For Jerrod Delaine, an alumnus of the NYU School of Professional Schack Institute of Real Estate, a deep desire to have an impact on his community was the impetus for starting his own real estate firm, The Delaine Companies (TDC), in January 2022. “There is a diversity void in real estate that needs to be filled,” said Delaine, whose company specializes in the development, construction, and management of high-quality buildings.
The scarcity of Black professionals in the industry is quite apparent. According to an article published by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), statistics from the US Census Bureau indicate that fewer than 6 percent of all real estate professionals are Black, compared to 74.6 percent who are White and 8.79 percent who are Hispanic. Black Americans also have the country’s lowest home-ownership rates. Creating affordable housing is one solution this problem. “Affordable housing has an impact on African-Americans in any city in America,” said Delaine. “With my company, I hope to create value by managing investors’ funds to earn the best returns while improving diversities communities at scale.”
An adjunct instructor teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in real estate at Schack and the NYU SPS Division of Applied Undergraduate Studies, Delaine found his calling early on. “When I was about six years old, I drew a house and told my mom that this was her dream home,” he said. “I asked her who makes houses, and she said ‘architects.’ And that was it, I knew what I would enjoy doing for a living.”
Throughout high school, he took drafting classes, learning how to design buildings. He attended Florida A&M School of Architecture and Engineering Technology, earning his bachelor’s in architecture in 2007. Deciding he wanted a broader canvas to make an impact, he went on to earn his MS in Real Estate Development from the Schack Institute in 2012. Since then, he has taught at NYU SPS and the Pratt Institute, and has worked at numerous real estate firms, most recently serving as director of development at Carthage Real Estate Advisors in Manhattan, where he helped create and preserve affordable housing projects through real estate finance and development.
As a Black real estate executive, Delaine has found the real estate industry generally welcoming, but he noted, “African-American builders and developers often have a harder time accessing capital. Most of us do not have a wealthy uncle or father to help us; most of us are first-generation entrepreneurs and executives. If I hit a roadblock, I have to actively network and make industry contacts who can offer support.”
He has built many great relationships through his work at Schack and as a member of industry organizations such as the Urban Land Institute (ULI), National Realty Club (NRC), New York Real Estate Chamber (NYREC), and Real Estate Executive Council (REEC). These relationships and his extensive real estate background will be crucial to his new ventures. “People know me. I have expertise in affordable housing, finance, design, and construction. I have access to capital markets. I have the desire to engage the community. That’s a rare combination in this industry,” he noted, adding, “What this COVID era has taught us is the importance of the home, and I am in the business of building housing.”