Constructing a career with Sarah Carter

Sarah Carter, Construction & Design Manager + Realtor 

Sarah Carter, Construction & Design Manager + Realtor 

We recently sat down for a Q&A session with Sarah Carter, an ambitious San Antonio woman with a dual career flipping and selling homes. A San Antonio native and proud alumni of the University of Texas at San Antonio, Sarah is passionate about her city and finding ways to enhance it. As a Construction and Design Manager for SA Renovations, Sarah manages projects, including renovation timelines and budgets, oversees construction crews, and designs the final touches of renovations. 

Sarah’s love for real estate and interior design motivated her to pursue a career in construction. Her passion for the industry has continued to grow, so much that she obtained her real estate license in 2017 and added “Realtor” to her growing resume. 

We talked to Sarah about how she has been able to create her own custom career focused on her passions for real estate and interior design. Here is what Sarah shared with us:

Tell us a little about your upbringing. What role models have you had that have shaped you into the person you are today?

I grew up in San Antonio and spent my high school years in the Hill Country. I loved growing up in the city, but have been grateful for my time out in the peaceful Hill Country. Living there taught me to slow down and appreciate the little things in life. When I graduated high school, I saw potential and growth in San Antonio and knew that I was ready to return and be a part of a city on the rise. 

I have been fortunate to have a large, loving, and supportive family. They have helped shape me into the person I am today. My biggest role model is my late mother, Rebecca. Her work ethic was commendable. As a single mother she was always working to make sure my sister and I were supported and had everything we needed. She pushed us and encouraged us to try new things. My mother always strived for perfection. She sought to do things the right way and always treated others with respect. She was a true boss lady. I watched her climb the corporate ladder and put in hours and hours of hard work. She had an entrepreneurial spirit which unquestionably rubbed off on me. If my mother wanted something, she went out and got it, no excuses. I miss her every day and strive to carry on her legacy. 

Sarah's mother Rebecca (front center), leading a team meeting

Sarah's mother Rebecca (front center), leading a team meeting

How have you managed two major career roles – a Construction & Design Manager and Realtor?

I find these two roles overlap and coincide well together. My experience in both fields has helped me grow in each role. My construction experience has improved my skills as a realtor by enabling me to help my clients find a well-built, safe home. My experience with home inspections allows me to guide my clients through the issues they should address when purchasing or selling a home. 

On the other hand, being a realtor has improved my craft in home renovations. When I show potential buyers a home, I listen closely to what they like and dislike and find ways to apply that feedback in my renovation work. Working with homebuyers has given me an advantage when it comes to designing a home.

How have you adapted to your role in a predominately male industry?

I have adapted by sticking to the facts. When we have something we need to repair or get done, we work together to do it. Typically, there is ample opportunity to learn from each other. I have realized that we all have different ways of accomplishing a task and that has helped me learn to ask questions and learn as much as I can from others. When I work with plumbers or technicians, I always ask tons of questions and try to expand my knowledge. 

Checking in with her crew at a renovation project

Checking in with her crew at a renovation project

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from creating your own career?

I am still learning and will continue to learn. Each house we remodel and each real estate contract we sign is different. I have learned to be observant, stay open minded, and ask questions. The biggest lesson I learned is to have confidence in myself. I learned to stop comparing myself and my business to others and to truly focus on myobjectives and goals. I learned to embrace the vulnerability and to just be authentic. 

Where do you find your creative inspiration?

Everywhere! I try to find the beauty in ordinary things. In the past, it has been colorful stained glass, old wall paper behind drywall, or even hidden shiplap! Old drapes or curtains in a house often give me an idea for a color scheme. 

Traveling has also given me a lot of creative inspiration. I love visiting other countries or cities and seeing their architecture and learning about their history. The detailed craftmanship in old European cities amazes me. You do not see that level of craftmanship today. At the Florence Cathedral, the Duomo marble floors are stunning. I dream of the day that I have the budget for Italian marble floors on a project. In San Antonio, the McNay Museum’s colorful tiles intrigues me. 

Florence Cathedral

Florence Cathedral

Tile from the Florence Cathedral

Tile from the Florence Cathedral

Tile from the McNay, San Antonio, TX

Tile from the McNay, San Antonio, TX

If you could share one home renovation or home purchasing tip, what would it be?

For home purchasing, I always say “look past the pretty.” Look beyond the cute tile, pretty paint color, and staged furniture. Sometimes I pick up rugs to check the floor for cracks or any signs of foundation issues. Check the large items like the roof, HVAC system, water heater, and potential leaks. Home inspections are a critical step in the home purchasing process; I strongly recommend inspecting before purchasing. 

For home renovations, know your measurements and numbers and always account for the unexpected. With most renovations, you will find unplanned issues. Get bids and estimates from professionals for your large ticket items, such as plumbing or electrical, before you start a project. I like to keep a miscellaneous category in my budget for those unexpected repairs.

What is the number one thing on your bucket list right now?

Starting my own platform for sharing my experiences from purchasing and flipping homes. I want to teach people how to flip properties, share maintenance tips, and showcase my love and passion for design. I have been inspired by the growing San Antonio community. So many female entrepreneurs and supporters have motivated me to share my passion and promote a community that chooses collaboration over competition. 

I cannot leave travel off my bucket list. Travelling is where I get so much inspiration. Dubai is high on my list for the modern architecture and I would love to see the world-renowned ruins in Athens, Greece. 

Sarah sharing her design ideas with other women

Sarah sharing her design ideas with other women

Where can other Florecer Femmes find out more about your work?

They can see me behind the scenes on my personal Instagram, @sarahnicolecarter. To see my real estate listings, they can visit my business page on Facebook, @realtorsarahcarter. For my home renovations, they can check out the SA Renovations website, www.sarenovations.com, or find us on social media @sarenovations.