By Sylvester Cosby
Sharial Howard is a Licensed REALTOR® with @properties. She is a competent, resourceful, and skillful negotiator. She resides in the Bronzeville area of Chicago, IL. She met her supportive husband Damien Howard while attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. They will celebrate 14 years of marriage on August 22nd, and Gabrielle is their beautiful and smart 9-year-old daughter.
Sharial has been practicing real estate for almost 2 years full time, and loves nurturing healthy relationships with her clients. Sharial states “It’s not a transaction when I represent you. It’s an experience.” She believes that it’s the hard parts in life that move you forward so you can get to the better parts.
One of Sharial’s clients shared a testimonial at @properties stating “Sharial provided us with excellent representation on the sale of our multi-unit building. From coordinating with tenants for showings to networking with brokers, she does it all with speed and efficiency. She rapidly responded to all calls and questions, even when we called after normal business hours. Sharial cares about you and your success and is a rare find in Chicago.”
N’DIGO recently chatted with Sharial, who recently had 17 showings in one day. It was a very fulfilling day, and guess what, she’s just getting started!
N’DIGO: Hello Sharial! Tell me a little about yourself?
Sharial Howard: I was born in Hazlehurst, MS and relocated to Champaign, IL when I was 10 years old. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003 with a major in Speech Communication. I later earned my Paralegal Certificate at Northwestern Business College.
My older sister Kamika and I was raised by my mom – Laverne S. Anderson. She was a hardworking single parent who taught me how to work hard for what I want and for who I love. I also grew up in church, so Christian principles and my Christian worldview have guided my life.
You have 15 years of real estate law experience. Was it from work experience or did you attend college specifically for that?
The job market was terrible when I graduated from college in 2003. Since I was strongly considering attending law school, I thought it was wise to work at a law firm to gain practical experience and to determine if law school was the best fit.
How was your transition from Real Estate Law to actually selling Real Estate?
It was interesting to say the least. I experienced an exponential learning curve during the first year of my real estate career. I only made $500 my first year as a realtor, but I gained knowledge and connections that allowed me to flourish during subsequent years
Do you have any other certifications?
Yes. I am a certified Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE) and a Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA).
What made you decide to become a realtor?
I love people and real estate. I also became a realtor because of my innate passion to help others’ dreams come true. Purchasing a home is a huge investment and helping others accomplish that goal gives me great fulfillment. I have always been fascinated by real estate and would frequently drive around different cities just to look at homes. I’d also frequent open houses because I genuinely enjoyed looking at beautiful homes.
What sets you apart from other realtors?
I am relatable, reliable and relevant. I always find a connection point with my clients and genuinely build relational capital. I value the relationship over the transaction. My clients know that they can depend on me no matter what. I follow through with my commitments and consistently obtain education to serve my clients more comprehensively.
How is the real estate market doing and what do you think will happen to the market in the next year?
Generally speaking, things are picking up in the Chicago market. There are more listings hitting the market each day. I think that there will be a number of foreclosures and short sales in the next year as a result of COVID-19 and job unemployment.
How has COVID-19 affected business?
At COVID-19’s peak, inventory was very low and sellers were apprehensive to list their homes due to COVID-19. Now that businesses, parks, etc. are opening, more listings are hitting the market each day.
What advice would you give first time buyers? When should they start preparing to buy?
The first thing prospective buyers should do is pay down their debt. Then save for their down payment. Subsequently, they should check their credit scores. From there, they’ll want to get pre-approved and if they do not have a lender, their real estate broker, me, will e-introduce them to one. Once they’re pre-approved, we can start the search. The best thing about searching for your first home is that there is absolutely no pressure on you to make a decision.
It might take one month to find your dream home, or it might take a year. Proper pre-preparation prevents poor performance. As such, if you truly want to become a homeowner, you must properly prepare and plan to become a homeowner. If you are renting, you are still paying a mortgage, just not your mortgage. In my opinion, it makes more sense to pay your own mortgage, create equity and build generational wealth.
What tips can you give someone who is selling their home?
Curb appeal is key. Make sure your landscaping is on point. Be sure to hire a great realtor, (like me) to help assist with staging your home for pictures. Buyers will likely be introduced to your home online first, so it is imperative that you remove clutter and brighten up your home for pictures. In addition to pictures, utilize videos.
Some buyers like to tour the home online before physically touring the home. Make sure that you have maximum exposure online so that your home can shine. Repair all of those things suggested by your realtor. Please do not overpay for updates/renovations because those costs don’t necessarily mean value. Your real estate agent will advise you on your specific market.
Take advantage of lighting. Make sure all curtains are drawn and lights remain on for showings. Remove pets for showings. Make sure your kitchen is appealing and address any odors. Know the dates of all mechanicals and the roof. Finally, do not overprice your home.
What would your clients be surprised to know about you?
I auditioned for American Idol.
What’s your favorite meal to prepare for your family?
A seafood boil consisting of crab legs, lobster, shrimp, potatoes and corn served with pecan pie for dessert.
Who’s your favorite music artist? Your favorite song?
This is difficult. I have a lot of favorites. Whitney Houston. Honorable Mentions: Michael Jackson, Prince and India Arie. “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, “Butterflies” by Michael Jackson, “Purple Rain” by Prince and “Beautiful Surprise” by India Arie.
Which would you prefer: happiness or wealth?
Both, but if I had to absolutely choose, it’ll be happiness. I know a lot of wealthy people who are not happy.
Favorite quote or affirmation?
“The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is your knees to the floor. One who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.”
Best advice ever given to you?
Never take advice from a bitter or jealous person.
Sharial Howard can be reached at sharial@atproperties or 217-722-0135.
@properties is the #1 real estate firm in Chicago, providing its brokers and clients with the highest level of service in the industry. They have cutting-edge sales and marketing programs and a culture that values innovation, relationships and a strong local focus, yet they are global.