Margarita Barry, a renter and entrepreneur extraordinaire, bought her Land Bank and County Auction house to gain a stake in the city on the move. She bought cheap and dug deep into her savings to make it home.
“I bought my property for $6,000 in 2012 near Old Redford, on the northwest edge of the city where I live with my three-year-old daughter, Posey Barry,” says Barry.
She was lucky. The house was already livable and sustained by an amiable tenant. She lived across the street and watched the property come on the market.
“The former owner took me on a tour of the home right after I bought it. I could tell it was already in great condition before stepping foot inside. I’ve put $60,000 into it already, mostly to the exterior,” she says.
The best part was stepping into a neighborhood of white, black, Latinos, young and old, gay and straight, a Detroit kind of neighborhood. A full-service Meijer is nearby, so is the Redford Theater and Motor City Java Café.
But most of Barry’s discretionary income goes to house. Common estimates are spending upwards of three times the purchase price to conduct renovations and upgrades. She bought new windows, roof, siding, bathroom, flooring, paint, and lead removal.
This wasn’t Barry’s first trip to the house-buying rodeo. She previously purchased a house in auction on the same street – a two-family residence. She gave this home to a family member who helped her invest in urban property.
“I would definitely invest again. Old Redford and Brightmoor offer some of the most affordable properties and the neighborhoods are rebounding,” she says.
At the same time, many neighbors have been in the area for 20 years. One woman lives in Paris most of the year and comes home each summer. She believes every investment dollar will come back in value-added.
“My own social venture Block x Block is looking to purchase a property in the neighborhood for our Builder’s Special Artist Residency Program next year,” Barry says.
– Top photo: Margarita Barry and her daughter, Posey. Photos: Paul Engstrom