Amy Duval Carlson named Regional General Counsel

Amy Duval Carlson
Amy Duval Carlson

Amy Duval Carlson joins Woods Bros Realty as Regional General Counsel.

Carlson is a graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan University and earned her law degree at Drake University in Des Moines. She previously was an assistant general counsel for Nationwide Insurance. She and her husband, Cliff, have two children: Heath, 11, and Hannah, 7. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family and running.

She will serve as legal counsel both for HomeServices of Nebraska companies out of Lincoln and CBSHOME Real Estate companies in Omaha, both Berkshire Hathaway affiliates.

Carlson can be reached at 402-817-2147 or Amy.Carlson@HomeServices.com.

Coming Soon: An All-New WoodsBros.com

Woods Bros Realty announces the upcoming release of all-new company and agent websites.

Responsive websites

The company partnered with Reliance Network to develop responsive websites that can be accessed from any device—from smart phone or tablet to desktop computer or smart TV, all without having to download an app.

“We’re excited to bring our clients a consistent experience, no matter where they are,” said Woods Bros IT Director Ben Dinger. “We will have one place for buyers or sellers to come to get the most accurate, local and up-to-date information for their real estate needs.”

Reliance Network specializes in technology for the real estate industry and recently released a new real estate search that caters to the ever-growing percentage of mobile users. WoodsBros.com will be among the first websites to launch this new search.

Home Value Tool

Another first is that the new websites will have a home value tool unlike any other in the local market. People can enter an address and get three different computer-modeled valuations of their homes, including the Zillow® Zestimate® value. They will also have the ability to enter adjustments for renovations and upgrades or contact a local real estate agent for a more accurate estimate.

Neighborhood Match

The companies also partnered with LiveBy, a Lincoln-based startup, to introduce a beta tool to help match people with their ideal neighborhoods. Visitors to the new sites will be able to use the exclusive tool to discover neighborhoods that meet their identified lifestyles and desires.

LiveBy was co-founded by Cory Scott and Matan Gill, as a result of the JumpStart Challenge issued by Woods Bros in 2015. LiveBy also took part in the NMotion Accelerator program in 2015, and—through Woods Bros connections—will be expanding the beta test into several markets across the country.

“At our company, we build community,” said Woods Bros General Manager Shannon Harner. “What’s a better way to build community than to support our local entrepreneurs and innovators, while also serving our clients and neighborhoods? It’s a win-win.”

Other features for home buyers and sellers

Finally, the websites will continue to offer a “Property Watch” account for viewing all listings in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and a new “Market Watch” feature for area trend and pricing reports. There are new tools for home selling clients to receive weekly updates on their home’s activity online as well. Woods Bros agents will each get new responsive websites that include the new features.

The sites are expected to launch end of March or first of April.

Tami Lambie named Country Club office managing broker

Tami Lambie
Tami Lambie

Tami Lambie joins the Woods Bros Realty Country Club Plaza office as its managing broker.

Lambie has more than 25 years of experience in mortgage, real estate, management, and title and therefore is well versed in many different aspects of real estate. She will lead and coach more than 45 agents in her office at 3737 S. 27th St. The location is fitting since her grandmother, Blanche Tyrrell, was actually an agent in that office.

“I’m honored and humbled to be given the opportunity to work with this group of agents,” Lambie said. “I look forward to helping them achieve their goals.”

Lambie and her husband, Marvin, have two sons: Dexter; and Ashton, who lives in Lawrence, KS, with his wife, Margaret. She is active in the Waverly and Lincoln communities.

Woods Bros Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, offers 127 years of real estate expertise. For more information about Woods Bros Realty, visit www.WoodsBros.com.

Foundation for Giving distributes $18k

Members of Woods Bros Realty’s Foundation for Giving committee recently gave out $18,800 in funds raised throughout the year to local charity organizations.

The Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving was established in 1987 by Pace Woods, Sr. to support those less fortunate in local communities. Every time a Woods Bros Realty sales professional closes one side of a transaction, the agent makes contribution to the Foundation, which is then matched by the company.

Each fall a committee of agents—selected by their offices to serve four-year terms—reviews all the requests and determines funding. A Woods Bros agent or employee must sponsor each request accepted by the Foundation.

Co-Chairperson Judy Sasek said she looks forward to hearing from the agencies in which Woods Bros agents are involved.

“It is very educational, and yet humbling at the same time, to learn about the numerous entities out in our communities assisting people in need of different services and outreach,” Sasek said.

This year, the transaction donation total was $13,000, with a last-minute appeal from the committee that raised an additional $5,800. Since the inception of the Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving, more than $330,800 has been donated.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with all the agents and the different agencies our agents are affiliated with,” said Arla Meyer, Foundation for Giving co-chairperson. “There is nothing better than being able to give back to our local communities, based off of the team effort of all Woods agents and the company.”

