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What Happens When You Buy A Land Bank Home For $8,100

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This post was authored by Serena Maria Daniels

The Detroit Land Bank Authority is in its fourth month of auctioning off two homes a day; so far just over 200 have purchased homes through its online auction. Curbed Detroit asked readers to let us know if they took the plunge and bid on a home. Recently we can across MSU grad student Jay Meeks, 29, who on July 26 won a bid on a three-bedroom, Tudor-style brick home at 16531 Ohio in the city's Marygrove community.

The winning bid came in at $8,100. The house qualifies for a $25,000 forgivable home improvement loan from Talmer Bank and Trust. Meeks says that so far he's installed a new roof, is awaiting arrival of new doors and windows and took out $10,000 to renovate the home's single bathroom and kitchen. Altogether, the 29-year-old plans to spend about $25,000 – not a bad deal considering his new neighbors across the street just paid $52,000 on a home.

Meeks tells Curbed he was skeptical about the thought of purchasing a home through an auction. "The Wayne County tax seemed like a gimmick," he says. You can't see the home before you buy it, there's no inspection involved. "So I just was not interested in any auctions." The Detroit Land Bank auction felt different, he says, after he read about a woman he went to church with growing up, who bought a house through the auction.

That news article, on top of seemingly endless disappointments trying to find a home in the so-called glamorous neighborhoods closer to downtown, got Meeks to thinking that maybe the land bank auction was different. "And so I was like, OK, let me see this Ohio Street." And so he scoured the website, found that Tudor fixer-upper and made a date to attend the open house. One the day of the July 26 auction, he decided that he would pay no more than $13,000. He put off a road trip to Chicago until after the 5 p.m. closing time and went through a bidding war – beating out two competitors who by the end of the day had challenged him nine times, ending the battle at 23 bids.

Meeks has a goal of moving in by the end of October. At the pace he's rebuilding, we don't doubt he will meet his deadline. In the meantime we are interested in hearing more stories – good or bad. Got something to share? Tell us on the tip line.
· All Detroit Land Bank posts [Curbed Detroit]