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Karriem Cherry, Owner of CherryPickingProperties, LLC


Picking the Perfect Property

Finding a real estate agent isn't difficult. But finding a good one — an agent who understands your needs as well as they understand the community — is a different story. And finding a good agent who is also a broker and an investor with an active interest in community improvement and youth support services is almost as difficult as finding a unicorn. That is, unless you know Karriem Cherry, broker, investor, and owner of CherryPickingProperties LLC in Lynn, Massachusetts. Because if you know Karriem and the team at CherryPicking, you know that such a combination is possible in the world of real estate.

How did the house buying, selling, and flipping planets align to make CherryPicking a reality? You can thank late night TV for that, at least in part. Karriem was working in insurance (what a great field!) when he had a realization: "It was the combination of a late-night infomercial and being around real estate people," says Karriem of what made him want to make the entrepreneurial career change in 2009. Working in a national insurance-sales call center, he was constantly dealing with people in real estate who were looking for insurance. And the infomercial, which is what inspired Karriem to pursue a "nontraditional" route into real estate, had to do with flipping properties using investor money.

"I didn't start out as a real estate agent," says Karriem of his life-changing move to become a solo business owner. "I started out as an investor." And even today, with a busy business and four agents who are proud to carry the CherryPicking name, investing sits at the core of his business and his overall philosophy. "When you have your license, it's great," Karriem says of what's important in a good agent. "It's an added bonus. But the actual mindset that I try to give [these agents] is, 'think like an investor.'" This mentality keeps everyone busy and focused on the next good move and, in part, it's what sets Cherry's brokerage apart from the rest.

"Most brokerages are traditionally minded in terms of real estate," says Karriem. "What sets me apart from other brokerages is that my focus is primarily on distressed situations." In other words, while the team at CherryPickingProperties can certainly help you find a new home or sell your current place, digging into the difficult properties is where it shines. And for Karriem it's about more than flipping properties for a quick sale.

He's called the North Shore of Boston home for more than 20 years and, after starting his own business and finding success as a result of his motivation and drive, he did a bit of philosophizing: "Being able to open my own shop, just grinding it out, had me reflecting on my upcoming, which wasn't all that great," Karriem recalls. And that reflection is one of the main reasons he got involved with YouthBuild, a community program that helps at-risk young people between 14 and 24 put their lives back together. From teens trying to find their way to unemployed contractors, Karriem gives these people a chance to use their skills or learn new ones while helping to restore distressed properties in the area.

That's almost heroic. But even heroes feel fear and, for Karriem, that fear was a challenge. "The biggest hurdle I faced [while opening CherryPickingProperties] was fear," remembers Karriem of first taking the leap. "Fear of not succeeding. It was just a state of mind." Fortunately, he faced that fear head on and came out on top.

It helps that he had a pretty solid mentor going into the business. Dave Seymour — yes, the same Dave Seymour who costars on A&E's Flipping Boston — helped Karriem overcome his fear and hit the ground running. Then, when it was clear that he was more than capable of running on his own, Dave offered him a great opportunity: A feature on the season four opener of Flipping Boston, "More for the Money."

So how does a busy, community-focused realtor / broker / investor / small-business owner find time for the everyday business details like insurance? Simple: He turns to insureon. Sure, Karriem spent a number of years working in the industry, but insureon was still able to impress. "The price was great," he says of his first impression after finding insureon via Google. "I felt sort of in my element." Most important, it was simple: "It was very easy. That was one main thing: It wasn't difficult."

And with insurance in the bag, Karriem can go back to his day-to-day life of helping people, flipping properties, making TV appearances, and wearing more hats than most people have in their closets. But he wouldn't change a thing. "I knew back in high school I couldn't really be the type that worked for somebody else," says Karriem of his entrepreneurial spirit. We think it's safe to say that the North Shore of Boston wouldn't want him to change a thing either.

To learn more about CherryPickingProperties, LLC, visit www.cherrypickingproperties.com New browser window icon..

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