Op-Ed Contributor – For Sale – The $100 House – NYTimes.com


This is the second piece for Rod, and one which gives me a glimmer of hope for this current, lamentable situation: Detroit was hit just as hard – and just as early – as Cleveland, with foreclosed properties being sold for as low as $100. Most of these have been gutted of fixtures, wiring and plumbing by thieves. Some smart, community- and environmentally-minded types are buying the properties with the intention of refitting the house with solar and smart technologies. Making lemonade out of the realty lemons. Inspiring.

So what did $1,900 buy? The run-down bungalow had already been stripped of its appliances and wiring by the city’s voracious scrappers. But for Mitch that only added to its appeal, becausehe now had the opportunity to renovate it with solar heating, solar electricity and low-cost, high-efficiency appliances.

Buying that first house had a snowball effect. Almost immediately, Mitch and Gina bought two adjacent lots for even less and, with the help of friends and local youngsters, dug in a garden. Then they bought the house next door for $500, reselling it to a pair of local artists for a $50 profit. When they heard about the $100 place down the street, they called their friends Jon and Sarah.

Admittedly, the $100 home needed some work, a hole patched, some windows replaced. But Mitch plans to connect their home to his mini-green grid and a neighborhood is slowly coming together.

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