A dozen city-owned homes will be auctioned off through the website BuildingDetroit.org. The auction begins May 5th, with one home sold each day with an open house set for April 27th.
The City of Detroit gave 7 Action News an inside look at the homes before the auction kicks off in a few weeks.
“When they moved out of this house, the house was probably fine." said home inspector Tony Djurasaj, looking through one of the homes up for auction, "And years later, this is what we have.”
Remnants of an American Dream now provide the chance for others to dream themselves. Look past the chipping paint, the damaged floors, and take a closer look at the amenities, the handcrafted plaster moldings, and the lighting fixtures; all shadows of what these homes once were. But more importantly, what they could be again.
With auction prices starting at a $1,000, the dozen homes in East English Village listed on BuildingDetroit.org are not the decaying structures that have come to define Detroit’s problem with blight.
“These are brick houses." said Djurasaj, "There’s a reason that the three little pigs lasted in the final house, you know what I mean?”
"Someone actually took a lot of time to build that house," said Mayor Duggan's Spokesperson Alexis Wiley, "And they built it with a family in mind.”
“Yes, we would be so happy to walk in to a house that we actually own.” said Loretta Ashburn. She says this this could be her family's shot at that American Dream. They’re concerned large rental companies may outbid them, but the city says its Land Bank auctions are designed to bring in neighbors and keep speculators out.
“Once you close, you cannot sit on the house." said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, "You have thirty days to bring the land bank a signed construction contract to rehab the property. If you don’t do it, you lose the money, and we take the house back.”
Buyers have six months to bring the properties up to code, and the city is up front about rehab costs potentially totaling more than the winning bid.
"It’s not too bad." said Ashburn, "It needs work. I’m ready to tear down some walls. [My husband's] going to think I’m crazy, but it’s okay.”