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Egypt Sherrod is a mother, wife, daughter, real estate broker and an investor.
She’s also a “tried and true” Philadelphian, she’ll have you know.
But the star of HGTV’s “Married to Real Estate” is also a successful media personality and a member of the Real Estate Staging Association and the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network — not to mention a card-carrying constituent of the NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the United States.
Oh, and now she’s officially an Inman Influencer, too.
“Everybody has a brand,” Sherrod told Inman in a wide-ranging interview last week to kick off Inman’s inaugural Influencer program, which continues this year with spotlights on some of the real estate industry’s most recognizable thought leaders. “Whether you realize it or not, your brand is what precedes you. For me, having built such a popular career in one field, and now launching myself in another field, I had a challenge ahead of me.”
Sherrod started her real estate career by accident when she decided to try her hand at flipping houses as a twenty-something professional while balancing a full-time job at a radio station.
By 2004 she had obtained her license and affiliated with Weichert Realtors before finding her way to Keller Williams and launching her own team, The Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group. Along the way she gained certifications as a master certified negotiation expert, certified distressed property expert, accredited buyer’s representative and certified residential specialist.
As her reputation has grown, so too has her social media standing. Today, Sherrod has a stunning 1.2 million followers on Instagram, 173,000 on Facebook and 63,000 on Twitter.
“It’s a blessing and a curse at the same time because it requires a lot of maintenance and a lot of work,” Sherrod said of the social channels that have helped magnify her brand. “But it’s a blessing because you have the opportunity to brand, rebrand, amplify your business and everything that you do, and truly build a community and audience.”
“People like to do business with those they feel like they know and can relate to and trust — that’s just a fact,” she added. “If you don’t have a social media profile, there’s going to be a question mark above you and your business.”
Running away from the family business
The eldest of four siblings, Sherrod grew up in Philadelphia to parents who divorced when she was young. She quickly adopted her stepfather as “dad,” developing a close relationship with him, she told Inman.
At home with family, Sherrod had a supportive clan that thrived on the hustle of real estate and advertising. Her dad still works as an executive for the Pennsylvania Real Estate Trust Group, and her uncles worked for Century 21 as residential brokers. Meanwhile, Sherrod’s mother was a top advertising executive for Strawbridges and Woodward & Lothrop.
When she grew into a young adult, Sherrod was eager to forge her own path at first and didn’t even consider a real estate career initially.
“Growing up, it was always a conversation about real estate,” Sherrod told Inman. “Almost to the point where, you know when you grow up in a business and you either dive right into the family business or you run very far away from it? At first, I ran very far away from it into radio.”
Reconsidering radio for real estate
While juggling classes at Temple University, Sherrod starting building a portfolio of experience at radio stations in Philly as a host, program assistant, and eventually, music director at Radio One. After that, she worked for a few years at a station in Baltimore and then moved to New York City and joined WBLS.
Once she felt established with a steady paycheck — and at the time, no children to provide for — Sherrod decided she wanted to start investing her hard-earned money to make it grow. Her family had taught her that owning real estate was a solid strategy for building wealth. So, still in her 20s, she experimented by buying dilapidated properties and flipping them. It didn’t take long for her to realize she had found a new passion.
“The joke was on me because I got hit by the real estate bug,” Sherrod told Inman. “I said, ‘I love this and I’m earning more doing just a few of these than I did an entire year working in my broadcast career, and I enjoy it.’ So I decided to get my real estate license.”
Sherrod’s entrance into real estate couldn’t have come at a better time either, since shortly thereafter she was laid off from WBLS when the station downsized. At that point, she knew she had found her purpose, and there was no going back.
“At first, the interest was more about money and keeping more of my bottom-line profit,” Sherrod explained. “Then it very quickly turned into, ‘Wow, this is a career that I never feel like I will have to retire from because I enjoy it that much, I’m a people person, and I love the idea of doing something fulfilling.'”
Once Sherrod got her real estate license in 2004, she thrived as an agent with Weichert, Realtors, earning rookie of the year status and quickly becoming a top producer. She then got the opportunity to return to radio with “Middays with Egypt Sherrod” on WBLS, and instead of turning it down, or alternatively, giving up real estate, she decided to use the platform to reintroduce herself to the public from a real estate lens.
“It gave me an opportunity to rebrand myself and that’s something really important,” Sherrod told Inman. “The best way that I could do that, was now go back to the platform that people knew me on and start retraining their brain about my career.”
