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Agent Snapshot: Kimberly Howard, Broker, Dream Town Realty, Chicago’s North Side

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Kimberly Howard is an agent with Dream Town Realty in Chicago’s North Side.

What was your first job in the realty industry? My first job is with my current broker, Dream Town. I was attracted to the smaller-yet-powerful brokerage that gave me plenty of one-on-one time and training to get where I need to be.

Where did you grow up? I grew up three hours south of here, in a small town near Peoria. Moving here was terrifying – before I was in real estate, you could not pay me to drive in the city!

Growing up, what did you want to be? I’ve always had a sales side. That’s never changed. But I did not focus on real estate sales until later in life. I had a record deal offer in college, but decided to turn it down to pursue schooling, and I’m happy I did. I majored in communications, and I was an on-air news anchor for a while, so I became comfortable speaking with others. That has definitely helped me think on my toes in difficult situations in real estate, too!

What do you do to relax when you’re stressed? I find that with a busy real estate schedule, making sure I fit in “me” time is crucial for my clients, my well-being and, ultimately, my success as a broker. I make sure to fit in an hour workout five times a week to de-stress and rejuvenate, and try to do yoga to wind down in the evenings.

If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why? I would love to have lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt – what a fascinating woman she was. I would love to pick her brain!

Where is your favorite place to hang out? At home in my sweats with my husband and dog. I know – boring – but I get to sight-see and run around all day, so my favorite place is in my two-bedroom condo with my family.

What do you love most about the industry? I love meeting new people and being a “connector” to help others. I’ve helped people get jobs by connecting them with people I’ve met; I’ve helped link two people who otherwise wouldn’t have met for various situations; and I’ve tried to play matchmaker, but that has not worked out for me yet! Just being able to meet people from all walks of life and connect them with other people is so neat to me.

How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents? I try to be natural, to-the-point and be uber personal. My personal goal is to return phone calls and emails within one hour of receiving them, whether it is another agent for a showing or a client who has a question, I’ve found (surprisingly) that many agents don’t prioritize communication and I think it’s so important. Also, I don’t give standard closing gifts. I always try to think about something personal we talked about, or something very unique and then make it extra special.

What is the most difficult aspect of your job? I would say the hardest aspect is that others not in the industry don’t understand the level of commitment, the time needed and the drive needed to succeed. It’s hard when I can’t plan dinners a week out because I just don’t know what my client schedules will dictate. Of course, I make time for weddings and the big events, but it’s often the little connection times that I have to sacrifice now in order to be able to have the freedom I want later in life.

Where do you go to network and meet new clients? Where do I NOT go is more the question! I try everything – MeetUp, after-work network events, local clubs, sporting events. I always go to things I have a genuine interest in and am authentic with my passion – I would never go to a technology meet-up, for example, because I don’t know a lot about that. But anything with cooking, being outside, yoga, etc. – count me in!

What has been your greatest accomplishment? I have had a lot of things I’m proud of, but most recently, about a month ago I was invited to speak on a panel with two others about real estate to Chicago young professionals who were alumni of my college, Illinois State University. It was so special to educate and present on today’s real estate market, and I love helping first-time home buyers!

What was the last good movie you saw or book you read? I am currently reading “Better Than Before”, which is a book all about the importance and science behind habit formation. It’s helped a lot in my personal life and business, and I highly recommend it!

What is your favorite restaurant? I love so many restaurants, but my favorite special-occasion restaurant is Micheal Jordan’s Steakhouse. It’s so good and I’ve taken clients there who have avoided it for fear of it being “cliche” or just didn’t think to go there. I am constantly impressed by the level of service and food!

Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Chicago? Easy – Marina City. Classic and beautiful.

What kind of car do you drive? BMW X3. Small, yet powerful!

Smartphone or paper? Smartphone.

What is your favorite city after Chicago? La Jolla, California.

In 10 words or less, what is your advice for someone new to the industry? Prospect, prospect, prospect, sleep…prospect, prospect, prospect, prospect, prospect, prospect.

What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app? MRED MLS – can’t do without it.

Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter? I don’t have a Twitter, but on Instagram I try to follow all the local start-up businesses, as I find that partnering and collaborating with them helps grow my business!

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