The story of America’s first Black realtor, Ben Slayton
Ben Slayton’s remarkable career in real estate spans six decades. He has set the bar for agents with his willingness to venture into uncharted territory, allowing those that follow to benefit from his courage and drive. His success is inspiring proof of what can be achieved when one takes initiative and makes a bold move! Slayton is a man of many firsts.
He was the:
• First Black franchise owner of a Century 21 office.
• First developer and builder of a condominium project in San Fernando, California
• First person of any race approved by Freddie Mac as a multi-family program plus seller
• First and only person to be appointed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae for the inaugural affordable, housing, advisory council, at the same time But the most important “first” that has had an impact on myself and other African American realtors is Ben Slayton is the very first African American realtor.
Now, when you think “The first Black realtor,” you would assume that we are talking about an event that occurred in the late 1800’s or early 1900’s. We are actually talking about 1964. Just four years before I was born. See you in the 1960s. The National Association of Realtors was still working in the “good old boys” system. You couldn’t just apply to become a realtor – you actually had to be sponsored by a current realtor. There is a difference between being a real estate agent and being a Realtor. A real estate agent is anyone that has secured a license to sell real estate in a particular state. A Realtor is a trademarked name for any real estate agent that is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a professional association. It offers a lot of benefits and privileges.
Ben Slayton believed he deserved to have the same benefits and privileges as his white counterparts. Unfortunately, he was challenged to find a realtor sponsor that was willing to take on the ridicule and being ostracized by their fellow realtors. Many years prior to pursuing a real estate career, Slayton had been adopted by a Jewish family who taught him the business of real estate in the mortgage industry. He learned the value of building wealth through real estate.
Since Slayton was unable to find a realtor who would sponsor him, his family paid a realtor to sponsor him. The realtor charged his family $5000 for that sponsorship. To put that in perspective in 1964, $5000 would buy you a two-bedroom one bath house in California. At 78 years young, Slayton is on another mission. His focus in life has never been about being first, but more so about making a difference. Slayton founded Legacy Home Loans in July 2018 with the sole purpose of shrinking the 30% gap between African-American homeowners and white-American homeowners.
Currently, that gap is 70% of white American homeowners to 40% of African American homeowners. His company’s mission statement is “To empower the African American community throughout the United States with the focus of building, sustainable wealth through their homeownership and leaving family legacies.” Approximately 77% of his business is with African American clients with 23% is with non-African-Americans. Legacy Home Loans is committed to making a substantial difference in the African American community by providing home loans across 11 U.S. states. This bold mission, guided by Slayton’s unwavering drive for change, has an ambitious goal of advancing $1 billion towards homeownership opportunities and securing his status as a hero within the nation.
Editor’s note: For more information on Legacy Home Loans, visit www.myhomelegacy.com. Barry Overton is a licensed Real Estate eXp Realty, LLC. He has been an agent since 2001 and started investing in real estate in 1996. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 303-668-5433.