$500 dream house demolished by mistake

An artist couple who bought a house at a tax auction in Detroit thought they could rehab it for $8,000 -- until they discovered it had been transformed into a pile of rubble.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jan 7, 2013 12:22PM
© Ricardo Thomas/Detriot News/APKristine Diven and Micho Detronik thought they had found their dream house in Detroit, or at least as close to a dream house as you can get for $500.


But when they went to the home last month to secure it and take some measurements, all they found was a pile of rubble. The city had demolished their home, as well as 11 others an investor had bought at a tax sale.


"Instead of taking measurements for the boards we needed, we found our house in a pile," Diven told The Detroit News. "When we drove up, I thought what I was seeing couldn't be right. "In the past weeks, it's almost like being in mourning."

Post continues below

The 12 houses had been sold by the Wayne County treasurer in a tax foreclosure auction. But before the deeds were recorded, the homes were razed. Detroit is full of empty houses, and state and city officials have been working to demolish homes that aren’t wanted or are dangerous.

County and state officials have apologized, refunded the couple's $500, said they won’t be responsible for demolition and cleanup costs and offered them a chance at other abandoned houses that are available. But, so far, they have not found anything comparable to the house that was torn down.

The house was in the Morningside neighborhood of Detroit, adjacent to the affluent suburb of Grosse Pointe. The two artists had also bought the adjoining lot, with thoughts of creating a community garden. You can see a photo at The Huffington Post of what the house looked like before demolition.

"We were blown away that we could get a home like that," Diven, a photographer who owns a gallery, told the Model D online magazine.  "It had a new roof. The basement had no cracks in the foundation. There was no water damage. All it needed was new electric and two new tubs. We estimated it would take $8,000 to get it up in working order."



Jan 19, 2013 5:32PM
These decisions are ultimately decided by the dumbest strata of humanity...  Politicians.     Today, almost all problems known in history have been exasperated by  politicians ... Very few solved. On the other hand, a statesman is a great person and imo, worth a million times what all the worth of all the politicians combined are....  All my opinion.
Jan 12, 2013 10:24PM
Wow Detroit will never be my list, Bad Bad  persons running that city and you want them to be responsible for clean up! ****s!!
Jan 12, 2013 5:58PM
If I lived in Detroit, my "dream house" would be as far away from there as I could get.
Jan 12, 2013 12:02PM
The place has always considered me to be a "freak" because I'm right-brained and not interested in cars
Jan 12, 2013 10:38AM
Jan 12, 2013 9:50AM

just stupid, the cuty chould rebuild it


Jan 12, 2013 9:47AM
one thing why would they take the $500.00 back why didn't they sue the city of Detroit and rebuild the house?  That is what  would have done.  The city sold them a house for 500 dollars then demolished it.  Well they got it from a tax sale but the house was theirs and demolished by mistake, the city should be made to rebuild it.
Jan 12, 2013 9:36AM
I think the new owners should be compensated the real value of the property before it was torn down not what they bought it for.............
Jan 12, 2013 9:29AM
The articles headline is BS. The house was NOT demo'd by mistake it was SOLD by mistake. Please don't share the story if you aren't going to bother to get it right.
Jan 12, 2013 8:40AM

So, let me get this straight....., The city created a drug infested, crime ridden, welfare state and was surprised anyone would buy it?  Then they tore it down? 

I hated Detroit 30 years ago when I was there.  Get rid of the left wing LibTards and you may be able to build a decent place to live. Until the City of Detroit makes the effort to rid themselvesof the Crackheads, Drug Dealers, and "Gubamnt" Free Loaders, you will be screwed forever....

Exclusionary zoning is a curse in the United States. You should be allowed to live in a home of your own choosing on any residential lot that you can afford to buy. I moved from the Detroit area after losing my job in Oct 2008. I moved my singlewide 300 miles and paid $12,500 for a quarter acre lot because I was allowed to place my singlewide on this lot and have an affordable retirement. I was paying $3,700/yr in lot rent to a mobile home park. Now I'm paying $662/yr in property taxes. The move cost just under $10,000. I've tried to convince builders of manufactured housing to use formaldehyde free building materials because the formaldehyde is the only thing I don't like about my singlewide. Safety is my main concern no matter where I live. That is Detroit's number one problem. If you can lower the cost of just plain living then you lower the poverty rate and thus lower the crime. Bottom line, end exclusionary zoning so you can sell all these empty lots and start collecting some property taxes. Older people tend not to commit crime so cater to retirees who need affordability in retirement. Many people would like to retire sooner rather than later so there's another market. Safety and affordability can help Detroit.
Jan 12, 2013 7:58AM
don't blame detroit for trying to rid itself of burned out crack dens that were once beautiful homes of working folks 80-100 years ago...try blaming politicians who have fed inner city minorities welfare generation after generation to secure their votes.johnsons great society in 65 was the beginning of the downfall of this country.feed people welfare all their lives and this is what you get.
Jan 12, 2013 7:17AM

Why weren't the "DEED's" put on hold? If they were "SOLD" why were they still on or got on to the demolition list? When you buy property like anything else there is a reciept...shouldn't there be a cross referencing system either by hand or a "FLAG" in there computer system with the property tax number or Lot&block noting the "SALES" reciept number?

Lots of communication going on in Detroit...this isn't the first time either.

Last year there was a guy who bought one of these properties and was fixing it up.

Think he had his 5 kids and wife waiting to move in but time and money and permits were holding him up, he went to go work on it and the city got the addresses mixed up and flattened the whole block.

Apparently some of there stuff was in it still packed, supplies for fixing the house and all his tools...gone!

Detriot said Whoops...sorry our bad....UGGGG

I don't know why anyone would want to live in Detroit anyway, I went there once and vowed to never ever go back...disgusting place all the way around!

None the less I feel bad for this couple, next time post a copy of the reciept on the door and send a copy to which ever portion of the city does the demolitions (certified) tell them it's bought to make sure it gets off the dreaded list! Go to the county clerks office and property appraisers office and file the paper work yourself to ensure it's done timely. I might even be tempted to put a big realtor sign out front with "SOLD" to catch the attention of any city worker and make them think first...assuming they read?  Because Detroit ain't gonna apparently!! Heck one office to another doesn't even talk to one another?    

Jan 12, 2013 6:45AM
If a home is being offered for auction fo taxes any demolition schedle for it should be suspended, period.  And if a home is so close to having such value and structurally sound why is it on a demoliion schedule at all.  Seems there isn't mush planning or thought going into any of this.
Jan 12, 2013 6:20AM
Now That is a Sad Story.....No Happy ending here.......
Jan 12, 2013 4:35AM
 A condemned house set for demolition doesn't change status until the owners contact Codes requesting repair permits - 
Jan 12, 2013 3:19AM
Once again another **** in office......
Jan 12, 2013 2:22AM
 Another shame on government people on what their job really is!  Acceptable waste is costing us to much money and self improvement intent.
Jan 12, 2013 1:17AM
"County and state officials said they won’t be responsible for demolition and cleanup costs " Kinda makes me all warm and fuzzy knowing there are such compassionate officials out there!
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