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How a property developer is making money by taking housing vouchers

This is a great article about accepting Section 8, in Washington, DC a voucher can OVER $5,000 per month. The landlords that were smart enough to accommodate these GREAT tenants aren’t worrying about their tenants paying their rent, IT IS BEING PAID! Don’t discriminate against these renters especially in these trying times.

By Cari Shane

May 16, 2020

Asamoah calls his properties “HGTV grade.”
Asamoah calls his properties “HGTV grade.”Courtesy of Joseph Asamoah

Joseph Asamoah was shocked when a potential renter with a Section 8 voucher came to look at his turn-of-the-century Washington, D.C., row house and snubbed him. 

It was 1996; D.C. was in a recession. Crime, a drug epidemic, and dysfunctional government services sent thousands fleeing the District. After a neighbor was murdered on their doorstep, Asamoah and his wife joined the mass exodus and moved to the Maryland suburbs. Born in Ghana, Asamoah had moved to D.C. a decade prior from England, where he was raised. Believing the capital city would eventually “come back,” he listed the house for rent. 

“She said, ‘Well, it doesn’t have a jacuzzi. It doesn’t have stainless steel appliances. Where are your hardwood floors?’” says Asamoah, recalling the conversation with the voucher holder at his row house in Columbia Heights, an enclave of D.C. where single-family homes are now selling in the millions. Asamoah purchased the house in 1989 for $47,000. “A voucher holder with a net worth of zero was telling me that where I lived was not worthy of her and her family.”  

His rental property was competing with high-end renovations. These renovations were intended to be house flips, but no one was buying, so the properties were put on the rental market. Renters got used to bells and whistles.

The encounter led Asamoah to develop a real estate strategy that has inoculated the 59-year-old from economic shocks, like the current downturn caused by the pandemic. It’s earned him a nice portfolio—32 single-family homes in the Washington, D.C., area, one of the highest-priced housing markets in the U.S. 

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