Mark Ellis of Ellis Group Realty at his booth at Melanin Market in Willingboro on Saturday, March 25. Photo by Meredith Winner/Mer-Made Photography.

By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP — Real estate is Mark Ellis’s second act, but he wants the homes he sells his customers to be their best act.

The former Nike executive of more than two decades got the bug for real estate while negotiating space and commercial space deals for his old employer. Once in, he became acutely aware of the lack of representation of African Americans and Latinos in the industry.

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So real estate has become more than a reason to make money, but to fill a void that is much needed in the industry and help marginalized communities.

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Born and raised in East Orange, Ellis manned his own vendor space at the recent Melanin Market, engaging with many of the African American attendees. He sees himself as a realtor and problem-solver for many of his clients. Now he has his own team working for a common goal. Here is Ellis in his own words.

The Mark Ellis File

Name: Mark Ellis

Name of Business: Ellis Realty Group, Keller Williams

Address: 381 Egg Harbor Township Road, Suite 2, Sewell

Years in business: Two Years

Specialize in: Buy and selling residential real estate, along with rentals

Contact info: 856-318-2671,

5 Questions

1. FRNJ: What made you become a business owner?

Mark Ellis: I did marketing for Nike for eight years. Part of what I did with Nike was retail development. That’s when I kind of did the turn into what I’m doing with real estate right now. I was negotiating spaces, building relationships, and it was like an easy transition for me to go into residential real estate.

2. FRNJ: What does it take to get into real estate?

Mark Ellis: For me, it all starts with your classes. You take your real estate classes for the basic realtor. You need 75 hours of classes. After that, you take the state exam and then pick a brokerage. The brokerage that I happened to pick at the time was Keller Williams. I picked them because of the training that they had, and it was that prestigious name that went along with it.

3. FRNJ: What has been your biggest surprise working in real estate

Mark Ellis: Once I started selling homes, I started noticing more and more the disparity in the Black and Brown communities regarding the lack of homeownership. So, it’s become one of my missions to educate and get people into homes. They can build generational wealth from the homes that they purchase.

4. FRNJ: How important it is to have African American role models in this field?

Mark Ellis: You have to have those role models because you want to see people out there that’s actually doing the business and understand that there are opportunities out there. We’re launching an internship program this summer. The program pretty much focuses on the different aspects of real estate, but it also focuses on some of the other businesses that are attached to real estate like your appraisers, home inspectors and mortgage lenders. These are all jobs that a lot of people don’t know anything about coming out of high school and even college. They don’t know these jobs exist.

5. FRNJ: Anything else would you like to add?

Mark Ellis: The Mark Ellis Realty Group covers everything from buying to selling to investing, and even rentals. One of the things that we really like to preach about is generational wealth. It’s not about just buying that one property, but it’s about buying that one property using that property to leverage into buying additional properties and really starting to build your real estate portfolio.

Photo by Meredith Winner, Mer-Made Photography.

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