FAQ for Property Auction


1. How do I register?

Select a one-word bidder name without any spaces. Provide contact information and check the box that you agree to the rules. The applicant or entity registered will be the sole purchaser.

2. I can’t complete my registration, and the site will not allow me to choose State or Region.

If you are using Internet Explorer, you must use version 10.0 or higher, or use another web browser. Internet Explorer 11.0 can be used with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8.

Download the Google Chrome Browser here

3. How can I view the property?

You may browse properties online for at least a week before the bidding opens. You can also see the properties in person at the scheduled Open House events.

4. Who is eligible to bid?

All applicants must meet the same eligibility requirements to buy Auction homes as you must to buy Own It Now homes.

  • You must be a Michigan resident, a non-Michigan resident who will live in the property after rehab, or a company or organization authorized to do business in Michigan.
  • You, or any legal entity in which you have an ownership interest, cannot have unpaid delinquent property taxes on properties located in Wayne County, or have lost property to back taxes in Wayne County in the last three years. To pay or check taxes due please visit, Wayne County Treasurer   
  • You, or any legal entity in which you have an ownership interest, cannot have material unresolved blight or code violations in the City of Detroit. To pay or check tickets due please visit, City of Detroit Department of Administrative Hearings
  • A Purchaser is ineligible to purchase a property from the Detroit Land Bank Authority if they or the entity that they are purchasing under are currently involved in a Bankruptcy Proceeding. 
  • A Purchaser is ineligible to purchase a property from the Detroit Land Bank Authority if they have an IRS lien filed against them or the entity that they are purchasing under.

5. How does the bidding process work?

Each property will be open for sale for only one day. Bidding will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. If any bid is made within the last 5 minutes that bidding is open, the closing time will be extended by 5 minutes, and extended another 5 minutes each time a bid is made until no further bids are made. The bidding will open at $1,000.00. All bids must go up in increments of at least $100. To bid, click on the property that you want and then click on “Bid Now”. If this is your first bid you will be prompted to provide your credit card information. The amount of each bid submitted will be posted immediately on the screen, so that the public knows the current bid at all times, together with the Bidder Name of the current bidder.  Bidders are encouraged to refresh their browser screen frequently to ensure that current bid amounts are reflected. The DLBA reserves the right to reject any and all bids and either remove a property from auction, or reopen bidding on it at a later date.

6. Is there an automatic bidding system?

If you know the maximum amount that you want to bid and don't want to sit at the computer all day, you can enter an automatic bid with a preset maximum amount that is hidden on the website. The computer will then automatically enter bids for you in $100 increments only as needed to top other bidders. For example, at 10:00 a.m., you are the winning bidder at $5,000, but you need to go out. You can enter an automatic bid with a hidden maximum of $20,000. When someone else bids $5,100, the computer will automatically enter a bid from you at $5,200. The computer will only enter bids for you as necessary to keep your place as the winning bidder, up to your maximum bid price. NOTE: Be sure to double check your bid amount. Once you enter a maximum bid, it cannot be deleted!

7. What credit cards are accepted?

Only MasterCard, Visa, and Discover credit cards are accepted at this time. Only one card per sale may be used. Split tenders cannot be performed.

8. When will I have to enter my credit card information?

Credit Card information will be required for all bidders upon registration. There is no authorization or charge upon registration. When you bid, the credit card will be authorized for $1,000.00 but will not be charged. If you do not have at least a $1,000 available balance on your credit card, you will not be able to place a bid.

Only winning bidders’ credit card will be charged a nonrefundable $1,000.00. If your credit card is denied for any reason, you will have until noon the next business day to process another credit card, or to provide a certified check for the $1,000.00 winning deposit. If it is not received by this deadline date, you will lose your right to purchase the property.

9. How much is the nonrefundable deposit and when is it due?

The required deposit is 10% of the winning bid price, or $1,000.00, whichever is greater. The deposit amount is due within three (3) days of winning the bid. If the winning bidder does not provide the balance of the 10% deposit within 3 days of winning the bid, the $1,000 that was charged to the credit card will be retained as a penalty charge, the bidder will lose the right to purchase the property, the bidder account will be deactivated, and they will not be allowed to make future auction bids.

10. What happens to the credit card authorization for losing bidders?

All losing bidder credit card authorizations are immediately released by the Land Bank’s merchant account provider. However, the Bidder’s credit card issuer often will take 2-3 business days to release the $1,000 authorization. This may restrict bidders who do not have an additional $1,000 available balance from bidding until the authorization is released by the credit card issuer.

11. Are there any discounts?

Eligible City of Detroit employees may receive an one time 50% discount on an auction property. Applicants must be approved by their Human Resources department prior to bidding. The discount will be applied at the time of closing.

More information can be found here.

12. What happens after I win a bid?

The next business day after you win a property bid, you will receive an email notifying you that you are the winning bidder. The sales and program team will review your eligibility and you will hear back within 3-5 business days.

