When the housing bubble popped during the recession, it left millions of people upside down on their mortgage. In turn, many of those homes were repossessed and resold later so the bank could try and recoup some of the lost costs. Vincent Orr used this opportunity to buy himself and his mother a home next to each other. All it cost was $2,100.
As you can expect when you buy a home for $2,100, there are a lot of repairs to be done until it becomes livable. For the next nine months, Orr did everything from electrical, plumbing, painting and demolition while renovating the two homes.
It wasn’t all just a walk in the park though. Orr spoke with Business Insider about his journey of buying the two abandoned homes and spending $40,000 to make them livable.
Orr purchased the homes from the Detroit Land Bank Authority, which is tasked with selling older or abandoned homes at auction. Essentially, whoever wins the auction becomes the sole owner of the property once they make the home livable again and up to code.
With that knowledge in mind, Orr began working on the two homes. The Detriot native grew up a few streets away from where he purchased the houses.
“My family roots in this neighborhood run pretty deep,” he said. “I wanted to stay around and bring it back to the level that I remember it at when I was a child.”
The bank wasn’t joking when they said the home needed renovations. When Orr arrived at the home after purchasing it, he noticed the windows were smashed out, the roof was caving in and the steps leading to the door were destroyed.
His new neighbors told him the home he was renovating had been abandoned for 10 years. The inside of the home wasn’t much better, but Orr knew it wasn’t something that a little work couldn’t resolve.
The $40,000 price tag he spent bringing the homes back to life was spent on a myriad of improvements, including adding new kitchen sinks and cabinets, adding a furnace and handling code violations.
The few things he left to the professionals were the heating and air system and the caved-in roof. Instead of missing cabinets and dirty sinks, Orr replaced those with white cabinets, marble countertops and new appliances.
After the renovation, Orr took photos and videos of what the home after he had completed his renovations.
“For the final inspection, they didn’t have to come out, because I documented everything with photographs and sent it to them. They had been following the process along the way,” Orr said.
“You have to show them evidence of the house being occupied, so you show them furniture in the living room, furniture in the bedrooms, and appliances in the kitchen.”
Not a bad deal as long as you’re willing to put in the work.