Wholesaling long vacant properties in the District of Columbia

5 Replies

Hello everyone,

I'm in curious to know if anyone on this forum has had any success wholesaling abandoned properties in the District of Columbia (the City of Washington, DC)? Since I've been studying real estate investing, I started to notice that there are hundreds, if not thousands of abandoned properties all over the city.

After researching the situation a bit, it appears that there some rather complicated government statues in place that make it difficult to go after unclaimed properties, particularly those with deceased owners and no next of kin to claim the properties. The DC govt is issuing liens against the properties for unpaid utilities, property taxes, etc due to the owners being deceased.

Anyone in have an experience with this, namely getting around it? Anyone local, I'm looking for any guidance or mentorship on this...thanks.

Hi Leonard,

You are absolutely correct that the process to acquire unclaimed properties in the District is complicated and time consuming.  The city has a  strong responsibility to seek out potential heirs.  Sold a piece of vacant land (house on it had been removed, with foundation still there) a couple of years ago that my client had bought at the annual tax sale.

That foreclosure process only opened a big can of worms. The previous owners, an LLC, had defaulted on their taxes, because the fraudster who sold it to them had forged a deed (property was long vacant, with incomplete tax records) and illegally conveyed the property to them. Fraudster ending up doing a couple of years of jail time.

Took the better part of 18 months by my client's attorney, to get the various notices placed and traces on possible heirs (of the defrauded, rightful owner) completed and signed off on by a judge to finalize the foreclosure. 

Once clear title was in hand, we sold the land and the buyer/developer began to build on the parcel. 

Longer time frame than expected, but everybody won on this one.  City got their tax money, my seller had a sizable profit, the buyer built a spec house (that went under contract in 7 days) and the neighborhood benefits by the subtraction of a dangerous vacant parcel and the addition of a brand new home!

Similarly, with DC Probate proceedings, the courts are in no hurry to shut out rightful heirs.

Private Real Estate Syndication Team
ATTENTION: Learn the 7 Red Flags for Passive Apartment Investing
Do you want to learn how to know if you are investing with a good operator? Check this out now.
Read Article Now

@Leonard Knight it sounds like you are trying to find a legal process to get the "Abandoned" property from the owners.  Why not track down the owners or heirs and do a deal with them? Tracking down owners is not easy but it can be very lucrative.

@Leonard Knight How is it going? How is your hunt going? I have just moved into the Trinidad area and looking at several abandoned or vacant properties. Have you successfully tracked down, contacted and received feedback from potential sellers?

I am definitely looking to get in the game here but just trying to test the waters and see if it is a long game ie 6 months or longer. What resources have you used?

If you want to have a sit down for coffee, I am game!


Johnny Q