13. What happens after I am found eligible to complete the purchase?

Three to five business days after you win a property bid, you will receive an email notifying you that you are eligible along with a link that will take you to a form for inputting your purchaser information for the preparation of your Purchase Agreement. Once you have completed inputting all your purchaser information, your Purchase Agreement will be generated electronically and downloaded to your computer for printing. In addition, you will receive an invoice showing any balance of down payment due, and a Closing Tasks and Timeline. A web link will be included in the email taking you to a secure site where you can pay by credit card any remaining down payment that may be due. Winning bidders will need to sign the Purchase Agreement in front of a notary and have them notarize the document. You can do this at your bank or have it notarized at the Land Bank office if you sign in person. The signed and notarized Purchase Agreement must then be submitted along with a copy of government issued ID for all listed purchasers within three business days of the winning bid along with any unpaid deposit.

For legal entities, winning bidder must submit within 3 business days the following documents along with the items outlined above:

  •  Copy of Certificate of Good Standing obtained from the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation showing that purchasing entity is authorized to transact business in the state of Michigan, or for newly formed legal entities in the state of Michigan, a copy of Articles of Incorporation for Corporations or Articles of Organization for Limited Liability Companies.
  • Affidavit listing the owners, or shareholders, (with titles) of the corporation, or limited liability company, percentage of ownership, legal address of the company where deed and future water bills and property taxes are to be mailed, and authorized signer(s) of the legal entity.

14. What happens if I am found ineligible to complete the purchase?

If you are ineligible based on the listed eligibility requirements, your deposit will be forfeited and the property will be offered to the next highest bidder.

15. When can I inspect the properties being auctioned?

If you are interested in viewing the property before closing, there is a $35 non-refundable fee per appointment. Three hour appointments are available 9-12pm, 11am-2pm, 1-4pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays as well as 11am-2pm and 1pm-4pm on Saturdays (depending on staff availability). Only one appointment per purchaser allowed per day. No walk-in appointments are available. Appointments are scheduled on a first come first serve basis. You must arrive within 15 minutes of your appointment time or you will need to schedule another access appointment. Any missed appointments will result in forfeiture of payment.

16. How do I schedule an appointment?

Locate the Purchase Agreement email you received from info@buildingdetroit.org after being deemed eligible. Toward the bottom of this email you will find a link to schedule a Pre-Closing Property Visit. Click on this link and follow the instructions to schedule your property visit. Please do not edit any information that has auto-populated. This information is required by the Detroit Land Bank for scheduling the appointment. Read the terms and conditions of the Pre-Closing Property Visit and note anyone who will be joining you at the property. All attendees will need to complete and sign a waiver at the property. Check the box if you agree to the terms and conditions and proceed with scheduling and paying for your appointment. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted.

17. How much will my taxes be once I’ve won the bid and met all the requirements?

Property taxes are determined by the City of Detroit Assessor based upon the Taxable Value at the time of sale, which will be equal to the State Equalized Value (SEV) of the property (or half the Fair Market Value of the property).

More information can be found in the following links, or by calling the City of Detroit Assessor at (313) 224-3011.

Neighborhood Enterprise Zone Frequently Asked Questions

Principal Residence Exemption Form 

Office of the Assessor

18. What is the closing time frame?

If you are not seeking lender financing for the sale or rehabilitation of the property, you will need to close on the sale no later than 30 days after the winning bid. If you are seeking lender financing for the sale or rehabilitation of the property, you must close on the sale no later than 60 days after winning the bid. The Land Bank will consider requests for closing deadline extensions on a case by case basis with documentation from the lender that all required buyer documentation has been submitted for lender review, and lender requests additional time for loan processing and a final loan decision.

If you fail to close by the deadline, you will forfeit your down payment and the property and are forbidden to bid in all future auctions. The Land Bank may offer the property to the next highest bidder, auction it again at a later date or remove it from the auction. Closings will take place at the offices of the Seller’s title company.

19. Can I close electronically since I live out of town?

No. All persons that will sign the purchase agreement and other closing documents must be present in person for the closing at the offices of the Seller’s closing title company.

20. What will be the closing costs charged by the Detroit Land Bank?

Buyer will be responsible for the following estimated closing costs:

  • Title search:  $100 - 150 depending on title company that is closing the sale (more if buyer purchases a title insurance policy)
  • Pre-sale inspection  currently: $295 for single family home, $355 for 2 family home, $175 for 3-family home
  • Closing Fee: $250 for title company expense for closing services (If buyer is obtaining lender financing, buyer will need to obtain additional closing fee charge from Title Company) 
  • Recording Fee for the deed:  $30.00
  • Tax Certification Fee: $25.00

Please note, that if Purchaser is obtaining lender financing, there will be additional closing costs and fees to be determined by the lender, and $500.00 to clear title if desired by buyer.

21. Will I obtain clear title to the property at closing?

The Land Bank will issue a Quit Claim Deed as evidence of title at closing, and does not guarantee clear title to the property all properties are sold “AS IS, WHERE IS, WITH ALL FAULTS”. The Detroit Land Bank makes no warranty or representation, express or implied, or arising by operation of law, including, but not limited to, any warranty of condition, habitability, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, with respect to the physical condition or status of the title to this property. The Land Bank will provide a copy of a Title Search Report to the winning bidder for each property (this will be a closing cost to the Buyer). To ensure clear title, the buyer may wish to obtain title insurance at an additional cost to the Buyer, and the cost of the title search report will be credited toward the cost of the title commitment. If desired, the Buyer will need to work with the title company to resolve any identified title issues at the cost of the Buyer.