Some companies who were helped by the Foundation for Giving in 2015 include the Kids Against Hunger, St. Monica’s, Voices of Hope, CASA for York County, Community Crops, Lincoln Children’s Zoo, BackPack Program, Child Advocacy Center, Cedars Youth Services, Young Life, Friendship Home, Mourning Hope, Huntington School, Grand Island Habitat for Humanity, Youth Leadership LincolnSeward Youth Center, Lincoln Community Playhouse, and TeamMates Mentoring Program, Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries, The Bay, and Hope Harbor.

Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving Committee Members
2015 Foundation for Giving committee members were (left to right): Russ Quick, Joanne McCoy, Roger Reynolds, Jayne Debus, Mike Poskochil, Co-Chairperson Judy Sasek, Lois Kohmetscher, Co-Chairperson Arla Meyer. Front Row: Pat Schmidt, Linda McCall, and Shelly Nitz, presenting checks to Sarah McMaster of Huntington School.

Gene Ward retires after 45 years in real estate

Gene and Pat WardGene Ward, an Associate Broker at the Woods Bros Lincolnshire office, has announced his retirement effective Friday.

Ward has worked in Lincoln real estate for nearly 45 years, including 37 as a managing broker. He has served as president of the Realtors Association of Lincoln and the Nebraska Realtors Association and has been recognized by both associations as Realtor of the Year. Ward was named Woods Bros Realtor of the Year in 2012.

“My journey in this wonderful world of Real Estate has been rewarding beyond measure,” Ward said. “Most especially am I grateful for being associated with so many fantastic people over the years. … I am particularly grateful to Woods Bros Realty for the opportunities you have bestowed to me and so many friends here that have given me so many days of joy and happiness.”

Ward joins his wife, Pat, in retirement. His daughter, Karen Duncan, and a grandson, Matt Hardesty, continue on the family tradition as sales associates with Woods Bros Realty.

Hazel Abel Park, a quiet Near South retreat

Haels Abel Park

Roundus.com says it best: “Tucked away in Lincoln’s historic Near South neighborhood, this quaint, Renaissance-style park includes a gazebo, fountain, play area and benches all surrounded by an ornate cast iron fence.” And that, in a nutshell, is Lincoln’s own Hazel Abel Park.”

After renovations costing over $200,000 in 2010, Hazel Abel Park has kept its historic charm and beauty but added safety features that include trimmed hedges that allow watchful parents to see inside. The playground equipment was also moved to the front entrance, also for better visible access. The playground floor is a soft, black and white checkered pattern that is handicapped accessible. The checkerboard pattern is the perfect contrast to the aesthetically pleasing black fence, Victorian style benches and lighting fixtures, and of course the extensive gardening that intimately and strategically covers patches of the greenest grass.

A large fountain, columns, and a gazebo urge visitors to forget the world for a few minutes and get lost in a good book. Brides are attracted to the beauty and seclusion making the park a popular wedding spot.

If anything epitomizes the phrase “tucked away,” it’s Hazel Abel Park. And on the way to this quiet retreat on the corner of 18th and E Street, there are plenty of stops along the way to enhance the peaceful experience. A quick stop at the longstanding and infamous Zesto’s, or a mouthwatering lunch at the nearby 9 South CharGrill make a visit to Hazel Abel not just an activity, but an entire experience.

At first glance when walking inside the gates of Hazel Abel, it’s reminiscent of a scene from Alice in Wonderland, or the magical world of Willy Wonka. The playground equipment is simple, but unique and engaging.

A five year old explained “The spinny thing! The spinny thing! The other parks don’t have that spinny thing!” And then he ran off, full of glee, of course, to spin.

The playground equipment proves that for kids, simple is the most stimulating. A simple metal slide, climbing equipment, and see-saw are more than enough to elicit giant grins on the faces of children. The grins are almost impossible to see as the kids speed around the enclosed park, imaginations and tiny legs soaring with pure joy.

The land for Hazel Abel was purchased in 1960, and named lovingly after the purchaser’s mother, Hazel.

Regardless of which part of Lincoln you live, this park is worth a first, second, and third look. It will quickly become a family favorite, either for childhood play or just a place for peaceful reflection with more than a few friendly squirrel companions.

Woods Bros agents plant 125 trees at Pioneers Park

Woods Bros Realty agents and staff
Woods Bros Realty agents and staff gather to plant trees.

 

Woods Bros Realty agents and staff recently planted 125 trees in the Pioneers Park area, in honor of the company’s 125-plus years in the community.

Woods Bros Realty worked with Lincoln Parks and Recreation to line several areas of the park and the golf course with trees. The company wanted to give back to the community, and decided to honor some of its history with Pioneers Park.

Legend has it that Mark Woods was the one who suggested to John F. Harris that he should gift a park to the citizens of Lincoln. It was also reported (by F. Pace Woods II in his “Keeping the Pace” series) that the Woods family donated evergreen trees and lilac bushes from their nursery.

