL property tax is very close to $4k a year, not $3k.

 

The property is actually two lots, not one.

 

Who is to say taxes won't increase in the near future?

 

Michigan really needs to get this worked out.  Who is going to invest capital with tax rates like this?

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Sounds interesting. If you buy the building is he throwing in the business for free? Or is that an additional cost?

 

Also can you subdivide the retail space or would you need all of it?

 

The business is being provided for free, but not the inventory.  All the fixtures are included, and goodwill is included.  I have some of my own inventory, but would need to purchase more.  I would actually probably buy a significant amount more, as I would try and sell lower end items and supplies & consumables.  That is good for local sales I would think.

 

There is also the possibility for another smaller retail business.  I was thinking of first trying to rent it out.  If I get a tenant, that is great...if not, I have plans for a second business that is totally unrelated.

 

If I do buy the building/business, I would focus on the existing business, get that going strong and then open the second business.

 

There is another building sitting vacant next door that is also intriguing.  An absentee owner bought it, fixed it up, and then made material improvements for the business he wished to put in.  He spent a lot of money on infrastructure and then ran out of capital.  It has been sitting for some amount of time.  I would love to buy it for a huge discount, and then finish it out.  I actually think it would be an EXCELLENT business for that neighborhood.

 

If I owned BOTH buildings and was running/owing 3 different businesses, that would be pretty wild.  I could work 14 hour days every day.  Take the cash flow and start really accumulating significant stakes in micro-cap companies...

 

First things first though...

 

Threads like this make this message board extremely valuable, I love reading this stuff.  This sounds like a very compelling opportunity that you alone have the ability to take advantage of.  You know the business you'd be taking over, so you can add value.  You seem to know the area, and you have the capital to take on the next door building and expand that.

 

I think to most readers of the board this sounds like a complicated mess.  Why deal with all this 'stuff' when you can sit in a big comfy arm chair and click around SEC.gov and buy and sell online.  To me this sounds like the type of opportunity you want to take advantage of.  If I were presented with this it wouldn't be compelling because I don't have a complimentary business, and don't have the skills to maximize this.  Heck, I'd go as far as saying you could post the address and nitty gritty relevant details and you still wouldn't be facing any competition.

 

Others have posted the illiquidity issue.  For those clicking their mouse to buy and sell this is an issue.  For the 99% of small business owners in the US they've accepted that.  You will deal with illiquidity, you have an illiquid building, and an illiquid business.  But you also gain a lot, you control the outcome.  You are running the show.  You also get to keep 100% of the cash flow that this generates and do with it what you wish.  Investors clicking around just get to rant on forums about what they want to happen with the cash flow, you get to decide.  I would say that's a good trade off for the illiquidity.  One more thought on this.  I've been sticking my finger in the private business world for a little while and I've come to find that it's not as illiquid as one might think.  If you have a business that's profitable and you can separate it from yourself (someone else can run it), you'll be able to sell it fairly quickly through a broker.

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Threads like this make this message board extremely valuable, I love reading this stuff.

Agreed.

 

 

Others have posted the illiquidity issue.  For those clicking their mouse to buy and sell this is an issue.  For the 99% of small business owners in the US they've accepted that.  You will deal with illiquidity, you have an illiquid building, and an illiquid business.  But you also gain a lot, you control the outcome.  You are running the show.  You also get to keep 100% of the cash flow that this generates and do with it what you wish.  Investors clicking around just get to rant on forums about what they want to happen with the cash flow, you get to decide.  I would say that's a good trade off for the illiquidity.  One more thought on this.  I've been sticking my finger in the private business world for a little while and I've come to find that it's not as illiquid as one might think.  If you have a business that's profitable and you can separate it from yourself (someone else can run it), you'll be able to sell it fairly quickly through a broker.

 

Control of FCF is so important in my eyes. For me, I can make better investments in illiquid investments (real estate) and generate far better returns than I have in the markets. Also there is no worry that management will just sit on the cash or pay themselves lavishly or act foolishly some other way because, well, I am the management. Less liquidity, but more upside in my case.

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Sounds interesting. If you buy the building is he throwing in the business for free? Or is that an additional cost?

 

Also can you subdivide the retail space or would you need all of it?

 

The business is being provided for free, but not the inventory.  All the fixtures are included, and goodwill is included.  I have some of my own inventory, but would need to purchase more.  I would actually probably buy a significant amount more, as I would try and sell lower end items and supplies & consumables.  That is good for local sales I would think.

 

There is also the possibility for another smaller retail business.  I was thinking of first trying to rent it out.  If I get a tenant, that is great...if not, I have plans for a second business that is totally unrelated.

