Four Resilient Black Women Transform $75,000 Real Estate Investment into Million-Dollar Success Story

Souring property value has made it possible for four Black women in Washington, D.C., to turn a 1986 apartment building purchase into a $1 million success.

Three women in their 70s and one 97-year-old woman jointly acquired a $75,000 home in the Park View neighborhood, The Washington Post reported. Each worked jobs where they earned less than $15,000 a year.

Photo by Expect Best:

The building is a six-unit complex nestled in northwest D.C., situated north of the National Mall.

According to Redfin, homes in the region featuring six bedrooms are listed in the range of half a million to a million dollars.

The four women have not yet sold their apartment complex. However, according to Noelle-Kristine Spencer, a realtor from TTR Sotheby’s International Realty experienced in selling comparable properties in the area, the building could fetch between $1 million and $2 million. Spencer, who is working with the women, is amazed by their commitment, saying, “I didn’t really realize what I walked into.”

There is no information on if the building has been listed or not.

“This is such a success story. The fact that you’re still together, through thick and thin, and through all the housing crises,” the realtor continued.

How It All Began

In 1967, when the neighborhood was plagued by drug users, a woman by the name of Earlie Hendricks, who today is 97, decided to live in an apartment building in the area despite the neighborhood’s condition. The arrival of tenants and soon-to-be friends Joanne Jenkins in 1971, Janice Washington in 1972, and Bettie Perry in 1983 assembled what was to come.

Rent in their day was less than $90 —$89.50.

With the help of Hendricks’ oldest sister, Maud Patterson, and a then-Howard University student, Timothy Harmon, the four women bought the apartment building after its previous owner sold it.

Without money for a lawyer, they asked University Legal Services for help. The nonprofit convinced the city to loan them $46,780 for buying the building, only payable if they sold the property within five years. The city also gave $50,000 for renovations, repayable over 20 years at 3 percent interest.

For more than 40 years, these women juggled daily commutes to their jobs and returned home to tackle maintenance, essentially treating it as a second job. Now, having nurtured generations of children within those walls, they are genuinely ready to move forward.

“I’m ready to go,” said Jenkins, whose niece now also lives in an apartment in the building, The Post reported. “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.”

The process wasn’t easy.

“It was like a second job,” Washington said, describing how she and her partners would manage the responsibilities of working full-time jobs and government offices to sign checks and paperwork. 

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

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