Serial Entrepreneur Launches Black American Homeownership Movement for Wealth Creation
Gary O. Shelton shares his insights on being black in the United States and creating wealth despite racial barriers.
DETROIT – During Black History Month, Gary O. Shelton launches WOW-With Ownership Wealth to bridge the racial divide in homeownership. In September 2021, Gary and his business partner, Herbert J. Strather, at Strather Academy launched the Black Wealth Matters Virtual Summit with Dr. Boyce Watkins Black Business School. Gary says that “just owning a home is the start of wealth creation for the average black American.”
After 45 years of acquiring businesses, launching startups, triggering 450 buy/fix and flip trades. And over the past two years, coaching the next generation of real estate developers, Gary wants his legacy to be that he helped over a million black renters become homeowners. Gary further explains that “for black Americans, 64% of our net worth comes from real estate, while only 39% of white household wealth comes from real estate. Thus, the value of real estate is vital to the accumulation of wealth by black Americans. Specifically, the increase in value over time, called appreciation, is vital to the accumulation of wealth by black Americans.
Supporting Black American Wealth Creation
Under Gary’s leadership, it’s no surprise that the WOW movement worked hard on proactive community outreach and collaboration with stakeholders. He says, “Making a positive impact in our communities requires collaboration with like-minded people, real estate contractors, licensed real estate brokers, contractors, churches, non-profit organizations, insurance companies, lenders, community development corporations, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and government. We have been the poorest, sickest, and most closed-in group in the United States for far too long. Together we will change the paradigm of our community.
He continues, “For example, we work with Down Payment Assistance, Inc., a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. Our WOW.FundMyHome.org Down Payment Assistance Grants help homebuyers overcome what is usually their biggest obstacle to buying a home; lack of down payment coupled with high debt. Even though renters can easily afford a mortgage payment, renters tend to shy away from homeownership because of the financial hardship they think they will be going through; instead, they continue to be burdened with rising rental costs and their inability to save for a down payment.
Fortunately, “Find My Home” is designed to help you with the funds you need for the down payment and closing costs, or on a case-by-case basis to pay off existing debt. “Fund My Home” reduces this financial pressure by providing homebuyers with the funds they need to close. And the good news is that first-time homebuyer down payment assistance grants aren’t limited to first-time homebuyers. The program provides down payment assistance to all homebuyers with approved mortgages, with no income restrictions.
Credit is essential
There is a “credit gap” between black and white Americans, and this prevents black Americans from building wealth. To bridge the gap, the WOW Movement is working with United Credit Education Service to help homebuyers with credit repair, budgeting, debt repayment, savings goals and other financial matters. We know that the median wealth of white families is 6.7 times greater than the median wealth of black families. And we know that in 2016, the Institute for Policy Studies found that it will take the average black family 228 years to reach the same level of wealth as white families. What is not as well known is how credit and the credit reporting system perpetuates the wealth gap.
The Urban Institute found that more than 50% of white households have a FICO credit score above 700, compared to just 21% of black households. But even when credit scores are equal, discrimination can still tip the scales. In 2012, a study found that black borrowers with a FICO credit score of 660 were three times more likely to be offered a higher mortgage interest rate than white people with the same FICO credit score of 660. in 2011, Bank of America paid $335 million in a lawsuit related to black and Hispanic borrowers paying more fees and interest than white borrowers with similar credit profiles and Wells Fargo & Co. agreed to pay $175 million to resolve allegations he accused Black Americans and Hispanics raised rates and fees on mortgages even as they qualified for better deals during the housing boom.
Gary says, “WOW won’t let credit issues stop you from becoming a homeowner. Anyone who wants to own a home can use our rent-to-own program until we are able to resolve the credit issue that is preventing them from getting approved for a mortgage.
Real estate investors
WOW is working with one of Gary’s companies, EZ Financial Group, LLC, to provide real estate investors with 125% LTV financing when they purchase and totally renovate a property that a tenant will buy to own. This exclusive financing program allows real estate investors to acquire and totally renovate homes without having to shell out any money as they make the homes available for purchase by WOW tenants. Additionally, WOW provides every real estate investor with a turnkey solution by finding up to four off-market homes per year, managing the renovation process and preparing end buyers.
Banking and the Racial Wealth Gap
Historically, banks have discriminated against black contractors and homebuyers. And black-owned banks are too small to fill the void. That’s why WOW is launching the BYOB-Be Your Own Bank fund strategy.
There is a saying, “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who pay interest and those who earn it. Gary says, “In fact, there is a third type of person in the world, a person who understands leverage and is willing to pay interest to earn even more interest.
The principles of the WOW BYOB fund:
- They provided people with tax-free liquidity – access to their money – for everything from business capital and children’s education to charitable donations and emergency funds.
- They provided protection against market volatility when using this financial vehicle.
- They have provided performance rates that can consistently outperform other traditional vehicles.
- Plus, they provided valuable tax advantages and, upon death, the ability to grow the money and pass it on to heirs tax-free.
- When we share the benefits of this approach, people invariably call it “a miracle.”
“The WOW movement encourages black Americans to be LAID – Legacy And Impact Driven. When we use this slogan on social media: parents always tell their children to be “good”. We ask parents to BEE GOOD – Black Economic Empowerment,” says Gary
WOW uses software and artificial intelligence (AI) to track marketing efforts, locate off-market discount homes, manage contractors and the financing process. Gary says, “We provide our community with the state-of-the-art home buying process.
“Together we win.” – Gary O. Shelton
Company Name: With Property Wealth, LLC
Contact: Gary O. Shelton
E-mail: Send an email
Call: (213) 858-6612
Address:15400 Grand River, 2nd Floor
State: michigan 4227
Country: United States