 

If I do buy the building/business, I would focus on the existing business, get that going strong and then open the second business.

 

There is another building sitting vacant next door that is also intriguing.  An absentee owner bought it, fixed it up, and then made material improvements for the business he wished to put in.  He spent a lot of money on infrastructure and then ran out of capital.  It has been sitting for some amount of time.  I would love to buy it for a huge discount, and then finish it out.  I actually think it would be an EXCELLENT business for that neighborhood.

 

If I owned BOTH buildings and was running/owing 3 different businesses, that would be pretty wild.  I could work 14 hour days every day.  Take the cash flow and start really accumulating significant stakes in micro-cap companies...

 

First things first though...

 

Threads like this make this message board extremely valuable, I love reading this stuff.  This sounds like a very compelling opportunity that you alone have the ability to take advantage of.  You know the business you'd be taking over, so you can add value.  You seem to know the area, and you have the capital to take on the next door building and expand that.

 

I think to most readers of the board this sounds like a complicated mess.  Why deal with all this 'stuff' when you can sit in a big comfy arm chair and click around SEC.gov and buy and sell online.  To me this sounds like the type of opportunity you want to take advantage of.  If I were presented with this it wouldn't be compelling because I don't have a complimentary business, and don't have the skills to maximize this.  Heck, I'd go as far as saying you could post the address and nitty gritty relevant details and you still wouldn't be facing any competition.

 

Others have posted the illiquidity issue.  For those clicking their mouse to buy and sell this is an issue.  For the 99% of small business owners in the US they've accepted that.  You will deal with illiquidity, you have an illiquid building, and an illiquid business.  But you also gain a lot, you control the outcome.  You are running the show.  You also get to keep 100% of the cash flow that this generates and do with it what you wish.  Investors clicking around just get to rant on forums about what they want to happen with the cash flow, you get to decide.  I would say that's a good trade off for the illiquidity.  One more thought on this.  I've been sticking my finger in the private business world for a little while and I've come to find that it's not as illiquid as one might think.  If you have a business that's profitable and you can separate it from yourself (someone else can run it), you'll be able to sell it fairly quickly through a broker.

 

Excellent post.  This isn't just the property, as I thought from reading the initial post, but a business that you know about in a location that is acceptable and cheap.  Don't forget that the perfect location wouldn't be cheap.  I wouldn't think so much about the cash flow from the rentals covering all the costs of the building (although that would be nice), I'd think of (the total costs of your building - the cash flow from the rented portion ) as your operating business's cost for its location.  No one likes to pay taxes, but sitting here far away from your area, $4K/year in real estate taxes for a business partially covered by rental income doesn't seem like such a big thing to overcome if your business is profitable.  Hell, I pay 2.5X that in taxes for my house.  There's a very small office building in my town for sale right now that a friend of mine was thinking about buying which pays 10X that amount in property taxes.

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Excellent post.  This isn't just the property, as I thought from reading the initial post, but a business that you know about in a location that is acceptable and cheap.  Don't forget that the perfect location wouldn't be cheap.  I wouldn't think so much about the cash flow from the rentals covering all the costs of the building (although that would be nice), I'd think of (the total costs of your building - the cash flow from the rented portion ) as your operating business's cost for its location.  No one likes to pay taxes, but sitting here far away from your area, $4K/year in real estate taxes for a business partially covered by rental income doesn't seem like such a big thing to overcome if your business is profitable.  Hell, I pay 2.5X that in taxes for my house.  There's a very small office building in my town for sale right now that a friend of mine was thinking about buying which pays 10X that amount in property taxes.

 

Please don't think I am "cheap skate" who wants to skip out on taxes.  Certainly all productive members of society need to pay taxes.  No doubt.

 

What I am railing against is that it needs to be in proportion to the value of the property.

 

What is going on in Michigan, specifically the Detroit area, is that property values have fallen tremendously.  Property taxes have not come down proportionally.  Not even close.

 

If you have a $50k asset that is being taxed at 8%, how do you realistically make a return on your investment?  You are going to have other fees too, insurance, utilities, and so on.  So now in order to make a 10%+ return, you are going to have to get 30% gross revenue from the asset?  LOL at that happening.

 

What about even making a positive return?  That might not even be POSSIBLE if taxes & insurance are 14% of the value of the asset?

 

This then becomes a death spiral.  The local municipality wants $, is starved for cash.  They look to the property owners to come up with it.  A lot of them can't.  They simply stop paying.  This is an epidemic in Detroit.  By some estimates, 55% of property in Detroit is at least 12 months behind (or more) on property taxes.  Owners figure I'll stay in my house or run my business as long as I can hang on.  If they foreclose, I'll shut down or move...

