Autumn-like chills on a Sunday afternoon in mid-May aren’t enough to turn Luis and Takiyah Marquez back from their mission.
Not even the peculiar, floating white specs many refuse to acknowledge as snowflakes seem to impact the Marquez family or hundreds of others who eagerly traipse into homes on display as part of a distinguished west side community’s annual event.
As one of the city’s most active neighborhood-driven revitalization programs Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp. (GRDC) showcases its stock at a spring open house designed to boost ownership and attract residents to the west-side Detroit subdivision. While promoting the community as a home to people of all ages and backgrounds GRDC has renovated about 100 private dwellings during its 25-year history.
Both former Motown residents, the Marquezes saw the open house as a perfect starting point in their journey from suburban Taylor back to Detroit.
“We rode around looking at houses on the tour,” says Luis. “This is the only area of Detroit we have considered.”
While he has worked in the city all his life, costs like property tax and homeowners insurance led him to seek a new zip code. Piling into a bus with some of their children and other open house guests, the Marquezes left North Rosedale Park Community House for a ride-by view of about a dozen homes. But with a family of seven, including ages ranging from 5 to 15, Takiyah says the list of attractions for their future Detroit home must extend beyond the street address.
“Where we are (in Taylor) there are all kinds of restaurants and places to go,” she says.
The Meijer restaurant near Grandmont Rosedale would be the kind of amenity the Marquezes seek, along with the neighborhood parks and outlets for family activity, Takiyah adds.
A white-trimmed, brick colonial at 16765 Shaftsbury, with a small, sunlit kitchen, adjacent breakfast room, and four bedrooms sparked enough interest for the Marquezes to make their way back to the house after the bus tour. Inside the home Remerica realtor Tim Kavanaugh greeted them and other guests.
“The traffic has been amazing,” says Kavanaugh. “We’re really impressed with what they’ve done in the subdivision. It’s my first time selling a house in this neighborhood and this whole event has been fantastic.”
Just half-way through the four-hour event Kavanaugh had already shown the Shaftsbury address to about 150 people.
Shaftsbury wasn’t the only popular attraction. Another listed home had already been sold fewer than two hours into the event, according to GRDC updates. While agents like Kavanaugh often work during the open house, many owners participate in their own showings, says Tom Goddeeris, GRDC executive director.
“The visitors get to see the neighbors and talk to them, get to know them,” he says.
About 400 people registered on-site for the open house in 2015, and 2016 numbers weren’t expected to decrease, despite the unseasonable cold.
“What we’re seeing in our neighborhood is that demand for houses just keeps going up,” Goddeeris adds.
Like the Marquezes, Adama and Kailyn Zoure turned out for the open house with their children, 2-year-old twins Elijah and Isaiah. The family rents in Grandmont Rosedale and Kailyn’s grandmother is a long-time resident, so they’re familiar with the community.
“There are nice homes, because I drive around and see them all the time, and I know what I’m interested in,” says Kailyn. “We need a lot of yard space, so as long as there’s something to fit our requirements, we’re game.”
Adama calls the plan to move from renting to ownership a mutually beneficial arrangement between his family and the city.
“Contrary to rent, you pay less when you buy a house,” he says. “It’s a buying market now, so why not try to invest in Detroit?”