Journalist, Author & Detroit-Home Renovator

Happy Anniversary, Matilda: The Year in Numbers

karlhouseKarl and I bought Matilda one year ago. It’s been a wild ride, both more expensive and more fulfilling than we could have expected. (That’s Karl on home-buying day last year!)

We’ve met some amazing people and moved into a house that will be our forever home. We’ve also gone from starry-eyed dreamers excited about the low cost of living in Detroit to being broke, just like everyone else.

We hadn’t updated everyone on the finances lately, so I thought we’d give everyone a glimpse into some of the more interesting numbers:




When thinking about a rehab of historic homes, here’s an interesting number our contractors use to quick-guess what it will take to do a gut renovation: !100/square foot. That’s not fancy high-end finishes, but it’s not linoleum-level either.

We’re sitting right at about $120/square foot — but that includes taxes, insurance, purchase price, everything.

So if you’re thinking about bidding on a property in the mayor’s Neighbors Wanted auctions, keep that figure in mind.

2 Responses to “Happy Anniversary, Matilda: The Year in Numbers”

  1. hometownhistorytours

    Congrats! Thanks for sharing your expenses. Able to see concrete example of costs.

  2. Wanda Mumford

    iIenjoyed your book on many levels, my son’s and i renovated and built homes,not in Detroit though, and I use to love staying with an aunt and uncle in Detroit, when I was little in the 40″s , and I think it might have been West Village. I am in my 90’s and still remember how Ioved the houses and neighborhoods.
    Another level that I though was so important and that every white politician should read , but I still do not think they would understand, was what your said about your father losing his business , equipment and livelihood, pages 70-73. the paragraph that hit me was, “I need to understand … ignored at the worst.” Every time I read that paragraph I get upset because it says so much about how we treat too many today.


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