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Meet Shanelle Burton of Historic & Distinctive Homes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shanelle Burton.

Hi Shanelle, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I grew up in Metro Nashville Public Housing my entire life from birth to adulthood in two of the most impoverished, unsafe, high crime and active gang violence communities in South Nashville “Tony Sudekum Apartments” and my adolescent years in “Cheatham Place Apartments” located in North Nashville near present-day Germantown and the Buchanan District. Upon completion of High School I enrolled as a Freshman at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, TN on a full academic scholarship of which was considered a Great Accomplishment considering where I was raised, but I had the best parents that a daughter could ever ask for and a praying grandmother that was my support system and supported me through. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them and my family’s village of support.

During my first fall semester of college I enrolled in a required psychology class, and during one of our lectures our professor was discussing social classes in the United States and what programs poor people benefit from here vs. the working class. As he was lecturing I heard him mention public housing as one of the housing programs that we have to support the poor in the United States. At that moment I realized I had been poor my entire life and I had no clue, but that moment changed my life forever. As determined as ever I was determined that I was going to finish college because education was my only way to escape generations of poverty.

My sophomore year I transferred to Tennessee State University on a full-ride scholarship as well to be closer to my family. When I returned home, back to public housing while working a full-time job I graduated college in 2012 and two years later I begin my dream career as a Pre-K teacher. As an educator, I’ve always loved educating people and I’ve always had a desire to help people. During a conversation one day with some of my colleagues, they were explaining to me how they were purchasing homes and some of them had never paid rent a day in there. The conversation was interesting to me because I had grown up in poverty and paid rent my entire life.

As our conversation continued to get deeper they shared with me the importance of owning and establishing generational wealth something I knew nothing about. Interested in our conversation I enrolled in Real Estate School to become a realtor with the purpose of educating myself on the process. After my completion of Real Estate School, I myself became a first time home buyer and I was amazed at how easy the process was so I immediately started teaching real estate classes in the community at East Park Community Center and online to comprehensively educate people on the process and how easy it really is.

The feedback that I received from attendees was great and I have had the grand opportunity of serving and transitioning them to the path of homeownership.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Initially, some of the struggles while I was in college and still living in public housing was my doubt that education would change my social status in society because living in poverty was basically all I had ever known. Another struggle was working a 3rd shift job full time while attending Tennessee State University by day fill time sometimes only attaining 3-4 hours asleep max, but I was determined that education was my only true option out.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
Shanelle Burton is a Nashville native with 7 years of experience. She has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership, Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Consumer Sciences, and a Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Business. She enjoys giving back and working within the Nashville Community.

In her spare time, she enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends. More importantly, she enjoys the practice of Real Estate and works as an advocate for first-time home-buyers and veteran sellers/buyers to make their real estate experience a joy from start to finish. She incorporates her financial background in Consumer Science and her real estate experience to work for her buyers and sellers.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
Put God First!! Seek a mentor, connect with people who already do it. Be humble and most of all understand that being a leader is about serving, helping, and assisting others. Additionally, always educate yourself and invest in yourself.

Contact Info:

  • Email: Realtor.shanelleb@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @nashville.realtor_
  • Facebook: Shanelle Burton Realtor


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