22. Will I be responsible for any back taxes or water bills owed on the property?

Seller will pay all outstanding water bills, liens, or delinquent property taxes at closing. Purchaser will be responsible for paying all current year real property taxes, as well as property taxes in all future years. Current year taxes will need to be paid at closing along with closing costs.

23. What is my obligation to rehab the property?

Within 30 days after closing, you must provide the Land Bank an executed copy of a contract to rehab the home. If you can demonstrate to the Land Bank you have the skills to rehab the house yourself, within 30 days after closing you must provide the Land Bank with a plan of work and receipts showing you have purchased the materials necessary. See following web link Post-Closing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Many of these properties were originally built using lead-based paint, asbestos, or other hazardous materials. If available, environmental reports will be provided to winning bidders. It is recommended that homeowners seek professional advice on how to properly address hazardous materials. Within 6 months after closing (9 months for homes located in a historic district), you must provide the Land Bank with a Certificate of Occupancy, or Certificate of Approval for the house and demonstrate that the house has an occupant. If you fail to meet these deadlines, you will forfeit both your purchase price and the property, and are forbidden to bid in all future auctions.

24. How often should updates to the home be made and submitted to the Detroit Land Bank Authority?


Required Regular Updates Acceptable proof at each milestone
Agreement signed (0 days)  
Proof Secured (15 days)
  • Photos of all 4 sides of property showing it's secured
  • Photos showing all exterior debris has been removed
  • Photos showing yard/grass is maintained
Rehab 30-day update Proof of progress on property including:
  • Picture of inside (BEFORE and AFTER)
  • Picture of outside (BEFORE and AFTER)
  • Receipts from contractors for work completed
  • Receipts for material used for property
  • Utility Bills
  • Permits/inspections with BSEED
  • Receipts for appliances such as furnaces and water heaters
  • Interior photos of key rooms (kitchen, bath)

These items need to be provided EACH MONTH at 30 days, 60 days, 90 days and 120 days

Rehab 60-day Update
Rehab 90-day Update
Rehab 120-day Update
* Rehab 150-day Update (extension possible)

In addition to the proof provided above provide:

  • Definitive property completion date
  • Move in date
  • Future lease/rental agreement (if applicable)

A short extension is possible if diligence has been shown up to this point.

Certificated of Completion (180 days)
  • Proof property is occupied (Signed lease, photos with furniture, photos with lights on, utility bills etc)
  • or agree to a site visit by DLBA


25. Where can I find information on the City of Detroit’s building codes, ordinances, and acts?

Click here for the City of Detroit's building codes, ordinances and acts

26. Where can I find information on the City of Detroit’s Permit Application Procedures, Building Permit Requirements, Zoning Information and Requirements and Process for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy?

More information can be found on the Departments and Agencies page of the the City of Detroit website. Select Builds, Safety Engineering and Environmental under the Departments header.


Following are web links for the following items:

Permit Application Procedures: http://www.detroitmi.gov/How-Do-I/Apply-for-Permits
Building Permit Requirements: http://www.detroitmi.gov/How-Do-I/Construction-Permit-Information
Zoning Information: http://www.detroitmi.gov/How-Do-I/Apply-for-Permits/Zoning-Permit-Information
Requirements and Process for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy: http://www.detroitmi.gov/Portals/0/docs/Permits/BSEED/Construction/Certificate%20of%20Occupancy%20Process%20-%20Plan%20Review%20-%20NEW.pdf

27. Can I obtain financing to purchase and renovate the home?

Lender financing information can be found at  http://buildingdetroit.org/Financing

28. How many properties can I purchase?

Purchasers are limited to the purchase of one property, which must be brought up to code and be occupied within 6 months (9 months for homes located in a historic district) from the closing date. Then purchasers can purchase and close on one property per calendar month across all DBLA programs up to nine properties per twelve months from the last date of transfer. The approval of the Detroit Land Bank Authority and the Detroit City Council will be required to acquire more than nine properties per year.

If purchasers use a legal entity to purchase the property, they must have an ownership interest in it. This legal entity, and all other legal entities in which they have an ownership interest, cannot purchase more than one property until the first property has been brought up to up to code and occupied within 6 months (9 months for homes located in a historic district). The legal entity can purchase and close on one property per month once it has brought the first property up to code and has it occupied up to nine across all DLBA programs per twelve months from the last date of transfer.


Detroit Land Bank Authority
500 Griswold Street, Suite 1200, Detroit, MI 48226

The Detroit Land Bank is an Equal Housing Opportunity Provider and does not discriminate in the sale, rental, and financing of housing, or in other housing-related transactions, based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, age, height, weight, or disability.
Copyright © 2014 Detroit Land Bank Authority