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Serial Entrepreneur Launches Black-American Wealth Building Homeownership Movement

Gary O. Shelton shares his insights on being Black in the U.S. and creating wealth in spite of racial barriers.

DETROIT – During Black History Month, Gary O. Shelton is launching WOW-With Ownership Wealth to close the racial homeownership gap. In September 2021 Gary and his business partner, Herbert J. Strather, at Strather Academy initiated the Black Wealth Matters Virtual Summit with Dr. Boyce Watkins’ Black Business School. Gary says, “simply owning a home is the beginning of wealth creation for the average Black-American.”

After 45 years of bringing about the acquisition of businesses, launching business startups, triggering 450 buy/ fix and flip transactions. And the past two years coaching the next generation of real estate developers, Gary wants his legacy to be that he assisted over one million Black renters in becoming homeowners. Gary further explains, “for Black-Americans 64% of our net worth is from real estate holdings, whereas only 39% of White household wealth is driven by real estate holdings. So, the value of real estate is vital for Black-American wealth accumulation. More specifically, the increase in value over time, which is called appreciation, is vital to Black-American wealth accumulation.”

Supporting Black-American Wealth Creation

Under Gary’s leadership, it is no surprise that the WOW Movement has been working hard on proactive community outreach and collaboration with stakeholders. He says, “having positive impact in our communities requires collaboration with people of like mind, real estate entrepreneurs, licensed real estate brokers, contractors, churches, non-profit organizations, insurance companies, lenders, Community Development Corporations, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), and government.”  We have been the poorest, sickest, and most locked up group in the U.S. for far too long. Together, we will shift the paradigm in our community.”

He continues, “For example, we are collaborating with Down Payment Assistance, Inc., a 501(C)(3) Non-Profit Organization. Our down payment assistance grants help home buyers with what is typically their biggest obstacle to buying a home; lack of down payment coupled with high debt.” Even though renters could easily afford a mortgage payment, renters tend to avoid homeownership due to the financial strain they believe they’re going to incur; instead, they continue to be burdened with rising rental costs and their inability to save for a down-payment.

Fortunately, “Fund My Home” is designed to help you with the funds you need for Down-Payment and Closing Costs, or on a case-by-case basis to pay down existing debt. “Fund My Home” reduces this financial strain by providing homebuyers the funds they need to close. And the good news is that the First-Time Homebuyer Down Payment Assistance Grants are not limited to First-Time Homebuyers. The program provides down payment assistance to all mortgage approved homebuyers without income restrictions.

Credit is Essential

There’s a ‘credit gap’ between Black and White Americans, and it’s holding Black-Americans back from building wealth.  To close the gap, the WOW Movement is collaborating with United Credit Education Service to assist homebuyers with credit restoration, budgeting, debt payoff, savings goals, and other financial matters. We know that the median wealth for white families is 6.7 times greater than the median wealth for Black families. And we know that in 2016, the Institute for Policy Studies found that it will take 228 years for the average Black family to attain the same level of wealth as white families. What isn’t as commonly known is how credit and the credit-scoring system perpetuate the wealth gap. 

The Urban Institute found that more than 50% of white households have a FICO credit score above 700, compared with only 21% of Black households. But even when credit scores are equal, discrimination can still tip the scales. In 2012, one study found that Black borrowers with a 660 FICO credit score were three times more likely to be offered a higher mortgage interest rate than whites with the same 660 FICO credit score. Also in 2011, Bank of America paid $335 million in a lawsuit related to Black and Hispanic borrowers paying more in fees and interest than white borrowers with similar credit profiles and Wells Fargo & Co agreed to pay $175 million to resolve allegations it charged Black-Americans and Hispanics higher rates and fees on mortgages even when they qualified for better deals during the housing boom.

Gary says, “WOW will not let credit problems stop you from becoming a homeowner. Anyone desirous of owning a home can utilize our Lease-With-Option-to-Buy program until we’re able to solve the credit problem that’s stopping them from getting approved for a mortgage.”

Real Estate Investors

WOW collaborates with one of Gary’s businesses, EZ Financial Group, LLC, to provide real estate investors 125% LTV financing when they’re buying and totally renovating a property that a renter will buy to become a homeowner. This proprietary financing program enables real estate investors to acquire and totally renovate homes with no-money-out-of-pocket as they make the homes available for purchase by WOW renters. Also, WOW provides each real estate investor a turn-key solution by finding up to four off-market discounted homes per year, managing the renovation process, and preparing the end buyers.

Banking And The Racial Wealth Gap

Historically, banks have discriminated against Black entrepreneurs and homebuyers. And Black-owned banks have been too small to fill the void. Therefore, WOW is launching the BYOB-Be Your Own Bank fund strategy.

There’s a saying, “there are two kinds of people in the world-those who pay interest, and those who earn it. Gary says, “actually, there’s a third kind of person in the world, one who understands leverage and is willing to pay some interest to earn even more interest.

The WOW BYOB fund principles:

  • They’ve provided people with tax-free liquidity-access to their cash-for everything from business capital and children’s educations to charitable giving and emergency funds.
  • They’ve provided safety from market volatility when using this financial vehicle.
  • They’ve provided rates of return that can consistently outperform other traditional vehicles.
  • Plus, they’ve provided valuable tax advantages, and upon death, the opportunity for money to blossom and transfer to heirs’ income tax free.
  • When we share the advantages of this approach, people invariably call it “a miracle.”

“The WOW Movement is encouraging Black-Americans to get LAID–Legacy And Impact Driven. When on social media we use this tagline: Parents always tell their kids to “be good. We’re asking parents to BEE GOOD — Black Economic Empowerment,” says Gary

WOW uses software and artificial Intelligence (AI) that helps keep track of marketing efforts, locate off-market discounted homes, manage contractors, and the financing process. Gary says, “we make the state-of-the-art homebuying process available to our community.”

“Together we win.” – Gary O. Shelton

Media Contact
Company Name: With Ownership Wealth, LLC
Contact Person: Gary O. Shelton
Email: Send Email
Phone: (213) 858-6612
Address:15400 Grand River, 2nd Floor
City: Detroit
State: Michigan 4227
Country: United States

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