Sabrina Lowery joins RTRE today to discuss how technology is used in business today. Sabrina is a broker, author, and speaker with a backround in the tech sector. You can find her book here: https://socialetechquette.com/
Rethink Real Estate Podcast Transcription
Audio length 30:47
RTRE 37 – Sabrina Lowery[music] [Chris] Welcome to re:Think Real Estate, your educational and hopefully entertaining source for all things real estate, business, news and tech. [Christian]: I am Christian Harris in Seattle, Washington. [Nathan]: Hi, I am Nathan White in Columbus, Ohio. [Chris]: And I am Chris Lazarus in Atlanta, Georgia. Thanks for tuning in. [music] [Christian]: Hey everyone and welcome back to this week’s episode of re:Think Real Estate. We have a great episode planned for you. We will be talking about technology and its effects on us. Today Nathan White and I are joined by…by Sabrina Lowery. So if you wouldn’t mind just tell us a little bit about yourself Sabrina. You know, we talked about it before we started recording but you got a pretty interesting and established career. [Sabrina]: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I am so excited to be here and I just want to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Sabrina Lowery. I am a New Jersey girl born and raised in the North East and spent a lot of time in Brick City. You all know what New York City is? The city of bricks. [laughter]
And so yes I started in New Jersey. My mother moved to the south in Miami. And so I did high school in the south which was a totally different culture. A totally different time. When I graduated high school in 1990 from Miami I left and went to the University of Florida. Go Gators. [laughter] So I spent 4 years of my life in Gainesville. I had 2 sons, Chris and Cory, while I was at the university while I was studying Computers and Information systems. That’s my undergraduate degree form that institution and I have been a geek and tech girl all of my life. It comes very natural for me. And I just love to be a speaker. Public speaking, than realtor.
Realtor life came after technology and than guess what? Google found me. And so when I started doing talks at google just about business planning, how to use their platform I began to monetize as a coach, a broker, a realtor. Because realtors started following me. I was able to help realtors branch off from their own brokers and get their own business all while just pursuing my own brokerage Legacy, Realty and Management which is now 6 years old.[Christian]: Nice that is awesome Before we dig into deeper into that technology piece I mean it’s a pretty interesting story. I mean it puts you ahead in the industry that tends to lack severely when it comes to technology an innovation. Why after so many years in you know being a coder in the tech world switch over to real estate? Some might say it’s a step backwards but you seem to be very successful in your career. [Sabrina]: So it’s interesting. My story literally was because I was a mom. Like I am a mom first. There is nothing negotiable about that. And my job was actually 55 miles away from my home every single day a 2-way commute was 110 miles from my car. By default. So a sick child? What does that mean? Did I have the flexibility to work from home?
In most cases not. And so sometimes I felt like “Wow is it because I am a woman? Is it because of the color of my skin? Is it because I am in the south? I am in Georgia. Would they treat me like this in Florida in Miami? In New Jersey?” So I really had to find my place. And it was actually one of my clients that I supported at my past job that said “Sabrina there is more for you than this. I don’t know why you’re sitting behind a computer screen. You are more than this”.
And I will never forget him from that. So I am very, very excited to just share with him just my journey because it was because of someone just saying that “You are more than this” that propelled me into something else. I thought I was always gonna be a coder. I didn’t know there was real estate as a career as an income, as a mom, as a single mom. And then it just began my journey when I bought my house. My realtor was thebomb.com [laughter].[Nathan]: That is awesome. [Christian]: Yeah no it definitely is life giving to have those people in our lives that can speak the truth an encourage us and inspire us to be like “Hey you are selling yourself short you know I think you can do more”. That’s awesome. [Sabrina]: Yeah. [Christian]: So you went from coding into real estate and it sounds like you started your own brokerage about 6 years ago. What was the…the catalyst for that? How did that get started? [Sabrina]: So 16 years as a realtor. That meant it took me 10 years to grow a following, a brand and some confidence to do it on my own as an independent boutique brokerage versus the big blue box, we will leave nameless, as a brand in USA. [Christian]: Sure. [Sabrina]: OK. And so it was very corporate there. I was like “I just left corporate America. It is so corporate in this particular business model”. I had to develop a business model that matched my style. My style of business. Let alone the market crash. So I had to reinvent myself and that meant in my office of 75 agents and smart net, and nobody wanted to do the rentals. I was like “What are you all talking about, the average rents in our area is 2500 dollars”. So I would close 6-10 rentals a month when they couldn’t sell. [Christian]: Yeah. Yeah. [Sabrina]: So I became the rental queen [laughter]. [Christian]: OK yeah. [Sabrina]: So these people that were relocating their corporate jobs they had those real packages for me to list and sell their houses but guess what? I couldn’t sell their houses for nothing, OK? So I had to figure out a way to help these people still move to where their job was all by using my real estate license which meant I could out a ‘for rent’ sign, I could out a ‘for lease’ sign in the yard.
