Madison real estate consultant Tiffany Malone understands homeownership can help families build wealth and gain security. That’s why she lives her life as an affordable housing advocate and change agent for racial justice in the real estate industry.

Malone, with Alvarado Real Estate Group, is co-founder of Own It: Building Black Wealth, an innovative collaboration among Madison-area professionals in the real estate, banking and financial industries. 

“Our mission is to empower, educate and guide Black and brown families in building wealth through education, real estate and homeownership,” said Malone. “This is one step toward closing the racial wealth gap in Madison.”

Own It partners with One City Schools, where 80 percent of families are people of color, offering educational programs and down payment assistance in the form of a one-time $18,000 grant to school alumni, enrolled families and employees.

Since 2021, more than 280 families have enrolled in the Wealth Building course, 65-plus families have enrolled in the Homeownership course, and 14 families who completed courses have been awarded a down payment grant to use toward the purchase of a home, condo or duplex. 

“So far, 10 families have made homeownership a reality, thanks to this program,” said Malone. 

In addition, the organization has raised $700,000 through the private sector, mostly from community members. 

This is a big win for Malone.

Growing up, Malone saw her single mom face many obstacles and missed opportunities because of her race and gender.

“My mom was uneducated in finances,” she said. “I think about how different our life could have been if she had owned a home.”

Malone wants to teach others how to leverage real estate to build generational wealth. 

When she changed careers, pivoting to real estate in 2017, the first thing she did was purchase an income property to give her a financial cushion as she built her business. 

“I was recently divorced with two daughters to support, and I knew realistically that it would take time to start earning commission,” she recalled. 

In real estate, it is not uncommon to work with a client for 12-14 months before finding or selling a home. Even working 50-70 hours a week, a realtor doesn’t get paid until a deal is closed. 

The first two years were challenging, but Malone appreciates a challenge. 

“I enjoy working in real estate because nothing is ever the same,” she said. “Every day is different, every client is different, every transaction is different. I’m always learning something, and the market is always changing.”

Fortunately, Malone doesn’t give up easily, a trait instilled in her as a child. Over the past eight years, she kept networking, kept educating herself and kept showing up, even when circumstances were “no walk in the park.” 

She understands buying or selling a house is a big decision, and she enjoys leading people through the process. To Malone, real estate is not just a transaction, it’s a connection that involves trust, education and guidance. 

Malone, who holds a bachelor’s degree in human services and a minor in criminal justice, is a natural helper, making real estate a good career fit. 

“It means a lot to me to help people, especially ones who look like me. There are not many Black female realtors in Madison,” she said. “When people attain homeownership, I know they’re going to be better off financially in the long run.”

In assisting others to build their personal wealth through real estate, she is helping them build their legacy. 

She is also building her own legacy and serving as a strong role model for her two daughters. Her goal is to provide her daughters with knowledge and education in finance—and pride that their mom is making a difference. 

Looking forward, Malone aims to take Own It nationally. 

“There’s no other program like it that helps people of color put a down payment on their first home,” she said. “It has minimal restrictions while most programs have several.”

Malone also aspires to write a book about Madison-area real estate and another about her life. She will continue to work diligently to be the best real estate consultant she can be, a top producer year after year, and an advocate for homeownership for all.