In a move that rankled some locals last Tuesday, former yacht dealer Bill McMachen bought up every foreclosed property in Macomb County, Michigan, for $4.9million, Fox 2 News, Detroit, reported. The payment figure reflected the amount of back taxes owed on 645 properties, 403 of which are family homes.
McMachen spent just $7,500 per property, which he intends to turn into an estimated $2million total profit after recouping his investment and fixing up the often-dilapidated homes. McMachen also told Fox 2 that he may donate some of the properties to people in need.
But some of the 300 other potential buyers—who each paid $500 and waited hours for a chance to participate in the county auction—said the county’s decision to sell to McMachen was unfair.
One of the potential buyers said he would have paid up to four times McMachen’s per-home price for some of the properties.
“If we knew it was going to happen like this, we wouldn’t have wasted any time,” the buyer told Fox 2.
Ted Wahby, the Macomb County Treasurer responsible for the deal, said he regretted smaller investors losing out on the chance to purchase.
“God bless them, I wish they could have,” he told Fox 2, “but that’s not my mission. I have a job to do. I have to collect the taxes, and that’s what we did.”
But the homes aren’t gone forever; McMachen’s intention to sell the properties means they’re still accessible to the investors who lost out at the auction, “probably for about the same price they would have bought it,” he said.
In fact, McMachen said he’s already fielding so many sales proposals that he’s “having a hard time keeping up with them all.”
“It’s overwhelming,” he said.