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Hayat Norimine
By Hayat Norimine October 23, 2020

Facebook post misstates number of Biden-owned properties

If Your Time is short

• Biden owns two of the four homes shown in the image. 

• Forbes last year estimated their combined value at $4 million. 

• The Bidens’ recent income from book deals and speaking engagements far exceeds his salary as a government official.

Theories about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s properties, and how he paid for them, continue to circulate on social media, often linking his wealth to foreign entities, without evidence.

President Donald Trump circulated a few himself at the Oct. 22 presidential debate.

"Your other brother made a fortune, and it’s all through you, Joe," Trump said, after claiming Biden’s brother made millions in Iraq. "And they say you get some of it. You do live very well. You have houses all over the place."

One such claim appears on Facebook with a viral image that shows satellite photos of four properties, and Biden’s photo in the middle. 

The post says Biden has four homes, ranging in value from $3 million to $7.5 million "on a $200k a year salary," reads the Facebook post accompanying the image. 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

The Bidens own two properties, according to his campaign and several news reports about their  estate: a primary residence in Wilmington, Del., and a vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Del. 

They’re both shown in the image circulating on Facebook. Forbes estimated those two properties to be worth a combined $4 million last year. 

Featured Fact-check

The other two properties in the image aren’t owned by Biden. Biden sold one of them, a DuPont mansion in Delaware pictured in the top-right corner, in 1996. The fourth property, a house in McLean, Va., is a rental. 

PolitiFact previously debunked a claim by the president’s son Eric Trump, who miscaptioned the DuPont mansion as Biden’s home in a tweet that questioned the former vice president’s source of income. Biden bought that house for $185,000 in 1975, then sold it for $1.2 million in 1996 after major renovations.

The McLean, Va., home, which Biden rents, was sold to a venture capitalist for $4.25 million in 2016, The Washington Post reported

The Facebook post also makes a misleading reference to Biden’s income. Biden’s salary as a senator varied from $42,500 a year in 1973, when he began serving in the Senate, to $169,300 by the time he left the chamber in January 2009. As vice president for eight years, he earned up to $230,700 a year, while his wife, Jill Biden, continued to teach. In 2016, his last year in office, the couple reported an adjusted gross income of $396,456.

But after he left office, both Bidens wrote books, and his financial disclosure form lists dozens of speaking engagements and book-tour events that typically earned him five- and six-figure payments each. The couple, who file their taxes jointly, reported adjusted gross income of about $11 million in 2017.

Our ruling 

The Facebook post claimed that Biden owns four properties, which range from values of $3 million to $7.5 million, on a salary of $200,000 a year. 

Biden owns two of the four properties pictured. He rents a third property in the photo, and the fourth property was a mansion he renovated and sold in 1996. 

Biden’s recent earnings from book deals and speaking engagements were far larger than his salary as a government official. 

We rate this claim Mostly False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, Oct. 17, 2020

Rev.com, "Donald Trump & Joe Biden Final Presidential Debate Transcript 2020," accessed Oct. 23, 2020

Google Maps, accessed Oct. 23, 2020

PolitiFact, "Eric Trump misidentifies mansion as Biden’s," accessed Oct. 23, 2020

Wall Street Journal, "In His Own Words, Joe Biden Was ‘Seduced by Real Estate,’" accessed Oct. 19, 2020

Twitter post, Oct. 17, 2020

The New York Times, "An Everyman on the Trail, With Perks at Home," accessed Oct. 23, 2020

New Castle County Delaware Parcel Search, accessed Oct. 19, 2020

DelawareOnline.com, "Search Delaware property records statewide," accessed Oct. 23, 2020

United States Senate, "Senate Salaries," accessed Oct. 20, 2020

The Washington Post, "Once the poorest senator, ‘Middle Class Joe’ has reaped millions since he left the vice presidency," accessed Oct. 23, 2020

PolitiFact, Fact-checking Joe Biden’s claim about his own income, accessed Oct. 20, 2020

Forbes, "Here’s How Much 2020 Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Is Worth," accessed Oct. 23, 2020

LeadStories, "Fact Check: Biden Does NOT Own Four Homes Worth Millions and Funded by Foreign Entities," accessed Oct. 23, 2020

USA Today, "Fact check: Biden owns 2 of the 4 homes pictured in a viral meme," accessed Oct. 23, 2020

Sussex County Delaware Property Records Search, accessed Oct. 23, 2020

ClustrMaps.com, accessed Oct. 23, 2020

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Facebook post misstates number of Biden-owned properties

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