There have been many stories over the past decade of people from outside of Detroit buying up rundown homes in the city at rock-bottom prices. These homes are often historical and architectural gems decimated by years of neglect and people who strip out the wiring, the piping, the appliances, and anything else of value. Often the new homeowners are either flipping the house for profit or run of out of cash or interest in Detroit.
That wasn’t the case with the author of “Detroit Hustle,” a new book that recounts the complete overhaul of a West Village home and the decision to make Detroit a permanent home.
Amy Haimerl bought the house in early 2013 with her husband, Karl Kaebnick.
“We were not looking for a big project,” says Haimerl. She says they wanted a simpler home-improvement project that would include primarily cosmetic updates. But she says they fell in love with the house in West Village and knew it would be home, despite the amount of work and money that would need to go into the fix.
“Every window was boarded up, there was mold everywhere,” she says. ”[But] you could see it had been grand at one time.”
She started a blog that she says became a repository of facts about buying a home in Detroit. From there came the idea of writing a book chronicling the experiences with the house.
Haimerl, who is originally from Colorado, says her father always complained about people moving to the state expecting it to be something it isn’t, and changing its overall cultural makeup to make it fit their expectations. Haimerl says that’s not what she wants to do in Detroit.
“This isn’t a place that conforms to me, I conform to it.”
To hear more of her conversation with host Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today, click the audio player above.