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In 1974, David Howard, after being discharged from the service, picked up a temporary job working as a welder. He decided to take on some part time sales work as well, and after experiencing some remarkable early success, he took it up full time. But ultimately, Howard became disillusioned with some aspects of the business and decided it was time to make another career move. “I opened up the paper and saw an ad for a prominent real estate agent in town. I went in and talked to him and left knowing that I wanted to sell real estate.”

Howard, a pastor’s son who moved around frequently during his childhood, found himself taken with the dynamic Mid-Western city of Kalamazoo, Michigan and decided it was the perfect place to, not only start a career, but to make a home for he and his wife, Carol. After getting his license, he started working at the brokerage firm of Ty Carter. “I was new in town when I first started — I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t have a center of influence, so it took me a lot longer to get established. My first eight months working for Ty, I only made one sale. At the time, I honestly didn’t know why he kept me around. And then in October of that year I made seven sales in one week, and I’ve been off and running ever since.”

When Carter retired, in 1980, Howard opened his own office, and eventually bought a Century 21 franchise six years ago. “I decided that I needed more visibility throughout the world. The Kalamazoo market had become really aggressive, especially in the area of corporate relocation, and I wanted to be competitive in that area. I started looking at franchises, and liked what Century 21 had to offer.”

Although there are multiple reasons behind Howard’s impressive success, his unique approach to sales has been his most valuable asset. “I don’t believe in the popular business philosophy of ‘winning through intimidation.’ I’ve done really well by focusing on building relationships. I believe that if you want to be in business long term, you need to build a relationship with your client rather than just thinking of it as another sale. I worked really hard to build a foundation for the future. I didn’t just want the sale ‘now,’ I wanted the sale in three years, in seven years, whenever my client decided to move again.”

With marketing and advertising services far and above anything offered by his competitors, it should come as no surprise that Howard has exceptional sales stats. “Sixty-six percent of our homes sell in the first listing period. That number shoots up to 83% when the listing is a cooperative sale. That’s solid evidence that we’re doing a great job of getting people in to see the homes.” In fact, Howard has earned a reputation for doing the seemingly impossible with homes that have sat on the market for extended periods. “Call me and I’ll get it sold.”

Howard, a self-proclaimed people person, is well known in Kalamazoo for his open invitation to join him at breakfast for no-strings-attached real estate advice. He credits  a Dale Carnegie course for helping him break out of his shell. “To get up in front of a lot of people and just pontificate… it was tough. But it really enabled me to get over some of the inhibitions I had about public speaking.”

Howard is a two time Century 21 Double Centurion Award winner (2011, 2012) and was honored to be named on the 2012 REAL TRENDS/Wall Street Journal “The Thousand” list of top real estate professionals in the country.On track to make the cut again this year, Howard has one more goal in mind: “I’d like to be the first person in Michigan to make it three years in a row.”

But what it really comes down to for Howard is the people and the community that he represents and calls home. “Kalamazoo is just a great all around town. There are a lot of arts and a wonderful creativity among the people. The industries here are very diverse, so there’s lots of opportunity. It’s not a big city but it has all of the amenities of a big city. Chicago, Indianapolis and Toronto are all just hours away. I love living here. Some people call the Midwest a fly-over zone, but if they choose to look at it that way, they’re missing  one of the best parts of the world.”

Top real estate agent Dave Howard, Broker/Owner
CENTURY 21 C Howard Kalamazoo,


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