And not only that. Now I created a business model that allowed me to manage the property full life cycle until that tenant was ready to buy. I had lease purchase agreements that lead to closing. And now I had a pipeline of business of these investors that I had been working with for 10 years that couldn’t sell that were getting equity out of their homes now.[Christian]: Sure you would leverage the whole real estate rental cycle yeah. [Sabrina]: I did. [Christian]: Yeah. Now what I am curious about being kind of a tech…techy person I guess. Is kind of that nexus for you like you talked about you got into coaching and you’re speaking to Google. And you are able to use your background in technology and then kind of influence the industry, start your own brokerage. You also have a couple of your own books. Can you tell us how all that came about to kind of become… [Sabrina]: Absolutely. [Christian]: Kind of become an influencer in your market. [Sabrina]: So the book came abbot because you know they say you have to write a book once you are asked the same question over and over. And it was just that. It was the people that sat beside me at the old brokerage that are watching me grow my own brand and I am everywhere. I have a following. I have closed sales. I have signs in yards. I have people that believe in me. I have a business. I have a brand. You understand.
And so I am getting asked things like “What cloud based storage do you use?”. And so I have a whole list of apps that I start talking to people about. Evernote. I was like so hung up on Evernote for a while. Facebook. Of course. LinkedIn, Tweeter, Instagram. On and on and on. And so that was just that questions. It’s like “Now how do I use those tools?” That was book number one in 2003.[Christian]: Got you. OK so that was kind of a book to answer all those questions that you were asked a lot by other in the industry? [Sabrina]: A resource guide. Yeah. [Christian]: A resource guide OK. And then tell us a little bit about your second book and what you said you know you kind of passionate about now because of your kids and kind of the role of technology in your background. [Sabrina]: Yeah so Social Etechquette the new book. Communicating with a Conscious Mindset. Is all about how we’re communicating now with technology. How people are suffering from text neck syndrome. You’ll see people walking like this. OK. With their head down all the time. They’re not focused. Their patience is slow. My son literally would have a meltdown if he didn’t have Wi-Fi.
Come on you know it’s just those things. And so people have social anxiety in social settings and social circles. How do they behave? Do they default at hiding behind a computer or screen because they got imposter syndrome? You heard about that? [laughter]. You know it’s a real thing so that’s what propelled the second book. Social Etechquette.[Christian]: OK so who would you say that that book is written for? I am imagining you know kind of knowing myself and having written in several books kind of going about what technology does to us and being intentional about it. I would imagine most people wouldn’t realize they need that until they’re already seeing the effects of it? Is it too late? Is it possible you know to curve that behavior and mitigate the negative consequences of too much screen time as it were? [Sabrina]: Absolutely and that is why I wrote the book. It’s like all the moms in my circle when we go out on play dates and we’re watching our kids in wrap or hey I am in a business meeting at the board room. I have for the first time the call chain of comers has a written policy ‘no cell’ phones in the meeting. [Christian]: Love it. [Sabrina]: I was like “Way to go like I am down with that”. Like…And then also as another example my family was involved in a car accident at the end of April this year. Because this man was with his dog on the phone. Eating a palm sandwich I call it right. You know when you can’t put your phone down. [Christian]: Yeah [laughter]. [Sabrina]: And that caused my family grief and pain. I am still suffering from numbness and tingling in my finger because I was the driver trying to save my family’s life form this man running a red light and hitting my brand new car, a 4 