Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vacant Properties on the Chopping Block Wednesday

Tomorrow, DC's Department of Housing and Community Development will shed itself of 18 vacant, government-owned properties at a public auction. The single-family townhouses, multi-family buildings and vacant lots cover neighborhoods in almost every Ward, but take note: not everyone is welcome to bid. Buyers can include only prospective home owners that will occupy the property, non-profits and Certified Business Enterprises (CBE) registered with the District. Buyers must bring a $15,000 deposit to participate in the bidding.

There may be deals in waiting (for the buyer, not for the District taxpayer), given the restrictive qualifications on purchasers. Buyers looking to get in on the Shaw transition can bid on 1713 New Jersey Avenue, NW (pictured), which tax records show sold for just under $300,000 in 2005. Neighboring properties have sold for as much as $750,000 in recent years. A lot at 805 7th Street, NE, near H Street, zoned for residential use, could command some interest given the District Council's recent approval of overhead wires for the future streetcar. Though a buyer could snag a bargain, the buy-in and then the required 10 percent deposit within three days time could be a bit of a deterrent for the do-it-yourself buyer.

The District auctions the properties in the hopes of returning them to the tax roll, creating additional revenue and removing blight. The vacant properties were acquired through negotiated friendly sale, eminent domain, donation, and tax sale foreclosure when owners were "unwilling or unable to maintain their properties." The auction, run by Alex Cooper Auctioneers, will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center tomorrow beginning "promptly" at 2 PM.

Washington, DC real estate development news


Anonymous said...

Would be extremely grateful if someone with a legal and/or construction background could help me clarify the insurance requirements for the winning bidder?

These requirement seem totally ridiculous for an individual trying buy one of these houses to renovate and live in rather than a huge commercial developer. It's article 10 of the agreement the winning bidder signs with the district at closing (page 18 in the link below).


It claims that the "developer" (i.e. individual purchasing the property) must maintain Builder's risk insurance, Auto and Commercial liability insurance of $1 million, workers comp insurance, professional liability insurance, contractor's pollution and legal liability insurance and to name the District as an additional insured under all policies including those of any professional you hire. How could someone afford to do this?? Or am I just reading this wrong and it's only if you hire a contractor?

In my case I would like to buy one of these places and do most of the work myself but I can't imagine the cost and complications of acquiring all these types of insurance and forcing any contractor or any other professional I hire to do work to carry them and name the District as an insured party.

Thanks for your help!!

Anonymous said...

The contract allows for most of the insurance requirements in the contract to be assigned to other parties who are licensed in their profession. Contractors, architects or engineers hold policies for everything listed with the exception of Builder's Risk Insurance.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your help -

I planned to GC the project myself so would it be sufficient to only require the architect and subs to carry the insurance (with the exception of the builder's risk insurance) or in that case would I need to carry all the named policies.

Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

There really were no deals to be had here and pitting homeowners against investors is not a good idea in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have the records of what the houses ended up going for?

Anonymous said...

All the prices are posted on the Auctioneers Website, www.alexcooper.com

Anonymous said...

All the results are posted on the auctioneers website, www.alexcooper.com

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