Doug Guthrie / The Detroit News
CANTON TOWNSHIP -- Neighbors were surprised and grateful this weekend when a crew descended on the community eyesore as though they came from one of those home makeover television shows.
In a well-kept neighborhood of $250,000 homes, the four-bedroom colonial at Saltz and Manton, across from Flodin Park, had become a controversial mess.
The owner went to jail following a drug raid that stunned neighbors. His family members stayed as long as they could, but like so many other homes in Metro Detroit, it went into bank foreclosure and stood vacant for almost two years.
The home was a business purchase for Marissa and John Sarnecky, owners of Canton Construction. In an economy with a 137 percent increase in foreclosures this year to 35,041 in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Livingston counties, they intend to fix it and "flip" the home for quick resale or rental.
But they know there is little chance of getting as much out of the home as they will put into its repairs. The median home price in Metro Detroit fell 10.5 percent in the third quarter this year to $154,100, the largest drop in the country according to the National Association of Realtors.
Until the economy improves, the Sarnecky's have a couple lined up to rent the house. So for now, the project is about the challenge of doing it quickly and helping the neighborhood, said Marissa Sarnecky. "We live less than a mile away, and we take walks past the park all the time. Our kids have played soccer and hockey at the park," John Sarnecky said. "We've watched the place go downhill, and we wanted to do something."
Several residents with an urge to mend their neighborhood said they also tried to buy the house, but found the deal too expensive. The place was so deteriorated it didn't have a working kitchen or bathrooms. No mortgage company would touch it. The $140,000 sale had to be for cash.
The Sarnecky's closed Friday. Many of their 20 workers were on site by Saturday. Monday, the backyard stockade fence was being spray-stained and measurements were taken for carpet and new ceramic tile.
"They were up on the roof until after dark," said Jorge Vazquez, a 21-year resident of the neighborhood. "Wow, it was great. It was amazing. They replaced the roof, boards, shingles and all, in one day."
Inside, walls and ceilings were stripped to bare wooden studs. New plasterboard was nailed up. Two big dumpsters in the driveway were filled with refuse and hauled away.
"It's wonderful. No neighborhood wants an eyesore like that and so many of us tried to do something but couldn't," said next door neighbor Ann Knuth.
You can reach Doug Guthrie at (734) 462-2674 or email@example.com.