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The cost of demolishing a home in Detroit

Hampton's Detroit home was set on fire by a former tenant.

dream hampton is a nationally known author best known for "Decoded," her biography on rapper Jay-Z.

How much does it cost to demolish a house? In some cases, it costs more than a house is actually worth; a fact author dream hampton knows all too well.

Hampton’s childhood home in Detroit was recently burned down. Her family bought the home for $17,000 in the late 1970s during "white flight." She said the total cost to tear the house down will be more than $10,000 -- far more than the torched structure is worth.

“I doubt that the house held its value for five years, after that I would say that it only declined in value. At this point, houses in the neighborhood could be bought for $2,500 -- and $2,500 is about what it would take to remove what's almost certainly the asbestos in the house," said Hampton.

Hampton said her thoughts on vacant homes in the city have changed. 

“The vacant houses in Detroit are a huge part of the blight here. And I think that I had judged people who had these vacant homes, landlords who had these vacant homes sitting in all kinds of stages of disrepair. But now I understand how expensive it is to demolish a home.”

Hampton gave us a list of some of what she'll have to pay for:

-Shutting off services like gas, water and electricity

-Dumpsters and landfill space

-Insurance and payroll

-Asbestos removal

Hampton wrote a detailed piece about her childhood home in the Detroit News.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

dream hampton is a nationally known author best known for "Decoded," her biography on rapper Jay-Z.

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