Arla Meyer
Arla Meyer

Arla Meyer, managing broker of the Woods Bros Lincolnshire Square office, coordinated the event.

“This is a way to give back to something Woods Bros was a part of since the beginning,” she said. “It’s the little things that can and do make a difference.”

Dozens of agents and staff arrived at the park September 19, 2015, and had 125 trees planted in just over one hour.

See more photos from the event.

 

Lincoln’s Little Free Libraries

Little Free Library
A Little Free Library in Thompson Creek neighborhood in Lincoln.

Lincoln has always been a city that encouraged community involvement through literature. From summer reading programs at the public libraries to One Book, One Lincoln, the city thrives in the works of great writers. A more recent trend catching the attention of the nation are Little Free Libraries. Beginning in the early 2000s, Tedd Bol, of Wisconsin, founded the nonprofit organization Little Free Library. The aim of this organization is to promote literacy in communities by encouraging people to build birdhouse-like libraries on their properties. After being stocked with books, community members are encouraged to browse the shelves of these boxes to pick up a book in exchange for another. After a few years, the sensation swept its way to Lincoln, Nebraska where there are now over 50 Little Free Libraries (LFL) scattered across the city.

“It’s like giving life to books that otherwise might just be sitting on a shelf somewhere collecting dust.” says Sarah Wheeler, a Lincoln resident.  She continues, “It’s getting to put an adventure you have been on into someone else’s hands to enjoy while picking up a new mystery for yourself to discover.” These sentiments are echoed across every type of person Lincoln has to offer.

Each owner of a Little Free Library who registers with the nationwide nonprofit receives a spot in the national index as well as a sign to hang on their library. Owners take books from their own collections or receive books by donation to start the “Take a Book, Leave a Book” trade. Some libraries are host to guest logs in which participants in the exchanges express a great deal of gratitude for the opportunity to experience new literature. Often they write about how thankful they are to find books for all ages. Individuals praise the concept of sharing not only meaningful books, but also experiences.

“For me it’s the people I’ve met. From neighbors wanting to talk to me about my LFL to meeting other LFL stewards in Lincoln,” states Bob Dipaolo. “I never would have had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people in person & online if not for my Little Free Library. Little Free Libraries are SO much more than the books. It’s community.”

HomeServices of Nebraska announces new hires

HomeServices of Nebraska recently promoted Andie Gaide to Director of Education for the Larabee School of Real Estate and hired Turan Odabasi as Regional General Counsel, David Kaseman as Sales Force Business Development Manager, and Lindsey Cox as Home Warranty Coordinator.

Gaide has held four positions within the company within the past four years, which allows her to see the real estate business from the point of view of an agent and a staff member. She will continue as Director of Home Owners Plus, the company’s home services membership program, in addition to heading up the real estate school. Gaide holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Communication from Concordia University in Seward. She grew up in Colorado in a real estate family and loves to stay active, cook and spend time with friends and family.

Odabasi previously spent 21 years at the University of Nebraska, the last 11 of which were as Associate General Counsel. Originally from St. Paul, Neb., he holds a bachelor of science from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Nebraska College of Law. He was a member of the Leadership Lincoln Class XVII. Odabasi and his wife, Cynthia, have two daughters—Cassie, 26, and Rachel, 12—and a Labrador Retriever, Trixie.

Kaseman, in his new role, will help Woods Bros Realty agents build their businesses while achieving a positive work-life balance. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Westmar College and was previously a sales force trainer for 3M Company, owner of Physicians Business Management, and has been a REALTOR® since 2010, having been named Woods Bros Realty’s Shining Star for his success as a new agent. He enjoys gardening, yoga, grilling, and raising two young children.

Cox will work as a liaison between Woods Bros clients and the company’s home warranty provider. She comes from Nelnet and has years of customer service experience, including hospitality and timeshare. She was raised in Lincoln and graduated from Lincoln High School, then attended McPherson College in Kansas. She and her husband, Joey, have a four-year-old son, Peyton. They enjoy camping, traveling, swimming and spending time with family and friends.

Woods Bros Realty honors Lifetime Achievement agents

Woods Bros Realty would like to recognize these professionals on earning Lifetime Achievement status with the company: Rosemary Horner, Judy Holechek, Jane Hermsmeyer, Sandra Harder, Dennis Flesner, Mike Gutschneritter, Dick Young and Paul Devries.

Lifetime Achievement recognition is largely based on the number of years of service and career contributions to Woods Bros Realty.

“It’s an honor to have worked with and learned from these career professionals through the years,” said CEO Gene Brake. “They are an asset to the Woods Bros Realty family, and we are grateful for their loyalty.”

Woods Bros Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, offers 126 years of real estate expertise. For more information about Woods Bros Realty, visit www.WoodsBros.com.

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