Riding Along with Shea into the Heart of Detroit on Youtube and Periscope


DETROIT, MI:  Ever run across an eBay listing offering to sell a house for $500?  They exist, and on the surface of it, it sounds like a tempting offer.  Sure, the houses are often in impoverished rust-belt cities like Detroit, Buffalo, or Youngstown.  Sure, these cities are dangerous, dirty, and offer few jobs.  However, $500 is chicken feed; why not buy ten houses in Detroit, spend a little to fix them up, rent them out, and retire to the content life of landlord? Unfortunately, it is not quite that easy.  In most cases five hundred bucks will only buy you a fortune in futile repairs, if you’re lucky. Usually, the homes are well beyond repair, and the land they sit on is worthless too.

Interior of one of the nicer homes.
Interior of one of the nicer homes.

Shea Woods, host of The Shea Show on YouTube, will tell you why it’s not as rosy as it sounds. Shea, an independent home refurbisher, landlord, and YouTube star takes the viewer on inspections of houses people have bought over the internet for remarkably low prices, with few selling for more than $3000.  What do you get for such low prices?  As Shea demonstrates time and again, you tend to get gutted, vandalized, fire or water-damaged property in the absolute worst possible parts of town.  Shea walks us right into these houses, and shows us what messes they are, accompanied by his dry and funny commentary.  It is part urban exploration, part scam-debunking, and part lesson in the hard realities of inner-city Detroit.

Shea outside another online "bargain"
Shea outside another online “bargain”

Shea has been a copious uploader for years, often uploading several videos a day.  Lately, he has branched out into Periscope as well.  The videos are enjoyable because of Shea’s reassuring presence, but they can also be uncomfortably real, as when Shea has to evict tenants for not paying rent.  Shea also becomes involved with many of the people he has met, and the viewer is along for all of it. Some videos have dealt with the serious health problems suffered by his cameraman; a recent spate of heartbreaking videos dealt with the death of Shea’s wife.  We encounter addictions, poverty, and hopelessness all set amid a backdrop of the fallen city of Detroit, once America’s fourth largest city.

If you are interested in urban exploration, real estate speculation, get-rich quick schemes, the life of a landlord, or the city of Detroit, The Shea Show is right up your alley.  Even if you aren’t especially interested in those subjects, you’ll be won over by Shea’s fascinating videos and winning personality.  Shea is one of the many great stars of YouTube.  One comment below a Shea video read, “You should start a reality show!”.  Another comment just below it said, “She already has a reality show!”

Watch the Shea Show on YouTube