months old. So I have a pledge in my book. “Don’t text and drive. Matter of fact it’s the law now in our state. If it’s not in your state it should be”. [Christian]: Yeah in Washington State you’re not allowed to have anything in your hands. [Sabrina]: Yep. [Christian]: It…You have to have a headset. You can’t hold it. You can’t have it in your lap. You got this no texting and driving so… [Sabrina]: Exactly. [Christian]: If you want to…if you wouldn’t mind maybe dive a little bit deeper into what you know first book it sounds like it was created to answer a lot of questions. The second book I think it sounds like you have kind of a more personal beginnings as far as you know why…I guess why this matter is how we use technology matters and how it is affecting us. [Sabrina]: It matters to me because I watch children suffer and adults. I’ll give you 2 examples. I will start with the children. So how recently have you walked onto a playground and watch families interact on the playground? The parents are all sitting on the park benches sitting around and they’re… every single one of them are on their phones. No one is running around with their kids. No one is having interaction with their kids. They’re all with the head down. Right? [Christian]: Yeah. [Sabrina]: So I am conscious of that. I am aware of that. I get up and I talk to the mom that I actually see 5 days a week. You know what I mean. [Christian]: Well… [Sabrina]: Go head… [Nathan]: I guess I was gonna say don’t they call that FOMO? [Sabrina]: Yeah. [Nathan]: Yeah you know people got fear of missing out. What’s happening. Right? [Sabrina]: Yeah yeah and it’s stupid. Why? For the 30 minutes that you can focus on this baby? I am not gonna get 8 years back if I miss all of that while he is on the playground. I want to run around with him. I want to get my steps in. And here comes technology. I am counting my steps in my smart device. So I am integrating the technology. [Nathan]: Sabrina you don’t want to miss out on that chance of a lead do you? [laughter] What happens if you miss a lead? I mean you’re a realtor. You know you don’t want to miss out on that lead. That’s the argument I hear all the time and I will go back to what you said earlier and I think this a classic just cluster [censored] if you would of most agents as you said something that really stood out to me. You said “I am a mother first”. [Sabrina]: Yeah. [Nathan]: The problem to me with most agents out there is they want to be a realtor first before they’re any damn thing else. Their priorities are all [censored] up. And so you know what? If I miss a lead guess what, I miss a lead. My life is not gonna end, right? I agree with you that you know you’re not gonna get that 30 minutes back. That hour or whatever it may be.
I think it’s important that you prioritise but I applaud for having the self-awareness to say “I am a mom. That’s what I…that’s what I do.” You know I am a dad and that’s who I am. Realtors is probably about maybe about the 4th thing on my list I guess. You know it’s just…I would say probably even for Christian you know and what I know of him as…I see a realtor yeah but he is a lot more than that before that. So…[Sabrina]: See I love that. I love that. Listen you’re giving me goose bumps over here that resonates with me so much. [Nathan]: I think it resonates with the smart ones in the industry. [Sabrina]: Because there’s balance. You have to have balance just start with that. [Nathan]: Well I don’t even…I disagree with you on that. I don’t like balance. I thrive in chaos. I mean I am full tilt like I am in a sprint or I am in a stand still. That’s partially because I got ADHD but it’s…that’s the way it operates. So chaos works for me but I have to prioritise these things. And you know we talk about this a lot.
And Christian if you ask…Chris is not here. He would ask about my CRM. I am failing miserably still. [laughter]. But it’s about prioritising those things that are right. So what I…you know I wanted to ask about the book and maybe we got off course here or not but do you talk in your books about…You know we’ve talked a lot about technology lately. But here is my thing and Chris kind of brought it up. Is, if you talk about it now to me you’re too late for the party.
