Woods Bros Realty celebrated its top sales professionals with an Awards Banquet Feb. 9 at the Country Club of Lincoln.
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 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 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.
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.”
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.
Looking 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.
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.”
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.
Woods Bros Realty is pleased to announce a merger agreement with Collins Real Estate.
Woods Bros Realty acquires Collins Real Estate, and Casey Collins will be the new Managing Broker for the Woods Bros Realty offices in Beatrice, Seward and York. Collins Real Estate was founded by Casey Collins’ grandfather Ken in the late 1950s and purchased by Collins in 2004.
“I am very excited to be working for and with a leader in the real estate industry in Nebraska,” Collins said. “The real estate market and business have changed dramatically; Woods Bros offers a wide array of services and benefits to clients that smaller firms simply cannot offer in this new market.”
A past president of the Tri-County Board of Realtors, Collins is a current Chairman of the Tri-County MLS Board, holds his CDPE designation, and has extensive knowledge in marketing and technology.
“Casey brings to the table technology and sales expertise that will not only benefit Woods Bros Realty agent and clients in Beatrice, Seward and York, but also the management team and company as a whole,” CEO Gene Brake said.
Collins has been married to his high school sweetheart for 18 years and has four children: Jacob, 17; Alexis, 12; Jackson, 9; and Avery, 5. They enjoy being outdoors–camping, fishing, boating, golfing–and being around family and friends. They are members of St. John’s Lutheran Church and Christ Community Church, both of Beatrice. He can be reached at 402-223-8146.
Also joining Woods Bros Realty in Beatrice are former Collins Real Estate agents Jana Robertson and Joy Gaston, both Associate Brokers. Robertson can be reached at 402-239-9657, and Gaston can be reached at 402-587-0342.
Woods Bros Realty, an affiliate of HomeServices of America, is a full-service company offering 122 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, 250 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.
Woods Bros Realty celebrated its 2009 award winners with a luncheon Feb. 11 at the Country Club of Lincoln. These agents and the company had success during a difficult year, and our congratulations go out to them.
The company named Chuck Winkler of Grand Island 2009 Realtor of the Year.
Craig Loeck of the Lincolnshire Square office was presented with the Salesperson of the Year award, the Century Award for over 100 transactions, Excellence in Outgoing Referrals Sold award, the Most Listings and Sales Units and Highest Listing Volume Closed awards and Largest Number of Transactions Closed award.
Ann Deck of the Lincolnshire Square office earned the Highest Volume of Closed Sales award, and Tiffany Heier of the Country Club Plaza office was given the Rising Star award as the newcomer of the year. The Overall Outstanding Achievement award went to Beverly Marsh of the Country Club Plaza office.
In addition, Gene Ward, managing broker of the Lincolnshire Square office, was presented with a Special Merit Award for his contributions to the company.
According to Midlands MLS residential statistics, more homes were placed under contract in September than any other time in history.
A total of 404 single-family residential listings were placed under contract, a 40 percent increase over the same time in 2008. Of those homes, 52 percent of them were priced $80,000 – $159,999, which could be a result of first-time home buyers trying to get their transactions closed in time to take advantage of the $8,000 tax stimulus.