The real estate industry has captured the attention of Black Americans as they have begun investing in hopes it will positively impact their lives, which is pivotal when discussing the wealth gap between the Black community and other races.
When people imagine the American dream, owning a home with a white picket fence is usually included. There are several options for people who want money and want to invest. One of the best-proven ways has been through real estate. The housing market is more predictable, and they can get a return on investment in multiple ways. Last year, the profitable business market raked in $514.10 billion, according to Statista. With such an overflow of money, an investor in the industry can achieve their wildest dreams.
Unfortunately, the reality of home ownership in Black communities has differed significantly due to the United States’ housing history. It hasn’t reflected the picture it’s painted since racism was a significant part of the infrastructure. Discrimination practices enforced by the government and real estate industry stemming from racism made it harder for Black Americans to purchase homes nationwide, Forbes reported.
“Black Americans face significantly more obstacles when it comes to realizing the American dream of homeownership, from mortgage denials to low property appraisals and much more,” George Ratiu, manager of economic research at Realtor.com, told the publication in February 2022. “As a result, the Black homeownership rate currently remains the lowest in the country, underscoring how the challenging Covid housing market has compounded long-standing systemic issues faced by today’s Black buyers.”
One of the most known tactics used was redlining, which is racial discrimination in housing that allowed the government to pick where Black citizens could live, typically areas that were unsafe and dangerous to invest in, according to The New York Times. In response to this oppression, former President Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Fair Housing Act, included in the expanded version of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, to combat the disadvantages infringed upon minorities, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Despite the influence of these tactics that still linger, Black people aren’t letting possible challenges stop them from purchasing a property or becoming an investor. Blavity spoke with multiple people in the field and discovered three main reasons Black people use their resources and talents to invest in real estate.
According to Capital One, generational wealth refers to “financial assets that are passed down through families to children, grandchildren, and beyond.” That is beneficial and can end financial hardship, creating a debt-free future for loved ones. While white American families are generations in of leaving valuable property to their heirs, it’s not something commonly seen in the Black community, although it happens. Generation X and Millennials, with a hint of Baby Boomers, are actively trying to do this.
“I chose real estate as a business venture after the 2008 real estate crash because I worked for a company that helped people try to keep their homes. I quickly realized a good portion of the people I was helping were Black. I had a minor in real estate, so I took a couple of classes and got licensed to help my people make the right decision when buying a home. Started investing in real estate when I realized I couldn’t hand my kids my real estate business without them having to do anything,” Jerold Smith, real estate agent and investor, said.
“After getting married and pregnant during the pandemic, I wanted to do something from home while still making great money,” Heather Jackson, a real estate agent, shared. One thing I wanted to focus on was generational wealth and how others obtained it. While doing research, I discovered how Black people have been held back from prospering in the real estate market for so long. I also discovered that there is a huge community of investors, gurus and mentors that are giving out free games to anyone that will listen.”
It costs money to survive, which makes capital a vital key to success, so most would say another part of the American dream is breaking free from the shackles of survival mode and living a comfortable lifestyle that gives them the option to leave their 9-to-5 job and do more passion-driven things stress-free.
“With the uncertainty in the workforce and dealing with massive layoffs, people like me are looking for other sources of income. I hope to not rely on my corporate job someday soon and allow my real estate investment to replace what I am making,” Daytona Burch, a Texas homeowner, told Blavity.
“I understand there are few instances that real estate doesn’t increase in value, even in lower-income communities. With the right selection of properties, I will receive a monthly income as well. It’s two for one. Also, my ROI is much higher than any interest-bearing account. I will leave real property to my family that will continue to grow in value,” Chiketha Williams, a real estate investor, commented.
Flexibility Through Entrepreneurship
Some people want to break free from reporting to someone and prefer to work for themselves. Becoming a business owner is challenging, but it offers flexibility because entrepreneurs can set their schedules instead of having to work typical office hours.
“It was honestly freedom. I wanted to control my own time. My family owned land and had been in construction for a long time; it came naturally to me. I gained an infinity for it over time, and it became second nature to me,” Michael White, co-owner of a construction company, explained. “Once the doors open, you can see what it can do for you, and it can change your life. It was a win. It takes a while to cultivate the business, but once you do, it’s great.”
“The journey began as a transition from teaching into something that gives me more control over my time for my family. It evolved, by the grace of God, into something greater,” Kiara Freeman remarked. “Now I’m in charge of Dallas-Fort Worth’s Women’s Real Estate Investors Network group. My passion now is learning with the group and sharing what I’ve learned. It’s amazing to watch and encourage others on their journey from the sidelines to first flips!”
There are many reasons to invest in real estate. Purchasing a home with a long-term appreciation value is a massive benefit, along with receiving passive income if it’s a rental property. Buying and flipping properties can also become quite lucrative.
If you’re interested in real estate and need help figuring out where to start, here’s a great beginner’s guide.