Homerun Hitter: Egypt Sherrod On Planning Your Next Takeover

Egypt Sherrod has a thirteen-year-old daughter, a three-year-old daughter, a husband, two cellphones, four email addresses and five websites. She is also a real estate guru, television host, and CEO of her own agency. Between traipsing finicky new buyers from house to house on HGTV’s Property Virgins, readying a second show for the network and penning her first how-to manual for ‘fraidy-cat strangers to real estate (Keep Calm.. It’s Just Real Estate), preparedness has served as a cornerstone of Sherrod’s busy life.

“The key is planning. I make a list every single day of what I have to accomplish,” she notes. “And I actually do lists of yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals.”

Previously a No. 1 radio personality for New York City’s WBLS, the Philly native’s affinity for strategizing aided her conversion from on-air star to property expert. It was also this methodical thinking that helped Sherrod buy her first home at 24 years old – a task she had readied herself for since landing her first job at 19. As life’s curveball arm remains strong as ever, the real estate multi-hyphenate actively raises her bat.

But don’t get the nearly-mathematical precaution twisted, she’s still racking up on cool points. – Iyana Robertson


What I do, in one sentence:
I am a She-EO – or some people would call it a mom-preneur – and a mom-preneur is a woman who runs her own business, runs her own life, but doesn’t believe she has to compromise the wonderful experience of motherhood and raising a family to do so.

How I bought my first property at the age of 24:
I started in radio when I was 18, hosting a Jazz radio show. Then I got my first, real, full-time job in radio as a music director; I was the youngest music director in the country, in Philadelphia at age 19. And then I was on air as well. So I was earning enough to start thinking about how I was going to make my money work for me. While everyone else was buying pocketbooks and shoes, I was buying properties. I wasn’t necessarily the best dressed in the industry, but I was building a foundation for myself just in case.

So I flipped my first property in Newark, New Jersey. It was a lapidated, three-family home. When I saw how much I profited from that, I was like ‘Oh, this is cool. So I can use my radio salary to live, and the money I make from real estate can go towards retirement.’ I started building and nesting for myself. That’s when I really got bit by the real estate bug.

Money management tips for young women:
Always write your own checks (if you even have to do that anymore); Oprah Winfrey said that years ago and it stuck with me. With your money, you need to know where its coming from, where its going and why. Be responsible, step up, or your will turn around and have none. Always manage your own money. And it’s okay to have financial advisors, people who can help you meet your long terms goals. But you need to be the one watching and managing all your money, that would be my biggest tip. The other tip I’d like to add is, money is a tool. It’s a tool to help us realize our dreams. Money shouldn’t be the dream.

Tips for transitioning from one career to another:
You have to start laying the groundwork. What many people didn’t know is, right when I was at the height of my radio career, No. 1 in the day in New York City, I was also a licensed real estate agent, selling houses for some of the biggest celebrities. I was licensed back in 2002 as an agent. I was flipping houses as an investor and selling properties.

I started laying the groundwork early. [My mindset was] while I’m in radio, what’s next? How am I going to support myself if the rug gets pulled from under me? And it did at one point in my career. But my real estate income supported me. Then, when I went back to radio, that was great, because the bottom fell out of real estate when [the country] had our crisis. Radio supported me through that. So I think it’s great to not think about yourself in a box as if you can only do one thing. And never let anybody else put you in a box.

A note on being your own roadblock:
Early on, I was blocking my own blessings because I was living in fear. When you want to be successful, but you think the definition of success is has more to do with how much money you earn, or what people think about you, or what the last article was that was written on you, or what the last ratings book was. That’s how I defined myself. So, once I got out of that mindset and grew to know that success had everything to do with being comfortable in your own skin, treating people with the ultimate respect and compassion, and knowing and understanding how the universe works – meaning what you pour into it, you naturally and organically get back. That is when my whole world opened up. It was that easy.

On learning to separate who you are from what you do:
We are not what we do for a living, I remind myself of that everyday. My husband understands that. I am not my career. It’s what I do – it’s what I love, i’m fortunate enough to be able to earn a living doing so – but I’m much more than what I do to earn a living.

