South Dallas real estate group addresses home ownership gap

Ferrell Fellows’ South Oak Cliff childhood abode — a two-story edifice of brick and mortar — served as more than just a home. It was the epicenter of festivities, a sanctuary for his friends, hosting myriad pizza feasts, birthday celebrations, and family reunions. Fellows’ mother, a rarity in her community as a homeowner, instilled in him the significance of stable housing — a lesson etched in his memory as he observed his cousins and neighbors engaged in a perpetual cycle of relocation.

Fellows, recalling the stability afforded by his mother’s decision, said, “The constancy of our residence — my mother remains in the house where we were raised — epitomized for me the way homeownership can form a solid foundation for your children’s future.”

This early insight would later inspire Fellows’ approach to his professional life, ultimately leading him to establish his real estate company, Kingdom Legacy, decades later in South Dallas. His mission? To imbue local residents with a similar sense of stability through homeownership.

In South Dallas, a troubling 68% of residents are tenants, marking it as one of the Dallas-Fort Worth area’s least homeowner-populated areas, with homeownership dipping to a mere 40%. The South Dallas 75215 ZIP code reports a median household income of $32,077, a stark contrast to D-FW’s $76,916.

To combat this glaring disparity, city initiatives have sprung into action, notably the Dallas Homebuyer Assistance Program, which Fellows stated aids lower to middle-income families in securing homes within Dallas. He stated, “The wealth gap in America is primarily driven by the property ownership gap. Greater homeownership could serve as the panacea, gradually bridging this gap and fostering universal access and opportunity.”

However, Fellows hasn’t always stood on this side of the homeownership divide. At 19, as an undergrad in New York City, she experienced the brutal reality of homelessness, roaming the city streets with her belongings stuffed into a shopping cart. Despite holding a coveted internship, she could not afford to secure a place to live. Her desperate situation forced her into living conditions fraught with sexual harassment, culminating in her belongings being discarded after she refused a roommate’s advances.

Drawing from this harsh life lesson, Fellows stepped into the real estate domain in 2016, launching Kingdom Legacy in 2019. The company, committed to homeownership, land acquisition, and education, operates on a community-oriented approach, always ready to assist those who are often overlooked, such as first-time home buyers.

“The mortgage industry, during periods of economic boom, tends to dismiss borrowers who require additional assistance. Many first-time homebuyers need that extra support,” Fellows stated.

Natalie Strong, 31, exemplifies the individuals Fellows aims to help. Strong witnessed her parents lose their home at 16, mirroring the experience of her own grandparents. Now, she’s a proud homeowner of a townhouse near Fair Park. “With Fellows’ guidance, the path to homeownership, initially daunting, became navigable,” Strong stated.

Fellows envisions a revitalized South Dallas, encouraging locals to invest in their surrounding lands. His initial venture is the MLK Wellness complex, transforming a former Dallas Weekly office building, left virtually empty due to COVID-induced lease defaults, into a community center offering healthy lifestyle choices.

Fellows observed, “This project has taught us the importance of nurturing local businesses, of fostering our own franchises. We must invest in educating local entrepreneurs, allowing them to expand their services to benefit their own communities.”

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