The push for Black ownership when it comes to home buying is one that we, as a community, should be getting behind. According to experts, African Americans are the least likely group to own homes. Egypt Sherrod and husband Mike Jackson are looking to change that.
Sherrod, a radio/television personality and real estate broker, and Jackson, an award-winning DJ and construction builder, decided to step into the industry and create their own real estate construction and design business. After more than a decade of being in business together with the Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Design Group and Jackson Draper Renovations under their belt, the couple, married since 2010 and together nearly 20 years, were presented with their own show, Married to Real Estate. This HGTV series showcases the two creating gorgeous homes with smart renovations for their clients, all while juggling busy professional and personal lives. Married to Real Estate is currently on its second season and has been renewed for Season 3.
While many know them for their work in media and the entertainment industry, Sherrod and Jackson were both introduced to real estate and construction at a young age. They couldn’t have foreseen that home buying and renovating would become a huge part of their lives as a career.
“I was a radio personality in New York City. People would see the glory, but not know the actual story of what was going on. [Mike and I] were in an ever shrinking business. We saw people losing their jobs left and right. Then I became one of those people too,” says Sherrod. “I quickly had to redefine myself. In order to really set myself up for the rest of my life, real estate was something that I believed was ingrained in me. I have family members who are real estate brokers and agents. I went to real estate school and got bit by the bug. I truly loved the business —- so much that when I had the opportunity to go back to radio, I did not leave my second career in real estate. I worked both jobs.”
“The real estate aspect came about because my wife was in the business already. She said one day, ‘You know what? Why don’t we try to keep this within the family?’ She suggested that I get my license and I said okay. My license is currently parked, which means I can use it whenever I see fit. But the focus for me has been construction,” adds Jackson. “As a kid, I was always in construction because I worked with my grandfather and uncle. They had their own construction company. At the same time, I was also traveling because I was in a singing group with my cousins. This led to my transition into djing worldwide. But what a lot of people didn’t know was that, even during the entertainment and djing, I was still doing construction. I would be in the night clubs at night and at construction sites in the morning.”
Now Sherrod and Jackson are a favorite coupling on HGTV, finding success through their passion for property. Being business partners comes with its challenges and so can being partners in life. How does a couple navigate both? Something that has helped them is making sure their marriage is always the priority and nurturing it.
“I will say what has helped is that we have a large community that allows us to have our time as adults and have date nights,” Jackson says. “Between different family members, they jump in and ask us what we need. It allows us that alone time without being workers or parents or business partners. It can become mundane and that’s what you don’t want to happen.”
“Anyone that listens to our Marriage and Money podcast, they have heard our truth. In marriage, you’re going to have ebbs and flows. It’s like a roller coaster sometimes. You even may fall in and out of love for each other depending on what life is dealing you at the time. What is important is that you like and respect one another. That is what helps you get through the toughest of times. When you work with someone, live with them, build a legacy, and family with them, it’s important to keep the actual relationship at the forefront. Nothing else works if we don’t work,” adds Sherrod.
Juggling their relationship, business, and on top of that, parenting, is a lot, but the couple try to find balance. They also try to give each other grace, and that helps them deal with everything from conflict to changes in who they are as people and partners. It’s allowed them to go far in business and in love.
“What I have learned in marriage that has helped us in business is growth,” Jackson says. “Allowing each other to grow and understanding that you will grow. The person that you met a year ago may be different from who they are today. You have to keep open communication and find out what you can do to better experience your spouse. It’s a continuous discussion through growth.”
“For me, it’s fighting fair,” Sherrod says of the biggest lesson she’s learned in marriage. Disagreements are a part of life. Especially in business, we are not always going to see eye to eye. Between Mike and I it is a constant struggle with clients, budgets, etc. We spar a lot, but it’s about how are you sparring? How are you speaking to one another, while respecting each other’s perspectives? Having to learn how to co-exist in our marriage in that way has helped so in business, we can fight fair too.”