Welcome Diane Brehm to the Woods Bros family

Diane Brehm
Diane Brehm


Diane Brehm joins the Wilderness Hills office. She was born in Lincoln, also lived in Colorado and California before returning to Lincoln to live. She had been a RN for nearly 24 years, working on the ground floor of technology with the Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Programs at Bryan Hospital. She loves spending time with family and friends. She has volunteered for many organizations such as; Clinic with a Heart, Friendship Home, Stuff the Bus, Safe Quarters, Food Bank, Matt Talbot Kitchen, Meals on Wheels and volunteered at Center for People in Need. Diane can be reached at 402-770-4524 or diane.brehm@woodsbros.com.

Hartzell named first female president of local Home Builders Association

Lois Hartzell
Lois Hartzell

Woods Bros Realtor Lois Hartzell was installed Jan. 17 as the first female president of the Home Builders Association of Lincoln (HBAL).

Hartzell, an agent with the Lincolnshire Square office, has been in the home building industry for 14 years and has been a member of HBAL since 2002. She owns Vistar Homes, which was formed January of 2004 to bring in a line of affordable homes to the housing market.

Hartzell is active with HBAL, having supplied, cooked and served lunch to volunteers for the organization’s Santa Cop charity each year since 2000. She has served on numerous committees including, the Parade of Homes and the HBAL golf fundraiser committee. She received her Graduate Master Builder designation in 2009 and her Certified New Home Sales Professional designation in 2010.

She was on the Board of Directors for Northeast Family Center from 2002 – 2005. She is an active member of local and state REALTOR associations, as chair of the State Equal Opportunity Committee and  a member of the Affordable Housing Committee locally. Hartzell is also a member of  Remodelers Council, the Nebraska Thoroughbred  Association. National Association of Home Builders Women’s Council and is active in her church, along with being very involved with a clothing giveaway project for those in need.

Also at the HBAL Installation, Woods Bros Realty was recognized for being a member of HBAL for 55 years.

CNNMoney names Lincoln 16th-most affordable housing market

From the Lincoln Journal Star:

Lincoln is the 16th-most affordable housing market in the country, according to CNNMoney.com.

The website recently named its top 25 markets based on how well median income matches up to median home prices.

According to CNNMoney, Lincoln has a median household income of $67,613 and a median home price of $125,000.

“As in other heartland housing markets, the Nebraska capital enjoyed steady, unspectacular home price appreciation during the boom and has suffered little in the bust,” the website said in explaining Lincoln’s rank. “Buyers can expect to pay around $200,000 for a nice three-bedroom house.”

First-time buyers need to be focused, realistic

Affordable housing in the Lincoln, NE real estate market is becoming a rare commodity. If you are a first-time buyer in the under $100,000 range who is using FHA/NIFA’s ABC2 program or NeighborWorks First Home program and only need $1,000 to get into a house, here’s the reality of Lincoln’s market: houses that are in good condition and in popular areas are going fairly quickly and we are seeing multiple offers.

There are lots of buyers trying to take advantage of the remaining timeline for the tax credit so keep in mind that you have plenty of competition from your fellow first-time buyers. So, what does this mean? Get focused and get focused fast on what is important.

Don’t be unrealistic in what you can buy for your money, there are no ‘deals’ to be snatched up as so many of those HGTV® shows would have you believe. This is Lincoln, Neb., and our market has remained pretty stable in unstable times. ESPECIALLY in the under $100,000 price range.

Don’t be looking at houses beyond your price range either. Sellers are not going to give away their houses. Once you fall in love with a house outside of your price range, it will be nearly impossible to find one within your price range that will compare. You are just setting yourself up for disappointment. And the seller who had to leave for the showing, well they did so in good faith that you are actually qualified to buy their house–it’s just not right.

Sellers are in the drivers seat in this price range. Don’t think you are going to offer someone $10,000-15,000 less than what a property is listed at and actually think you are going to get your offer accepted.

Be realistic and listen to your real estate professional.

Open House at North Creek Villas to start Sunday

North_Creek_Villas_FCH_logoWoods Bros Realty and First Choice Homes are pleased to present an “Open House at North Creek Villas” March 7-14 at the townhome subdivision at North 20th Street and Fletcher in Lincoln, Neb.

Nine brand-new townhomes are for sale in North Creek Villas, and they include two-bedroom ranch plans and two-bedroom two-story plans. All feature two-stall garages and are priced from $118,400 to $144,400. The convenient location offers easy access to I-80 and North 27th Street.

For the event, the homes will be open Sundays from 1-5 p.m. and Monday through Thursday from 4-7 p.m., with no opens scheduled for Friday and Saturday.


First Choice Homes, is offering various incentives through the promotion. In addition, there is still an $8,000 first-time and $6,500 repeat home buyer tax credit available, not to mention already low interest rates.

First-Choice-HomesThe builder, First Choice Homes has built hundreds of homes in the Lincoln area for over 10 years. The company has been awarded an Honorable Mention award from the Better Business Bureau of Nebraska. First Choice Homes has teamed up with Gotcha Covered to select everything you need for your new home from carpet to kitchen cabinets, tile, light fixtures and all your home decorating needs. Their designers work with you for no extra charge.

The townhomes are listed by Beth Scholz and Rob & Teresa Predmore of Woods Bros Realty’s Lincolnshire Square office. For more information about the promotion, visit www.WoodsBros.com/NorthCreek.

Lincoln Housing Market Moves In Sellers’ Favor With First-Time Homebuyers

Article excerpted from KOLN-KGIN. View the original article and view the TV spot here.

