Dallas real estate broker Ken Shelton and his son, Nate, 20, are at it again, this time with his nephew Tanner Jones. They are buying up abandoned homes in North Texas, cleaning them up and giving them new life. Now Shelton is pledging $100 per home that he brokers in the first quarter of 2018 to Mesquite’s Spread the Love campaign.
“I grew up with a widowed mom from the age of 11 and was often hungry," he said. "I selected Spread the Love due to the direct influence it has to children in need.”
Earlier this year Shelton acquired an abandoned home in Mesquite located just a block away from Opal Lawrence Historical Park. After some investigation he was able to track down the owner of this property and paid off the back taxes. Shelton, his son and a cousin got to work cleaning up the property, and within eight weeks they were able to get the placed cleaned up, fixed and sold.
“Nate and his cousin (Jones) have doubled down in Garland. He graduated in 2017 as Garland ISD’s wide receiver of the year and just felt like giving back, as the capacity of playing football and going to college will allow him,” Shelton said.
Nate and Jones found a home in south Garland that had five years in back taxes – $6,000, which they paid off on April 1. They cleared out the house and donated any reusable items to the Salvation Army. While cleaning the place out they discovered firearms and contacted the local marshal to have the guns picked up.
“My son and nephew picked this house out not because of profit but because they knew they could do it,” he said. “Nate’s home field for varsity football is Williams stadium, and this house is en route to Williams stadium.”
Shelton said when they bought this house, a competing real estate broker made fun of them for purchasing a home with five years of back taxes.
“Under my breath I told him, ‘Sometimes you do because you can.’ The law firm that we bought this house from caught the subject and the effort, and pushed to help,” he said. “Shelly Ortalani, the trustee for the law firm, went out of her way to help. No one knew about the guns, the shape of the home, and yet all were aware of the school taxes.”
Since then, the house has sold and they were able to break even.
“This isn’t about money; my goal with these young men is to teach them the real estate business through service while they are going to college, it's a great thing,” Shelton said.
For the first quarter of 2018 Shelton has closed on a house in Balch Springs, two in Garland, one in Dallas, and one in Mesquite for a total of $500 so far that will go toward Spread the Love.