 

I suspect that is what is happening in this suburb.  That happened with this property already.  The previous owner simply stopped paying taxes and walked away.

 

Tenants are difficult to come by.  If you can find them, they won't pay a lot of rent.  There are many different places they can go...

 

The only way this purchase makes sense is if I take the plunge and operate & expand the business and perhaps even put in a second business.

 

I hope that government leaders can get some "economic sense" and realize what is happening to their economic base...Not too hopeful on that though...

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Excellent post.  This isn't just the property, as I thought from reading the initial post, but a business that you know about in a location that is acceptable and cheap.  Don't forget that the perfect location wouldn't be cheap.  I wouldn't think so much about the cash flow from the rentals covering all the costs of the building (although that would be nice), I'd think of (the total costs of your building - the cash flow from the rented portion ) as your operating business's cost for its location.  No one likes to pay taxes, but sitting here far away from your area, $4K/year in real estate taxes for a business partially covered by rental income doesn't seem like such a big thing to overcome if your business is profitable.  Hell, I pay 2.5X that in taxes for my house.  There's a very small office building in my town for sale right now that a friend of mine was thinking about buying which pays 10X that amount in property taxes.

 

Please don't think I am "cheap skate" who wants to skip out on taxes.  Certainly all productive members of society need to pay taxes.  No doubt.

 

What I am railing against is that it needs to be in proportion to the value of the property.

 

What is going on in Michigan, specifically the Detroit area, is that property values have fallen tremendously.  Property taxes have not come down proportionally.  Not even close.

 

If you have a $50k asset that is being taxed at 8%, how do you realistically make a return on your investment?  You are going to have other fees too, insurance, utilities, and so on.  So now in order to make a 10%+ return, you are going to have to get 30% gross revenue from the asset?  LOL at that happening.

 

What about even making a positive return?  That might not even be POSSIBLE if taxes & insurance are 14% of the value of the asset?

 

This then becomes a death spiral.  The local municipality wants $, is starved for cash.  They look to the property owners to come up with it.  A lot of them can't.  They simply stop paying.  This is an epidemic in Detroit.  By some estimates, 55% of property in Detroit is at least 12 months behind (or more) on property taxes.  Owners figure I'll stay in my house or run my business as long as I can hang on.  If they foreclose, I'll shut down or move...

 

I suspect that is what is happening in this suburb.  That happened with this property already.  The previous owner simply stopped paying taxes and walked away.

 

Tenants are difficult to come by.  If you can find them, they won't pay a lot of rent.  There are many different places they can go...

 

The only way this purchase makes sense is if I take the plunge and operate & expand the business and perhaps even put in a second business.

 

I hope that government leaders can get some "economic sense" and realize what is happening to their economic base...Not too hopeful on that though...

 

I wasn't calling you a cheap skate.  I don't even agree that "all productive members of society need to pay taxes".  From my point of view "power corrupts" and "taxation is theft", so no one should be given the power steal at will, because no one can handle that (a discussion for another time maybe).  But what I was saying is that this deal might make a lot of sense if you do plan to operate and expand the business.  1) There is an existing business which you know about and know how to improve, with existing customers who already know were the location is.  2) You plan to expand on-line, and it doesn't matter where you are to your on-line customers, so this location is as good as any.  3) You have room to expand both this business and into others. 4) Some of your location's costs will be covered by rents.    All of this depends on how confident you are that you can profitably run the operating business(s).

 

For example (and this may be unrealistic, you need to run your own numbers) if you could bring in $500K in revenue that $4K in taxes wouldn't be a huge cost, even though it is a ridiculously high percentage of the building's market value.

 

I agree with you that the town government sounds like a den of thieves and that this is a horrible deal from a strictly real estate point of view.  If you plan to buy this property simply to be an absentee landlord and collect rents, don't do it.

 

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I wasn't calling you a cheap skate.  I don't even agree that "all productive members of society need to pay taxes".  From my point of view "power corrupts" and "taxation is theft", so no one should be given the power steal at will, because no one can handle that (a discussion for another time maybe).  But what I was saying is that this deal might make a lot of sense if you do plan to operate and expand the business.  1) There is an existing business which you know about and know how to improve, with existing customers who already know were the location is.  2) You plan to expand on-line, and it doesn't matter where you are to your on-line customers, so this location is as good as any.  3) You have room to expand both this business and into others. 4) Some of your location's costs will be covered by rents.    All of this depends on how confident you are that you can profitably run the operating business(s).

