Detroit real estate agent Ian Mason has sold homes for $1.
When I asked him to check the listings for other properties at that price, he found four more.
He then took me to a white, clapboard-sided house that his company, Bearing Group Real Estate Brokerage, has listed.
"If you want this house, you can have it," he said. "I'll just give it to you."
"I'm not allowed to accept anything of value from a source," I told him.
"Who said I was giving you anything of value?" he replied.
In the neighborhood where Mason offered me a $0 house (not including closing costs, escrow, taxes, etc.), almost every dwelling was in shambles. Boarded windows. Abandoned cars. Collapsed porches. Ubiquitous graffiti.
The home across the street was charred, likely by arsonists.
We drove through snow nobody would ever plow.
"What's this place like in the summer?" I asked.
"You wouldn't be driving through here," Mason said. "There's a small chance you'd field a bullet."
Police stopped patrolling these neighborhoods years ago.
"So if I buy a $1 house, I'm going to need to hire some security?"
"Not necessarily," Mason said. "Some of these neighborhoods are so desolate, crime isn't much of a concern."
"I could take you to 30 square blocks of urban prairie." ...
A bleak picture, to be sure. Just wait till GM, Chrysler, and Ford go belly up.