The View from Virginia Park

Lessons from the Wild World of Detroit Real Estate

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Introducing “The View from Virginia Park”

I never thought I’d be a real estate investor.

Like many other investors, I got into this business accidentally. When we bought, fixed up, and rented out our property, I thought of myself as many things—homeowner, rehabber, even community builder—but “investor” wasn’t among them.

Of course, I am a real estate investor. And over the past few years, I’ve discovered that real estate investing is about so much more than just numbers on a spreadsheet.

It’s about creating something real and tangible. It’s about investing in communities. It’s about linking yourself with others through the intimacy of a shared space. And, yes, it’s about generating cash flow—for vacations, retirement, or just to put your money to productive use.

And sometimes, on those magical days when everything is running smoothly, it’s even about having fun!

Jake having fun

But you wouldn’t know it from reading a typical real estate blog.

Those blogs mostly fall into two categories. On the one hand, there are the blogs with basic tips for beginners: “How to Calculate Cap Rate,” “How to Run a Credit Check,” “Top 10 Tenant Screening Mistakes.”

Then, on the other, there are the blogs that promise fantastical returns or an instant windfall if you just make this investment, or buy this product, or attend this seminar… payment for which usually flows straight back into the pockets of the person making the recommendation.

This blog aims to be something different.

Sure, we’ll have practical tips—but they won’t be the kind of tips you can already find a thousand copies of with a quick search.

Why are Detroit’s property taxes so high, and what can you do about it? How can you figure out what neighborhoods are ripe for investment if you don’t live here? How can you buy property at the Wayne County Tax Auction without evicting a former owner who lost their home due to circumstances beyond their control? These are the kinds of question we hope to answer in the coming weeks.

Why The View from Virginia Park? Our own rental property on Virginia Park St. was our entrée into the real estate world two years ago, and it’s where Castle is headquartered today. From our vantage point here, we can see two sides of Detroit: Downtown and Midtown, booming with new development, just south of us, and a part of Euclid St. that’s been almost completely razed just one block behind us.

Our home and office at 760 Virginia Park St.

Our home and office at 760 Virginia Park St.

Since launching our company, Castle, at the beginning of this year, we’ve seen the best—and the worst—of Detroit real estate. We look forward to sharing that with you as this blog grows!

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