HGTV comes calling
An HGTV casting director happened to be listening to Sherrod’s show on WBLS one day and was convinced that hers would be a perfect personality for the home improvement and real estate network.
Sherrod was cast as host of the network’s “Property Virgins,” a show that highlighted the ordeals of first-time homebuyers, from 2007 to 2012, and then went on to host “Flipping Virgins,” in which Sherrod guided novice home-flippers, from 2015 to 2018. In 2014, she founded the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group at Keller Williams.
Today, many of Sherrod’s followers associate her with her husband, Mike Jackson, with whom she stars on HGTV’s “Married to Real Estate,” their home renovation and real estate reality series, which debuted in 2021 in their home in Atlanta and was just renewed for a third season.
But the couple actually made their first real estate TV appearance together on the network’s “Rock the Block,” Season 3, where they competed against four other teams to complete a home renovation with a $250,000 budget in six weeks, and were crowned the season’s winners.
Jackson started his career by DJ’ing from a young age, and is now also a licensed real estate agent, as well as a homebuilder.
Sherrod said working with her husband, whom she’s been married to since 2010 and has two daughters with, as well as a daughter from Jackson’s previous marriage, is a blessing. But — not surprisingly — the couple also recognizes that they sometimes just need a break from one another.
“I get to do what I love with the person I love,” Sherrod said. “We’re best buds too. So we have a lot of fun together. But there’s some days where I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, I need a break from you!’ It’s just as you would imagine with anybody who lives and works with someone. You have your days, you have your moments, but most of the time, it’s pretty fantastic.”
“Married to Real Estate” was born out of the couple’s social media posting during the pandemic, simply chronicling their work and lives during lockdowns. After HGTV saw what they were doing, displaying their balance of work and personal life, they thought it would make a lively show. The program has now amassed 19 million viewers.
“That’s how ‘Married to Real Estate’ truly was birthed — out of leveraging social media,” Sherrod said. “So my husband and I, we often look at each other and say, ‘Are we still ok?’ Because, we made a pact when we started this that if it ever affected our relationship or our children negatively we just wouldn’t do it anymore. But so far, so good.”
Sherrod added that the balancing act of raising the couple’s children between all their professional commitments takes a village, and that their support system has been crucial.
“There’s no way that we’d be able to balance three businesses — because we have other businesses outside of what people see on TV, we’re serial entrepreneurs — there’s no way we could balance all we’re doing if we didn’t have a support system, family, a true village,” Sherrod told Inman. “So that’s my mom, his mom, aunties, etc. Our kids are constantly surrounded with love and family. And often, they may just be at work with us. It’s a true family business.”
When it comes to how her children perceive hers and Jackson’s work-life balance, Sherrod said she hopes their biggest takeaway is “healthy love.”
“We want them to see mom and dad, not only giving their work and career their all, but also giving their marriage their all, showing them that you really can do it and have healthy, functional, happy relationships,” Sherrod told Inman.
When she looks back at her own winding career trajectory, Sherrod said that “you’ve got to know when to go to grow,” has been one of her biggest takeaways.
“The industry that we are in, real estate, is ever changing,” she added. “The digital world has taken over, so we have to change the way we do business … We have to stay on top of things and be able to pivot with them.”
Sherrod never seems to slow down, as she and Jackson just launched at the beginning of 2023 a new podcast called “Marriage and Money Podcast with Egypt and Mike.”
“It’s just another way for folks to access us and to show a different side [of ourselves],” Sherrod told Inman. “We focus on teaching people how to build legacy, so we have attorneys come on and talk about estate planning, we have other couples who built successful businesses tell us not only how they built the business, but how they stay together doing it.”
Just last week, Sherrod also announced the launch of her new home furnishing line, Indigo Road, which will debut in the fall of 2023, to bridge the gap between “luxury and comfort.”
It’s no wonder then that Sherrod says she and her husband hardly ever get a vacation. They did take the family to Playa del Carmen for Christmas, but with three kids — the youngest of whom is four — Sherrod said it doesn’t exactly feel like a vacation.
“Any parent knows that when you go on vacation with kids, it’s not really a vacation, right?” Sherrod laughed.
But having successfully launched the podcast and announced Indigo Road, Sherrod said the couple had finally booked an adults-only a trip to Bali.
“There will be a lot of sleep,” she joked.