Paying cash for a house might, for some, conjure up images of bidding wars and deep-pocketed investors who can easily dip into fat bank accounts. But in Detroit, a majority of homes are bought in cash. Even people who could really use a loan or a mortgage are instead forced into riskier cash transactions.

We’ve put together a guide to help Detroiters navigate those risks (scams, repair costs, title issues). The largest landowner in the city is the Detroit Land Bank Authority, and most of their sales are also cash transactions. For anybody interested in buying from the DLBA, there is additional info on moving through that process. Share this guide, print it out, use it, and send your feedback to Outlier Media Managing Editor Erin Perry at

Aaron (he/him) believes in telling true stories about real people. He doesn’t think there’s anything better than a crisp fall afternoon at the Detroit Jazz Fest.