What I learned about the idea of “having it all:”
[I learned that] I can have it all – just not all at once. I can have a family, and still be that hot chick on the radio. I can be cool, and still be young and fun. I can be smart and funny. I can be a business mind and still like to throw it up in the air. I can still drop it like it’s hot, and close on a multi million-dollar real estate deal. It’s sad that sometimes we think business is clinical. Having good credit, knowing our business, writing your own checks, knowing how to invest, understanding a 401K, a GMIB, it’s sad when we think that’s for nerds or brainiacs, and that it’s not cool. Because being cool is being able to pay your bills. Being cool is being able to own the roof over your head.

A funny, but not-so-funny pregnancy story:
I was pushing my ninth month of pregnancy, I was in New York, on the radio at WBLS, running my real estate business in New Jersey and still filming Property Virgins. We filmed up until two weeks before I gave birth. On our last day of filming, I had to check myself into the hospital, and they put me on bedrest for the next two weeks. It was a coincidence, I just started feeling really bad. I had edema, preeclampsia and everything. It was rough.

Not to say you can’t do it, because there are women doing it everyday: balancing pregnancy, and motherhood, being wives and being everything else, doing it successfully and flawlessly. I wasn’t as graceful. I was a crying pregnant person; everything that comes with pregnancy hit me. But at the end of day, we do what we gotta do.

A recent “kids say the darndest things” moment:
Sometimes, kids say thing and they’re being sassy, so you don’t wanna laugh, but you could just crack up. So my daughter was going off one day – she’s three, they call it “terrible two’s,” but it’s really “terrible three’s.” I said ‘Kendall Bear,’ you are driving Mommy up a wall today!’ She walks around the counter, folds her arms and says, ‘Mommy, you can’t drive up walls.’ And she was right! But it was one of those moments where I knew she was being smart; I wanted to fall out laughing, but I couldn’t.

Mommy and me:
My mom is like my best friend. We’re hysterical together, because we’re like Golden Girls the way we bicker. Whenever me and my mom are having our moment of bickering, my husband says, ‘Y’all two are just alike.’ He’s like, ‘I look at your mother, and I see you in 30 years.’

I will say that I find myself saying things to my eldest, and even to my three-year-old, that my mom said to me, that I just didn’t get. Like ‘don’t you dare slam that door,’ or ‘I own this house.’ Or even when they tell you get out of the their room and you’re like ‘You don’t have a room! Every room in this house is mine,’ or ‘I’m doing this because I love you.’

My favorite room in my house:
I would say my favorite room in my house is my closet, but not for the material reasons. When I was living in my grandparents’ house, I lived in a closet, literally. All that was in the room was a bed, that’s all that would fit in there. I could open my arms and touch both walls.. So my dream was always to have a closet bigger than a bedroom.

My closet is where I go for peace. It’s my hiding space. I go in, leave everything everything out, close the door, lay on the floor, and reflect. Or sometimes, I get things accomplished while I’m in there, where I can just be quiet. I wrote a lot of my book, Keep Calm Its Just Real Estate: Your No Stress Guide To Buying A Home, in my closet.

Tips on making a house a home:
I would say its the energy in the house that makes it a home. It’s not the furniture, its not the pictures you hang on the walls, or anything like that. What we did in my house is, we blessed it. We got some white sage – I strongly believe in energy – so we got some white sage and burned it around the windows and around the doors. We prayed, so that everyone who comes in feels the love, and that as we go out, we remember that this is home, and anything in it that is not good or pure leaves. That was how we put our personal touch on our house.

How to make a small living space look bigger:
First and foremost, furniture makes a room feel bigger or smaller, depending upon the scale. So if you’re in a small space, you need small furniture so that the space feels larger. If you have a 400 square-foot space, you might not want to put a king-size bed and a huge dresser in there. Maybe you get a full-size bed, or a Murphy bed, or other furniture that is collapsible, so that you can entertain at all times depending upon what you’re doing. If you have overnight guests, then the bedroom takes over a little bit more. If you have guest over for food, then your living space takes over.

Advice to my 18-year-old self before she embarks on her career:
Don’t take yourself so seriously. Have more fun. Don’t second guess yourself. Listen to your gut at all times. 

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