I feel like you’re kind of the bridesmaid instead of the bride. I had a lender the other day who said “Hey let’s do some Facebook marketing”. And I said “No.” And he said “Why not?”. And I said “That is what everybody is [censored] doing. Everybody is doing it”. He said “Well what do you suggest?”. I said “You know me I don’t want to be like anybody else”. He said “Well give me something.” I said “Why don’t we jump on Instagram. Not a lot of people are on Instagram”. He said “But why?”. And I said “Well let’s take my wife for example and her friends. Guess what they’re not on anymore?”.[Sabrina]: Facebook. [Nathan]: Listen I want to give everybody out there the listeners that do listen. Let me clue you into something. Middle aged women are not on Facebook. The ones that are making the decision in the home are not on Facebook. They’re on Instagram. And I thought was it because the amount of marketing like Facebook is turning into the new LinkedIn for jobs whatever for marketing? But I asked actually one of my neighbours and said “Why did you all stop?”. She said “Why? Because I can get on Instagram and it’s not a [censored] party.” [Sabrina]: Right. [Nathan]: And that was when a lightbulb went off and I was like “Wow now I get it.” So… [Sabrina]: Right it’s not clicky. It’s just all of it. It’s just a different animal. [Nathan]: And it’s all good. [Sabrina]: It is all good. [Nathan]: You don’t see…You don’t see bad. [Christian]: And you talk to a millennial like Facebook from their perspective is for people. No young person is on Facebook you know. They moved into Instagram or whatever. Snapchat. And a lot of reasons for that you know it’s less tech space. You know you can’t post links. You know you can’t get like a comment war. It’s pretty. [Sabrina]: And you gotta deal with their whole analytics in the back. Forget about it. I don’t have time for that at this moment. I am a mom. Hello. I don’t have that amount of time. I use the tool. Very strategic now. Don’t get me wrong. [Nathan]: OK right. [Sabrina]: I get on and I am lost. And people are like “You didn’t see my posts? You didn’t like my posts?” I am sorry I am not there for that. I see you when I see you to do that. [Christian]: Yeah you don’t have 3 hours a day to spend you know flipping through your feed. Yeah. [Sabrina]: No I am sorry I don’t. [Nathan]: You’re strategic about what you do. [Sabrina]: I am always strategic. That is the thing for me. I like that word. I call it a method to my madness. That’s my different…That’s my definition of being strategic. [Christian]: Strategery. [Nathan]: Yeah it’s purposeful. [Sabrina]: Say that again. [Christian]: Yeah I said strategery evidently. [Sabrina]: Ooh I like that word. Ooh just like that. Strategery.. [Christian]: Yeah. Nathan. One of the thing I love about you is that you are brutally honest. Whether or not it’s gonna be popular. And I think you’re one of the few agents that is honest in the sense of kind of embracing the chaos of real estate. Because I know a lot of agents like they don’t want to be organised. Because they love the ups and downs, the stress, the go-go-go.
You know but I mean I don’t think it’s healthy for us. But I think it also ties into kind of the conversation about technology. I was watching the 15 minute Simon Simmons [phonetics] clip the other day.[Sabrina]: Simon? [Christian]: Yeah he was talking about kind of the bad rep the millennials get and their you know technology and screen time and stuff. And he did a really good job at breaking down you know the addiction factor of screen time and the effects it is having and you know not just millennials. [Nathan]: [inaudible] [Christian]: Yeah exactly. I mean I feel it myself. I gotta resists. I gotta put things in place like “Hey our table is a screen free zone. We don’t have our phones in the table because it’s time to talk to each other face to face”. [Sabrina]: That’s right. That’s right. And to make a point here. Not to cut you off. [Christian]: No don’t worry go ahead. [Sabrina]: But I want to address the whole “What about missing a lead?”. So that was like the point Nate right? [Nathan]: Yes. [Sabrina]: So here is my feedback on that. If as my client, you don’t understand that my priority is my family first you’re not the client for me. So the whole missing of a lead, I take my professional time to be responsive in a timely manner. However, I also establish those you know those hard minds. After 5 the expectation should not be. If I am giving you the curtesy of returning a call that’s the different thing. Right? I made an executive business decision. My outdoors are posted so you should not have an attitude that it is 7:59 p.m. while I am bathing my son. I am not answering your call. [Nathan]: Lady if we were in the same room I would high 5 and hug you [laughter]. Because amen to that. That is right and for those that listen again hey it’s boundaries right. We all talk about boundaries in a personal life. You can make them in a professional life too. And I agree with you 1000%. [Sabrina]: Right. [Nathan]: If you don’t respect me. I don’t respect you. Well than we are not meant to be. Let’s just quit it. [Sabrina]: I don’t…I don’t call it losing money though you know what I mean? There is so much business for every single one of us. If you