 

For example (and this may be unrealistic, you need to run your own numbers) if you could bring in $500K in revenue that $4K in taxes wouldn't be a huge cost, even though it is a ridiculously high percentage of the building's market value.

 

I agree with you that the town government sounds like a den of thieves and that this is a horrible deal from a strictly real estate point of view.  If you plan to buy this property simply to be an absentee landlord and collect rents, don't do it.

 

rkbabang:

 

Wish you were elected to government in Michigan!  They need some fresh thinking like yours to get things moving again and move the state back to prosperity.

 

Yes, the local government has been corrupted in many different ways...They have set up speed traps and other revenue enhancing measures through the local constabulary.  It is shocking how much revenue the city raises through this.  Of course, the police & judges have to protect their pensions.

 

I also very much appreciate your sound advice and did not mean anything by the cheapskate comment.

 

You are correct that I should not get too hung up on the taxes IF I think I can ramp up the business.

 

If I am correct on the potential of the business, the cost of the building will be relatively insignificant.

 

Perhaps if I do the deal, I will start a new thread on buying/building the business.  I am sure to have many interesting stories to tell!

 

Thanks

 

 

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rkbabang:

 

Wish you were elected to government in Michigan!  They need some fresh thinking like yours to get things moving again and move the state back to prosperity.

 

LOL, Me running for office? That is one thing I can promise you that I will never do.  I have a personal policy against joining violent criminal gangs.

 

And as enticing as you make it sound, I don't think I'll ever move to Michigan either.  :)

 

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  • 1 year later...

So, I was thinking about this thread yesterday when I saw an unusual piece of real estate advertised in my local area.

 

Did you pursue this further? How did it work out?

 

I did not purchase the property.

 

As time has progressed, it is apparent that Michigan has even MORE problems than what I initially thought.

 

Crime is terrible.  Taxes are bad (income, property, gasoline, sales).  Auto insurance is 6.5X what I was paying in Texas, and is the highest in the country.    It is highly likely that gasoline tax will increase $.40/gallon over the next 3 years resulting in the 2nd costliest gas in America.

 

Most public skewls are a joke...

 

The demographics are terrible.

 

Winter is silly/brutal.  People still believe/think of global warming?  It was SNOWING during the tigers game on April 23rd.

 

And to top it off, I missed getting killed by 5 minutes the other day.  A truck plowed into the lobby of a business that I had been in 8 minutes earlier.  One of the wildest things I've ever seen!

 

I am seriously considering leaving the state at the end of summer/fall.  Time for me to move!

 

 

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So, I was thinking about this thread yesterday when I saw an unusual piece of real estate advertised in my local area.

 

Did you pursue this further? How did it work out?

 

I did not purchase the property.

 

As time has progressed, it is apparent that Michigan has even MORE problems than what I initially thought.

 

Crime is terrible.  Taxes are bad (income, property, gasoline, sales).  Auto insurance is 6.5X what I was paying in Texas, and is the highest in the country.    It is highly likely that gasoline tax will increase $.40/gallon over the next 3 years resulting in the 2nd costliest gas in America.

 

Most public skewls are a joke...

 

The demographics are terrible.

 

Winter is silly/brutal.  People still believe/think of global warming?  It was SNOWING during the tigers game on April 23rd.

 

And to top it off, I missed getting killed by 5 minutes the other day.  A truck plowed into the lobby of a business that I had been in 8 minutes earlier.  One of the wildest things I've ever seen!

 

I am seriously considering leaving the state at the end of summer/fall.  Time for me to move!

 

Sorry to hear that things are not getting any better over there. We need to have some sort of special economic zone there where there is a federal tax exemption for any start up or sub 100m annual revenue business for the next 10 yrs. the infrastructure is built, it just can't be maintained etc.

Lots of social problems that have roots in economic problems.

 

Interestingly the western part of the state is doing fine, more like a Wisconsin economy. Very pretty as well.

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Winter is silly/brutal.  People still believe/think of global warming?  It was SNOWING during the tigers game on April 23rd.

 

Yes, people do believe that global warming is causing your severe cold weather:

 

http://phys.org/news/2015-02-evidence-link-wavy-jet-stream.html

Prolonged cold snaps on the East Coast, California drought and frozen mornings in the South all have something in common – the atmospheric jet stream which transports weather systems that's taken to meandering all over North America.

 

Rutgers University climate scientist Jennifer Francis and colleagues link that wavy jet stream to a warming Arctic, where climate changes near the top of the world are happening faster than in Earth's middle latitudes.

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