Frequently Asked Questions

Why are you texting me?

Outlier is trying to reach as many Detroiter’s as possible with housing information we’ve gathered through our reporting. We have information about every home in Detroit; who the owner is, if the place is at risk of foreclosure and if it has been inspected, for example. We don’t want to wait for people to find us so we buy cell phone numbers from a company called ExactData. They sell phone numbers of people who at some point signed up for something and allowed their number to be sold.

If you don’t want to get texts from Outlier you can always opt-out.

Why is this a free service?

We are a service journalism project funded by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. We may start charging a small amount for projects like this in the future, but this rental housing information is free. If you want to support Outlier through our “donate” button (to the right if you’re on a computer or at the bottom of the page on mobile).

How do we know so much about these addresses?

Outlier uses traditional reporting techniques and data reporting. We use public data, use FOIA requests and sometimes even buy data to discover the following things about addresses in Detroit: addresses, tax information, whether or not the property is a registered rental, when it was last inspected, and the risk of water shut off. Bank foreclosure data is simply too expensive for Outlier to purchase in bulk. If you’re looking for bank foreclosure information we suggest entering an address at

What if I need more information or different information?

Outlier is willing to look into any housing, property tax or utility question you think a journalist could help you find answers to. Email with questions you have or just tell us to follow up with you when you text “Detroit” to 63735.