don’t want to take a number and get in line and wait for the fabulous me I am sorry. [Nathan]: I call it a thank you. [Sabrina]: I do think it’s a thank you. [Nathan]: Thanks. That’s right thank you for saving me the trouble of dealing with a pain in the [censored]. [Sabrina]: There you go. [Nathan]: So Sabrina I like to ask some questions to the guests we have on here. As I was telling you earlier, fabulous book for those who like to read I have talked about it quite a few times. Tribe of Mentors. In fact, my wonderful co-host Chris here just got the latest copy of it for his birthday so happy belated birthday to Mr. Harris there. [Christian]: Thank you. [Sabrina]: Awesome happy belated. [Nathan]: I sent it to him. Awesome awesome book. So I am gonna ask you a few questions. And I want to know your thoughts and your answer I should say. [Sabrina]: Got it. [Nathan]: And not your thoughts. So first question. If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it what would it say? [Sabrina]: Let’s talk. [Nathan]: Let’s talk. [Sabrina]: Not let’s text. [Christian]: [inaudible]. [Sabrina]: Just those 2 words. That’s it. [Nathan]: Let’s talk. Let’s not text. Let’s not Facebook message, email. All of that. Let’s talk. OK. [Sabrina]: Let’s have a conversation. [Nathan]: gosh I like that. When you’re feeling overwhelmed or unfocused what do you do to get that focus back? [Sabrina]: I roller skate til’ the wheels fall off. I get a good 2,3 hours of roller skating in. [Nathan]: For you millennial people that is what us older people did when we were kids. And it was really enjoyable. [Sabrina]: Yep. [Nathan]: We would go to something called a roller skating ring back in the day. [Sabrina]: Yep yep. [Christian]: Is that still around? [Sabrina]: They sure are honey. I have skates, wheel travel passport. Wheel travel [laughter]. [Christian]: That’s awesome. [Nathan]: So…[laughter] in the last 5 years what is a new believe for behaviours or some sort of habit that has most improved your life? [Sabrina]: Time management has because of my son’s diagnosis. [Nathan]: Got it. [Sabrina]: That happened to my life in the last 5 years. In 2012 when I started my company that was not my worry. I was going at the speed of lightning. My team, I had 8 people. 55 listings over 5 million sold kind of thing you know as an individual competing broker let alone with the team’s production was. And it was. It was time management. It was “Oh my son needs me to go to speech therapy. Oh my son’s needs physical therapy. Oh my son has a breathing treatment today. Oh my son has sleep apnoea and I can’t sleep because I can’t sleep because I am worried about him stopping breathing in the middle of the night.” You know. [Nathan]: Right. And to your book’s point it has all been technology assisted. [Sabrina]: Yes. Because automation because like right now as I am working with you my assistant is sending me message about rents that is flowing in, late. You know. [Nathan]: Right right. [Sabrina]: So yes there is systems and people and delegation and progress in place. And I make sure I am consistent with that. I teach that and again I use Google’s platform among other tools. [Nathan]: Google you owe her some money because she has advertised you throughout the day [laughter]. Last question is what…or how has a failure or an apparent failure set you up for later success? [Sabrina]: OK so the failure would have been in not hiring the right people at the right time. I mean and I take that like it hurt me. It hurt me and it hurt me in business because I am a very transparent person. I do speak truth. I am always that leader. Unfortunately, I had the wrong people on board at the time when my son didn’t…So when I needed to delegate I couldn’t rely on those people. They would let me down. And so I think that as a manager I failed. I feel that like in my spirit I was just like “Ugh you’re the great boss of you girl but manager of all this is a little challenging”. [Nathan]: Wow and you know I can speak to that in the sense that when I manage people I don’t manage anymore but I know…I know Christian here he can…I am sure he can sympathise and empathise with you. [Christian]: I can relate. Yeah. [Nathan]: He can relate that’s very important. [Sabrina]: Yep. [Christian]: Yep. Jumping here. The…kind of going back to your latest book a little bit, are there other…in preparing for that are there other books and stuff you kind of read to, you know, provide not just anecdotal evidence and stories to your book but other aspects and other influences kind of in your research for talking about technology and how that affects people? [Sabrina]: Being a mom. [Christian]: That’s what you would recommend. Being a mom yes. [Sabrina]: Like that was the real case study. For real. [Christian]: Sure. [Sabrina]: Being at my son’s speech therapy. Watching him through that mirror window you know and watching how the therapist would engage with him to help him do better. You know. Literally just watching my son’s journey has changed my life. And when he was born one of my aunties said to me “God brought Caleb here to fix your life”. And I rejected the notion. I was like “Fix my life? Honey don’t you see I am on ABC, NBC, CBCF, Miami Harold, the top and the bombing of the year? What are you talking about?”.
