Congratulations to our top professionals for 2016

­­Top Woods Bros Realty agents for 2016.Woods Bros Realty celebrated its top sales professionals with an Awards Banquet Feb. 9 at the Country Club of Lincoln.

Vladimir Oulianov
Vladimir Oulianov

Vladimir Oulianov of the Country Club office was named the Salesperson of the Year, in addition to the Most Transactions Closed, Most Listings and Sales Closed, and Highest Volume of Closed Listings and Sales. Oulianov also received the Century Award for closing more than 100 transact­­ions in the calendar year.

Bruce Hahn
Bruce Hahn

Bruce Hahn of the Country Club office was honored with the Woods Bros Realtor of the Year award for 2016 for his contributions to the company, the community, and his fellow agents.

The A Team
The A Team

The Sales Team of the Year was The A Team of the Lincolnshire office. Joanne McCoy of the Country Club office won the Excellence in Outgoing Referrals Sold award for helping people relocate in other communities.  The year’s Rising Star for most success within the start of her career was Victoria Keck of the Wilderness Hills office. Keck broke a company record for highest volume in an agent’s first year in real estate.

Ashley Person of the Country Club office earned the overall Outstanding Achievement award for his increase in sales from 2015 to 2016. Office Outstanding Achievement Awards also went to: Ben Bleicher, Lincolnshire; Kelly Shandera, Wilderness Hills; Linda McCall, Beatrice; Melanie Bachman, Grand Island; Kelby Nitz, Seward; and Gayle Coffin, York.

Top Sales Associates by office were: Oulianov, Country Club; Bleicher, Lincolnshire; Lois Kohmetscher, Wilderness Hills; Carol Schulz, Beatrice; Shelly Nitz, Seward; Chuck Winkler, Grand Island; and Gayle Coffin, York.

The late Gene and Pat Ward were inducted into the Woods Bros Realty Hall of Fame for their lifelong dedication to the company and real estate profession.

Pat & Gene Ward
Pat & Gene Ward

To see more of the top awards and photos, please visit www.WoodsBros.com/Awards.

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Must-See Holiday Lights in and around Lincoln

Must-See Holiday Lights in Lincoln, NEPiling the entire family in the car, armed with hot chocolate and the best Christmas tunes, is a time-honored holiday tradition. The goal, of course, is to drive around town to see the best holiday light displays. With all the hustle and bustle of every holiday season, this tradition is one of the best ways to just relax and enjoy the family. To make the most of your holiday light sightseeing, be sure and use this handy list to guide your tour around town:

Start Close to Home

The Lincoln Journal Star shares their list of must-see light displays from 2015, so it’s a great idea to check back at these locations to see how they’ve outdone themselves this year. But on your way there, don’t forget to check out your neighborhood. After you’ve decorated your own home, of course, take a drive around to see the creativity of your neighbors.

Nativity Scenes

Many churches offer a drive-through nativity scene in their parking lot. It’s a warm way to get into the holiday spirit. There are plenty around town to choose from, but you can start with the Journey to Bethlehem at Piedmont Park Seventh Day Adventist Church or the living nativity scene that Southern Heights Presbyterian Church hosts from December 15-16.

Lincoln’s Capitol

For an indoor display, you have to include the Christmas tree displayed inside of the Capitol building. The tree arrives each year during the first week of December, and it’s even decorated to represent each of the 93 counties in Nebraska. There’s plenty of history and learning involved, and the building is open to visitors every day except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Stuhr Museum

Grand Island is the perfect destination for Christmas tree enthusiasts. The Stuhr Museum has dozens of trees on display until January 4th. You’ll find the admission prices hard to turn down: ages five and under get in free, and tickets range from $4-$6 depending on age. The Stuhr hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and you can check out more details on their website.

Omaha

Whether you’re from Omaha or not, you can’t pass up all that the Old Market has to offer, especially during the Christmas season. There are endless restaurants and coffee shops to choose from for a quick snack or elaborate meal, and the mood is set perfectly with the light displays brightening up downtown. See other Omaha lighting displays from our sister company, CBSHOME.

Lincoln Children’s Zoo

Lastly, you can please everyone in the family, including the little ones, with a trip to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo to see Santa. The zoo offers The North Pole Express on December 1-4, 9-11, and 16-18. The zoo is decorated for the season and with a train ride, hot chocolate, elves, and Santa himself, you can’t go wrong. Learn more about times and ticket prices on their website.

Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving supports local charities

­­Members of Woods Bros Realty’s Foundation for Giving committee recently gave local charity organizations $16,400 in funds raised throughout the year.

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.

“Humbling, tear jerking and inspiring,” said committee member Jayne V. Debus in a plea to Woods Bros Realty agents for additional donations. “Only a few words to describe the past two days of listening to the needs of so many less fortunate people. Thank you for all your generous giving and your time to these worthy causes.”

This year, the transaction donation total was $11,800, with a last-minute appeal from the committee that raised an additional $4,600. Since the inception of the Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving, more than $347,200 has been donated.

“It is so awesome to see how many organizations are out there to help our friends, family and neighbors have the most successful lives possible,” said committee member Tyler Reynolds. “What may seem insignificant to us could mean a life changing experience for someone else.”

Charities receiving 2016 donations include: Bridges to Hope, St. Monica’s, Lincoln City Libraries, Food Bank of Lincoln, Lincoln Arts Council, Capital Humane Society, Hope Harbor in Grand Island, Lincoln Community Playhouse, Habitat for Humanity – Lincoln, Voices of Hope, TeamMates, Friendship Home, Huntington Elementary School, Lincoln Children’s Museum, YMCA Strong Kids Campaign, Elliott Elementary School, The Bridge Behavioral Health, Cedars Youth Services, CASA for York County, Make a Wish, Seward Youth Center, Habitat for Humanity – Grand Island, Pinewood Bowl Theater, and Young Life.

Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving members in 2016.
2016 Foundation for Giving committee members were (left to right): Russ Quick, Cindi Hahn, Co-Chairpersons Arla Meyer and Judy Sasek, Betty Sims, Shelly Nitz, Susan Vacarro, Staff Representative Nickie Casburn, Tyler Reynolds, Pat Schmit, Linda McCall and Jayne V. Debus.

Looking back on 2015 housing market, forecasting 2016

As we begin 2016 and reflect on the last 12 months, we would ultimately characterize 2015 as having been a very solid year for housing.  Early year-end numbers indicate that year-over-year sales nationally are up by about 10%, equating to roughly 5.3 to 5.4 million units of inventory (and compared to about 4.9 million in 2014).  The strong spring selling season in 2015 was indicative of the market’s overall strength, even while luxury sales activity appeared to have slowed slightly over the course of the last four months. Furthermore, as has been evident in the wake of the Fed’s December announcement, the long-anticipated interest rate increase is not predicted to have a large impact on home-buying activity in the year to come.

Locally in our Nebraska market areas, we saw a nearly flat year. Woods Bros Realty closed 3,157 total units, compared with 3,200 in 2014. However, the company’s closed volume is up 5 percent year over year. The luxury market, defined as homes $400,000 and up in the Lincoln market, was down in 2015 overall. Lincoln, Seward/York, Grand Island and Beatrice are all still experiencing a sellers’ market with fewer than six months of inventory available for sale.

residential market review 2015Looking ahead, here are some of the trends we’ll be watching:

  • 2016 will be a continuation of the housing market’s recovery: This will not be a “boom” or a “bust” year, but a “normal” one with reasonable expectations.
  • Millennials forming new households: This key segment of the consumer population has largely delayed purchasing homes; however, we are starting to see a shift from rentals to ownership among the demographic … and we expect 2016 to be a “break-out year” for these buyers.
  • Washington recognizes the need for affordability: We are seeing a move toward more normalized credit standards versus more risk-averse standards, essentially giving more qualified buyers the opportunity to own a home.  The banks, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have furthermore seen fewer foreclosures in the recent year, and we expect that trend to continue in 2016.
  • Boomerang buyers bounce back: Homeownership continues to be a very important dream among American consumers. While a number of people weathered the hardships of short-sales or foreclosures in the downturn, over the last five years, we have seen a gradual return of these buyers to the marketplace – another indication that the market has been successfully working through prior challenges.  People who may have been forced into rentals are now re-entering the market with home purchases.
  • By that same token, even with the dollar strengthening against other global economies, the American housing market will maintain its standing as a very safe place to park assets.

All that said, as the recovery continues and the strength of the industry grows, 2016 will be another important year for housing and its steady move toward normalcy.

Tucknott retires as relocation director

Jan Tucknott
Jan Tucknott

Jan Tucknott recently stepped down from her longtime position as Woods Bros Realty relocation director.

Tucknott jokes that she “is not tired” and is planning to spend more time with family.

“I have been honored to work with so many great people here at Woods Bros over the past several years,” Tucknott said. “I always loved the opportunities that each day presented me here.”

