Mel Foster Co. Celebrates 2021 Achievements

Mel Foster Co. celebrated 2021 at a virtual annual awards event on January 27, 2022. Lynsey Engels, president of real estate brokerage, Marc Engels, president of Mel Foster Insurance, and Rob Fick, president and CEO, collectively honored 118 award winners for their 2021 achievements and released the company’s year-end results via video presentation.

Mel Foster Insurance, a locally owned and operated independent insurance agency, continued to expand its footprint in the Quad Cities region with strategic investments and expansion in 2021. In April, the insurance division acquired Capstone Insurance Group in the Cedar Rapids area expanding its presence in Eastern Iowa. To accommodate continued growth, Mel Foster Insurance completed a major remodel to its Davenport headquarters which modernized the entire office and added an additional 2,000 square feet.

In a challenging post-derecho insurance market, the insurance division increased both total premiums written, up 7 percent, and policy count, up 3.9 percent.  Mr. Engels said, “It was an extremely busy year with lots of market disruptions, but we are pleased to achieve 97 percent client retention rate agency-wide. Our entire team work diligently to provide a personalized insurance experience and we can’t thank our clients enough for their loyalty and continued business.” 

“We are glad to get the major storms of 2020 that hit our local communities so hard in the rearview.  It was unprecedented claim counts coupled with shortages in labor and materials and I am proud of how the team and our insurance partners rose to the occasion,” Engels stated. “Through our financial investments, growth, and market expansion we have made critical steps to position ourselves for the long term in this region as a trusted independent agency that can deliver a great insurance experience,” continued Mr. Engels. 

Mel Foster Co. is the largest land developer in the region and continues to expand its existing subdivisions. In 2021, Mel Foster Co. sold 38 lots in four subdivisions. The company plans to release 70 new residential lots in 2022. Mel Foster Co. residential agents sold 75 new construction homes or condos last year. The average Mel Foster Co. new construction sales price was $452,734, up from $401,649 last year.

Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate Services led by Thad DenHartog had over $82 million in commercial real estate sales, up 15.89 percent from last year. Two of the company’s commercial brokers ranked in the top 10 of the Quad Cities Commercial MLS. “We saw another year of positive commercial real estate activity in our market,” commented Ms. Engels. “Despite what is being seen in other parts of the U.S., commercial real estate is very strong in the Quad Cities. Due to supply chain disruptions, the demand for land and industrial space was up in 2021. We expect to see this trend continue in 2022 as the market works to overcome labor and materials shortages.”

Residential real estate continued to experience a lack of inventory nationally and locally however Mel Foster Co. residential boasted a five percent increase in sales volume from 2020. The year was marked by unprecedented competition with many homes receiving multiple offers within days of listing at record high prices. The average sales price for the company was up 10.5 percent from 2020 at $194,933, and the number of days on the market was 37 compared to 58 in 2020. On average, Mel Foster Co.’s agents closed 15 transactions (buy or sell) in 2021, which is higher than the national average according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Ms. Engels stated, “Last year was a unique time in real estate. Buyers experienced skyrocketing home prices, limited inventory, and a fast-paced sales environment. Low mortgage rates worked in buyers’ favor, and our experienced agents were able to successfully close deals despite the high level of competition.”

Across the eight residential office locations within Mel Foster Co., the company had a combined nine agents in the top 10 of their respective MLS. Thirteen agents were named on RealTrends America’s Best Real Estate Professionals list that honors the finest real estate agents from across the country.

As part of its commitment to integrating technology with new services, Mel Foster Co. partnered with MooveGuru to provide buyers and sellers a free, value-added service. MooveGuru is an automated concierge platform that sends move-related, money-saving offers to new homeowners via emails. It helps them connect with utility providers and home services to make moving less stressful.

Melfosterco.com was awarded the Website Quality Certification from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, one of 107 companies to earn the recognition of excellence for website design, content and functionality.

Fick welcomed 19 new agents/staff and congratulated 12 other agents/staff on their retirements during the virtual awards toast. Nineteen agents were recognized for volunteering on real estate association committees or boards at the local, state or national level. Forty-five agents and staff were thanked for their years of service with the company, totaling 680 years of service. Across all three divisions, the median number of years of service among staff/agents is 15.5 years. This number is nearly double what other companies experience, according to NAR. Fick continued, “We are proud of these milestones and appreciate the loyalty our agents and staff continue to show Mel Foster Co. Many agents have long-standing relationships with their clients, serving them or their families multiple times over the years. These valued relationships and the trusted guidance our agents and staff share with clients are key factors to the success of our 100-year-old company.”

Throughout its 100-year history, Mel Foster Co. has made it a priority to give back to the communities it serves. In honor of 100 years in business, the company donated $100,000 to local charities and organizations. Twenty of those charities/organizations were selected by the company’s agents and staff to receive monetary gifts in 2021 in honor of the centennial celebration.

Mel Foster Co. agents and staff pledged to donate 1,000 hours of volunteer service in 2021 to charities and organizations of their choice to complement the corporate financial gifts to the community. The agents and staff exceeded that goal by over 400 percent, with an average of 17.5 volunteer hours per person. Ms. Engels stated, “It’s heartwarming to see how much our agents and staff care and want to make a difference in the communities and with the organizations that they are passionate about.”

