Why local 'House Hunters' chose Flint — 'For us, it's home'

Matt and Katie Bach are soon-to-be Flint residents. Their journey to buying a home in Flint is being featured in an upcoming episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters,” the first time the show has filmed in Flint. Here they share why they decided to move to the city.  

FLINT, Michigan—“Why are you buying a home and moving to Flint?”

Realtor Jonathan Schlinker (left) helped Mundy Township residents Matt and Katie Bach in their search for a home in Flint.It’s a question my wife, Katie, and I hear a lot now that we decided to sell our home in Grand Blanc (Mundy Township to be exact) and relocate to the City of Flint. And we suspect we will get that question a lot more now that we agreed to film our house selection process for an episode for HGTV’s “House Hunters.” (We finished filming recently and it should air sometime in early 2020.)

Sometimes that question — “Why Flint?” — is followed by some variation of: “Are you nuts?”

The short answer: We love Flint. For us, it’s home.

We chose Flint even though it doesn’t shorten either of our substantial commutes: Katie works in Lansing as director of communications for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority and I work in Ann Arbor as director of communications for the Michigan Municipal League, a non-profit organization that represents Michigan’s cities, villages and urban townships.

In fact, when we decided to sell our long-time home in Grand Blanc, we looked at locations that made more sense in terms of shortening our drive times. 

We searched in Lansing, East Lansing, Howell, Brighton, Walled Lake, Ann Arbor, Pinckney, and even Lake Odessa. And It was not an easy decision to leave Mundy Township. We moved there nearly 20 years ago when we both got jobs at The Flint Journal. It was there we raised our two children, Zach, 25, and Emily, 21, and now our grandson, Emmett, is with us, too. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Genesee County suburbs, but we both recently turned 50 and we were ready to downsize and start the next phase of our lives on a new adventure.

For us, every time we looked at another home outside of the Genesee County area, we felt ourselves pulled back here.
In the simplest of terms, Flint felt like home. We believe living in Flint will be worth continuing our long commutes to work.

It may sound corny to say, but Flint is where our hearts are. Flint is where are friends are. Flint and Genesee County is where we like to go to eat, shop, attend a festival or two or three, watch a live band, see a show, check out a museum, and just hang out.

We could’ve downsized and moved elsewhere in Genesee County, but the city called to us. Katie and I firmly believe in the views that both of our work organizations hold — that Michigan’s cities are economic drivers and that strong downtowns, whether in Flint, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Ann Arbor, Fenton or Flushing — benefit the entire surrounding region and the entire state.

The Michigan Municipal League and other proponents of place-based economic development have found that creating vibrant downtowns, neighborhoods, or public spaces, and improving a community’s quality of life, attracts families and talented workers, and they, in turn, attract new businesses as well as start their own. It’s called placemaking and we’re living proof that it works. It’s the reason we picked Flint.

We realize and understand that Flint still has its challenges and we’re not under any illusion that the city is perfect – no place is. But where there are challenges, we want to be part of the solution.

Flint’s resiliency and passion is inspiring. Flint is in the midst of a turnaround. Take a casual stroll downtown and you’ll see its revival and placemaking at every turn – the newly restored Capitol Theatre, the “FLINT” sign that’s now a selfie magnet in Brush Park, a former bank being turned into a hotel, and new murals all over the city.

The positive energy and revival happening in Flint is a key reason why we’re moving to Flint. We spent many years working in downtown Flint – first while I was a reporter and Katie was an editor at The Flint Journal. We then each spent time working for the Flint Area Convention and Visitors Bureau helping promote Flint. Over our many years in Flint and Genesee County, we’ve seen first-hand the amazing transformation happening due to the city and its supporters embracing the placemaking concept.

We want others to know how incredible Flint is so that maybe they, too, will invest in the city. That’s why we decided to have our journey to find a home in Flint featured on “House Hunters.” We can’t say much more about it until the show airs — but suffice it to say we were very proud to spread the word about Flint.

We love what Flint is, what it represents and where it’s heading. And we want to be part of this positive future. We hope to inspire others to love Flint as much as we do. Just maybe, they’ll invest in Flint too.

P.S. — Look for more about our “House Hunters” experience in a future issue of Flintside. That is a story on its own, and we will be able to share more closer to the air date of the show.
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