Nickie Casburn
Nickie Casburn

Taking the reins as the new relocation director is Nickie Casburn. Casburn has worked for Woods Bros Realty for more than 20 years, most recently as an executive assistant to the general manager. In her new role, she will work with companies relocating people to and from Lincoln, Beatrice, Seward, York, Grand Island and surrounding communities. She will also serve Woods Bros Realty agents with their client relocation needs.

Casburn, a Lincoln native, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in early childhood and elementary education. She and her husband, Paul, have three sons: two at UNL and one in high school.

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.

Chuck Winkler given REALTOR of Distinction Award

Chuck Winkler
Chuck Winkler

Chuck Winkler of the Woods Bros Realty office in Grand Island, was recently honored with the REALTOR® of Distinction Award from the Grand Island Board of REALTORS® (GIBOR).

The REALTOR® of Distinction Award is used to recognize an agent for outstanding conduct in business and in the community.

Winkler has been a REALTOR® since 1973 and an Associate Broker since 1976. He holds the At Home with Diversity, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Graduate of REALTORS® Institute (GRI) designations. Winkler was president of GIBOR in 1977 and 1992, in addition to serving in other offices and committees.

He is a founding member and advocate for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) of Hall County and supports the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.

Winkler and his wife have been married 41 years and have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. For more information about Chuck Winkler, visit his website at www.WoodsBros.com/ChuckWinkler.

Woods Bros Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, is a full-service company offering 124 years of expertise in real estate as well as experience in mortgage, title, closing, and insurance services. Providing an easier way to buy and sell, more than 200 sales associates work with clients in Lincoln, Seward, Beatrice, York, Grand Island, and southeast Nebraska. For more information about Woods Bros Realty, visit www.WoodsBros.com.

Bachman named Grand Island office manager

Max Bachman
Max Bachman

Woods Bros Realty is pleased to announce that Max Bachman will serve as the managing broker for the Grand Island office at 819 Diers Ave.

Bachman has a bachelor of arts degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. He received his real estate salesperson license in 1992 and his broker’s license in 2005. Bachman has been associated with Woods Bros Realty since 2000.

“We’re thrilled to have Max take on the leadership role in Grand Island,” CEO Gene Brake said. “He will be a great addition to the management team.”

Bachman, a lifelong Grand Island resident, has been married to his wife, Melanie, for the past 30 years. Together they have two children: a son, Grant, who teaches in Kearney and lives in Grand Island with his wife, Becky, and their daughter, Braelyn; and a daughter, Danielle, who works in a cancer clinic in Omaha while preparing for PA school.

Bachman can be reached at 308-380-1983 or Max.Bachman@WoodsBros.com.

Woods Bros Realty, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate and wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, is a full-service company offering 123 years of expertise in real estate as well as experience in mortgage, title, closing, and insurance services. Providing an easier way to buy and sell, more than 200 sales associates work with clients in Lincoln, Seward, Beatrice, York, Grand Island, and southeast Nebraska. For more information about Woods Bros Realty, visit www.WoodsBros.com.

Pat Schmit named Grand Island Realtor of the Year

Pat Schmit
Pat Schmit

Pat Schmit of Woods Bros Realty’s Grand Island office was recently named 2010 Realtor of the Year by the Grand Island Board of Realtors.

Pat was born and raised in Hemingford, NE. After college, Pat and her husband Ron, purchased the grocery store in Hemingford and owned it until 2002.

Pat has had her real estate license since 2003 and has been associated with Woods Bros Realty since November 2003. She has been a Million Dollar Producer for several years with Woods Bros.

Pat enjoys golfing and spending time with her family including her husband, Ron, her daughter and son-in-law, Becci and Jeff Blaesing, and her grandchildren, Jack and Kate who live in Kansas City, and her son Eric and his girlfriend, Bethany, and her daughters, Alexis and Mallory who live in Grand Island.

She is a member of St. Leo’s Church, she attends bible study at St. Leo’s, and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Orphan Grain Train.

Al Avery appointed to real estate commission

Al Avery
Al Avery

Governor Dave Heineman has appointed Al Avery to be the broker representative from the Third Congressional District on the Nebraska Real Estate Commission.  Avery is a branch manager for Woods Bros Realty in Grand Island and has had his real estate license since 1987.  Avery has been appointed to a six-year term on the seven-member Commission and will be sworn in and offcially begin his duties at the September 30th Commission meeting.

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