Honey when I say that train was derailed just like me slapped in my face and real quick, all reality was my journey. My journey has been my research. My son’s speech therapists have been, the teachers having him in the wrong damn school with the wrong people that don’t understand a child with special incredible needs. Not understanding how to be a regulator of emotional behaviours. Trained professionals that are paid a lot of money to help my family.
Listen those are the research in the stories. I have been only address maybe one website and that’s because Barak Obama and Michelle Obama did the whole digital literacy and digital inclusion. And so of course I had to put the internet is for everyone in my book but what are you doing with it?[Christian]: Sure. Sure. I am going to have to…have to get a copy of your book. It sounds fascinating. One of…in my experience you know I do a lot of reading and one of the most…I mean I really love business books and you know philosophy and psychology and that kind of stuff. Kind of how people work fascinates me.
But one of the most influential books I have read on this topic is called The Next Story, Life And Faith After Digital Explosion. By Tim Challis. He is a Christian author so he has a Christian perspective. But it just is a really solid book of kind of going through all these difficult aspects of you know the history or technology and the research in science about how if you grow up on print versus digital and video that literally wires your brain differently. You think differently and kind of the long term effects. And not rejecting technology but being intentional about how we use it. So…[Sabrina]: I love it. [Christian]: So you’re not addicted you know. [Sabrina]: Yeah. [Christian]: But it’s…it’s fascinating. I would recommend it. [Sabrina]: You all have to email me that book title because I don’t have something to write with. Yeah I would share that link. [Christian]: Yeah we will put it in the show notes. And for our listeners who want to get a copy of either of your book, is that possible for them to do? How do they reach out to you for that? [Sabrina]: It sure is. So at the brand new website firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s alive. And it will be available on Amazon and Kindle this weekend. My graphic designer started the upload last night. So I think it takes 48 hours and we go live. [Christian]: Nice. Now you did say that the Social Etechquette was spelled a little differently. A little tongue and cheek. How do you spell that so we make sure we get that right? [Sabrina]: Yes it’s spelled E-T-E-C-H-Q-U-E-T-T-E, etechuette. [Christian]: Nice. I will make sure to put that in the show notes. And well thank you so much for joining us. It’s been a fascinating conversation. I…I am gonna reach out and get a copy of that book myself. [Sabrina]: Thank you. [Christian]: If our listeners want to reach out to you in your market what is the best way to do that? [Sabrina]: Instagram inbox. [Christian]: OK. [Sabrina]: I work off that. I make money off that. People slide in my DM and I don’t have a problem because they are respectful. They are hitting me for a purpose and a reason. And I am not getting hit on. It’s like real. I am putting messages out there. I am putting content out there but strategically because I need people to connect with me.
People ask me “Why don’t you have more followers?” I don’t care about followers. I don’t need to pay anybody to follow me. If there is value and you see benefits of the things I have to share and speak about you’re my people and that’s how I grow my village.[Christian]: Yeah that’s about the quality of the network not the quantity. [Sabrina]: That’s right. [Christian]: What is your Instagram handle? [Sabrina]: It’s my name Sabrina Lowery. [Christian]: Sabrina Lowery. Excellent. Well thank you so much for joining us. It has been…it has been fascinating. I am gonna go…I am gonna go follow up and follow you on Instagram. So… [Sabrina]: Sounds good. [Nathan]: Thanks for being on Sabrina. [Sabrina]: Thank you all so much. It has been an amazing conversation. Do you see that I like to talk to people? [Christian]: You’ve got some good stuff to say so we appreciate you joining us. [Sabrina]: Thank you have a wonderful day. [Christian]: Thank you. Bye bye. [music] [Chris]: Thanks for tuning in this week’s episode of the re:Think Real Estate Podcast. We would love to hear your feedback so please leave us a review on iTunes. Our music is curtesy of Dan Koch K-O-C-H, whose music can be explored and licensed for use at dankoch.net. Thank you Dan. Please like, share and follow. You can find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/rethinkpodcast. Thank you so much for tuning in everyone and have a great week. [music]