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4 Black Women Purchased A D.C. Apartment Building For $75K in 1986, Now It May Be Worth More Than $1M

According to The Washington Post, four women jumped at the chance to purchase a Washington D.C. apartment building for $75,000 in 1986 when the owners wanted to sell.

Today, the women are planning to sell the unit that has become the landing place for their sisterhood, which began decades ago.

“Never, did we, as a group, imagine owning this building,” said Janice Washington, one of the four women who were able to purchase the building despite earning less than $15,000 a year, thanks to the help of a local nonprofit and the D.C. government.

Washington, alongside Earlie Hendricks, Joanne Jenkins, and Bettie Perry own the D.C. building, which is a six-unit complex that sits in the Northwest Washington neighborhood.

Per the original Washington Post article, Maud Patterson, Hendricks’s older sister, as well as Howard University student Timothy Harmon contributed to the purchase at the time. But they no longer live in the building.

Each of the remaining women occupies a unit in the building, and they have been fortunate to stand the test of time despite seeing people pushed out of the area by housing costs. They’ve supported each other through deaths and illnesses in their own respective families, and more. 

The group has witnessed the birth of their own children and then later on, their grandchildren, but one thing has always remained the same — their love for one another.

“We have been a family,” Washington noted. “There’s nothing we haven’t done together.”

After watching the neighborhood, and the building, go through changes for nearly 40 years, the women have collectively decided to sell the building. Noelle-Kristine Spencer of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty notes that similar properties have sold in the same area for more than $1 million, per the outlet. In fact, she recalls another edifice recently sold for roughly $2 million.

“I didn’t realize what I walked into,” Spencer said, while sitting among the women. “This is such a success story. The fact that you’re still together, through thick and thin, and through all the housing crises.”

As the women continue to grow older in age, they note why they are willing to part ways with the property.

“I’m ready to go,” said Jenkins, who also has a relative living in another unit within the building. “I’m tired of fighting for a parking spot. Now, we have this big opportunity to get something out of all we’ve put in.”

Prior to retirement, all four of the women maintained full-time jobs all while managing the building, which Washington recalls being a second job.

“We went to every meeting the government held,” Hendricks added. “We used to go to Southeast, Northeast, everywhere.”

Once the building is sold, Hendricks, Perry, and Washington all plan to move into a senior housing complex in D.C.

Jenkins, on the other hand, hopes to find a one-story house in Maryland.

“I know it’s going to be a happy ending for us all,” Washington said. “The thing is, I’m not ready for the ending.”



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