The “sold” sign sitting in front of Kyle Schroer and Heather Hornung’s new home on Sherman street is the beginning of many firsts.

“I’m excited, personally. This is my first home purchase. It’s a big purchase but we have lots to do. Looking forward to it all..it’s a cool new adventure,” said Schroer.

The couple is part of a growing trend in Lincoln’s housing market – homebuyers scooping up starter-priced homes and bringing welcomed change to the real estate market.

Julie McManaman, President of the Realtors Association of Lincoln, said since January the average price of homes has steadily increased by more than $20,000 – from $138,000 to $158,500. While the average is still below the strong 2005-2006 market, the current prices are slightly higher than the same time last year.

“The lower end market has really moved rather swiftly, and it has actually in the last two months become a seller’s market where it has been a buyer’s market for the last year and a half,” said McManaman.

She credits the extended tax incentive for the sales boom.

“That $8,000 credit has really helped clear out some of the market of active listings. We’ve gone from about 2,400 listings and we’re down to 1,973 now,” said McManaman.

Schroer and Hornung say the incentive is the reason for their purchase this year.

“The tax credit was a big deal. The $8,000 was a big thing for us, so that helps financially a lot.”

Woods Bros Realtor Julie Carmer said many potential buyers don’t realize they can amend their tax return and get the credit still this year, but with a November 30 closing deadline – time is ticking.

“We don’t have any time to lose right now. We’re looking at two to three months to identify that house and make the offer,” said Carmer. “It’s going to be really crazy in October and November.”

Schroer and Hornung say they’re relieved to be through the search, avoiding the craze and moving on to moving in.

Lincoln ranks high for first-time homebuyers

By MATT OLBERDING / Lincoln Journal Star

A real estate Web site says Lincoln has one of the most affordable ZIP codes in the country for first-time homebuyers.

Cyberhomes.com ranked Lincoln’s 68507 third, after ZIP codes in Memphis and Phoenix, among places where homes are affordable for first-time buyers.

Cyberhomes.com examined nearly 7,000 ZIP codes across the country, calculating median income for each, and then looking at the median home price in the ZIP code.

The Web site then calculated how much buyers earning the median income for the ZIP code could afford to spend on a home – assuming a 20 percent down payment, 5 percent rate on a 30-year mortgage and a house payment of no more than one-third of monthly income.

A baseline score of 100 indicated that a person earning the median income could afford the median-priced home. Any score above 100 is considered affordable.

The 68507 ZIP code, which covers much of northeast Lincoln including Havelock and part of University Place, scored 313, meaning someone with the median income of $57,900 could afford a home more than three times the median price of $108,000 in that ZIP code.

For more of this story from Matt Olberding at the Lincoln Journal-Star, click here.

It’s a Good Time to Buy

The economy might still be struggling, but there is one group of people who are definitely buying.

First-time home buyers are taking advantage of low interest rates and a big tax credit from the government.

This past february President Barack Obama signed an incentive in the form of an $8,000 tax credit for first time home buyers.

At this Lincoln Woods Bros Office, they’ve seen almost 100 people jump on this offer.

Chris Goforth and his girlfriend Stephanie recently purchased their home and said the credit was a main reason to go ahead with the purchase.

“At the time when we were looking it was the original stimulus package of $7500 but every little bit helps and that was defiantly something we were going to plan on using,” said Goforth.

There are some rules to follow if you want to receive the $8,000 credit. First, you must be a new home buyer or haven’t owned a home in past three years. Once you purchase the home, you must live there for three years and you can’t make more than $75,000 individually or $150,000 collectively.

“I think people need to know right now is a great time to be buying a home, especially for these first time home buyers, this is a great time to be getting into a home,” said Andrea Schneider, a Woods Bros Realtor. “There hasn’t been a better time probably in 40 years as far as opportunities go for first time home buyers.”

For the rest of the story from Channel 8 Eyewitness News, visit:

‘How’s business these days?’

Usually, when someone finds out that I work as a real estate agent, the first question they ask is: “How’s business these days?”

My quick answer is always, “Great!” (whether I’m busy or not, it’s a good answer to give because I enjoy being a Realtor).  However, when I’m asked that question these days,  I answer “Great” because home sales are picking up again. 

After a slow fall and long winter, things are coming to life at real estate offices and open houses across Lincoln. Much of that activity has to do with record low mortgage interest rates and the $8,000 tax credit being offered first-time homebuyers as part of the Obama administration’s economic stimulus plan. 

According to figures from the Midlands Multiple Listing Service (MLS), 196 single family homes priced below $200,000 sold in Lancaster County last month (March, 2009). That’s compared to 144 sales of similarly-priced homes in February, 2009, or an increase of 27 percent. So far, April looks to bring even better numbers.

Continue reading “‘How’s business these days?’”

Hartzell receives affordable housing award

Lois Hartzell
Lois Hartzell

Lois Hartzell, Vistar Homes, was named the 2008 recipient of the Dan Peterson Affordable Housing Award. Given in memory of their son, Bob and Joan Peterson presented the award to Hartzell at HBAL’s 59th annual installation and awards banquet January 12.”The Dan Peterson award is thought of as the most valuable award that someone in our local industry can receive, because it is one from the heart,” Hartzell said. “I am so very honored to receive such an award.”

Hartzell and Rod Hornby, both of Woods Bros Realty, formed Vistar Homes in 2004 to bring in a line of homes to meet the affordable housing market. They continue to keep this as their primary focus and goal. For more information about Vistar Homes, visit www.VistarHomes.com.

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