Homeowners Who Are In Debt Yet happy

April 25, 2016

Right now, if you had to spend $400,000 on a home that was appraised at $300,000 would you consider it to be a good deal? Would you be happy watching as an extra $100,000 drained from your bank account? Most people wouldn’t, but there are at least two people that, essentially, did just that and say they are genuinely happy.

Amy Haimerl and Karl Kaebnick, a married couple decided to move to Detroit and ended up putting over $400,000 into a 3,000- square-foot, 102-year-old home that was recently appraised for just $300,000. And yet, as The New York Timesreports, they say they are 100 percent satisfied and happy with their decision.

This whole process, one that is documented in Haimerl’s new book called Detroit Hustle, began when the couple purchased a home that was lacking wires, radiators, doors, and pipes for $35,000, liquidating Haimerl’s retirement account to close without a mortgage. After that, they were left with $110,000 from Kaebnick’s accounts to make the home habitable.

What they ended up spending, not including the purchase price of the home, was closer to $400,000. The couple borrowed $75,000 from Haimerl’s father and $40,000 from her grandparents and aunt. Meanwhile, Kaebnick’s family gave them appliances for a wedding gift and the rest of the money came from a $25,000 Lending Club loan, $50,000 in USAA personal loans, and credit card debt. After the work was completed they got a mortgage and used it to repay many of their debts, but they still owe their contractor $80,000.

Their hope is, despite not wanting to talk about it for fear of angering longtime residents who don’t take kindly to their neighborhoods being treated like investments, that the neighborhood will follow the same path many less desirable neighborhoods in New York or San Francisco took. Whether you view Haimerl and Kaebnick as misguided, financially irresponsible, or just a couple of dreamers, they say they are happy with their purchase.

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