Mel Foster Co. continued its Think.Buy.Be.Local campaign in 2021. In support of this initiative, the company raised money to sponsor over 40,000 meals for local families by participating in the River Bend Foodbank Community Hunger Drive. Mel Foster Co. provided over 300 coats to various non-profit organizations, adopted multiple families in need over the holidays, made and delivered baskets to seniors, partnered with WQAD for a school supply drive, held a blood drive with the ImpactLIfe, and collected toys and money for the annual Toys for Tots drive. Mel Foster Co. agents and staff supported over 100 local businesses during Small Business Week. The company is also the defending champion of the Bix 7 Brady Street Corporate Sponsor Challenge.

Fick closed the awards with a virtual toast thanking the agents and staff for their continued perseverance, loyalty and commitment to clients. “The success we enjoyed together as a company during our 100th year would not have been possible without our clients. We look forward to serving the community during the next 100 years.”  

For a complete list of award winners, visit https://www.melfosterco.com/agent-achievements

About Mel Foster Co.

Founded in 1921, Mel Foster Co. is a recognized leader for real estate and insurance. Mel Foster Co. Real Estate specializes in residential and commercial sales and offers services for a broader spectrum of property transactions including farm and land, land development and management, relocation and new construction. Visit www.melfosterco.com for more information.

Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate Services is a leading commercial brokerage firm specializing in office, industrial, retail, land and consulting services in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. Visit www.melfostercommercial.com for more information.

Mel Foster Insurance, a full-service, independent agency with dedicated professionals focused on serving clients with solutions for business risk management, employee benefits, individual/group retirement planning and personal insurance. It was founded in 1932 and represents over 25 of the region’s most financially stable insurance carriers and offers coverage for personal and business clients. Visit www.melfosterinsurance.com for more information.

Design Trends 2022

Design trends in 2022 make room for individual style. After months of focusing inward, designers suggest that it’s time to let our unique personality influence our interior design in a very intentional way. For example, clean white fixtures offset by simple grey walls have shifted to color trends that provide warmth, whimsy and wow factor.

Moody And Memorable Matters

Where minimalism was a recent key design element, today’s trends indicate the desire for elaborate changes and lots of them.

  • Moody spaces will include colors like caramel, chocolate, hunter green or aubergine that feel expressive and still cozy and comfortable.
  • Homeowners want to make their home look and feel like they are either at their favorite vacation spot or in a place they long to go. 
  • People want to have more fun at home, so they may experiment with wild patterns or color combinations, letting personal expression lead the decorating. 

Something Old And Something New

Buyers looking for something new will find that almost every manufacturer, from budget-friendly to high-end companies, is showing furniture pieces with curved edges and softer lines. Homeowners look to multipurpose pieces as better financial investments. And mixing and matching old and new items is the way forward. Vintage furniture is in high demand because it does not have supply chain issues. Want to incorporate a modern sofa with a family heirloom roll-top desk? Now’s the time! Younger clients want an alternative to mass-produced items and prefer furnishings that reflect their character and can grow with them, even if it starts with Grandma Pearl’s marble-top side table. 

Definitely In The Details

Making décor changes can be accomplished in big and small ways and is all in the details.

  • People are starting to value the idea of investing in higher-quality pieces that are well-made and long-lasting. 
  • Buyers look to add soft accent items like pillows and linens if they aren’t ready to repaint a room or purchase a new sofa. Think rich palettes of color and specialty textures, like mohair.
  • Materials like leathered granite or quartz in kitchens offer a slightly bumpy texture that tends to hide messes and is excellent for those who struggle to find time to clean.
  • Custom furniture made by local makers is in demand, as clients find value in having a unique and exclusive piece.  

Find more homeowners tips.

How Much House Can I Afford?

How do you know how much house you can afford and how much cash you may need at closing and soon after moving? Mel Foster has a mortgage calculator to help you determine your monthly costs. This information is helpful when you apply for pre-qualification for your mortgage with a lender.

Mortgage Calculators

The mathematical formula for calculating monthly payments for a given mortgage loan amount is complicated. This is where a mortgage calculator comes in handy. It does the work for you by quickly calculating the monthly payment based on the amount of the loan, mortgage length and interest rate. Use these calculators.

Other Factors To Consider

The mortgage is not the only expense you’ll have when buying your home. Be sure to include these other costs as you prepare your budget:

  • Property taxes
  • Homeowner’s insurance
  • Mortgage insurance (if applicable)
  • Down payment
  • Homeowner’s Association fees (if applicable)
  • Attorney, title, inspections and closing fees
  • Moving expenses   
  • Utility service initial fees

Market Conditions

Interest rates are still at historically low numbers, which has been great for locking in affordable mortgage rates. Recent decisions within the Federal Reserve Bank will affect borrowing power for homeowners, with indications that interest rates are likely to start climbing again in 2022. Ultimately, this means consumers will pay more to borrow. It’s time to act quickly and secure your mortgage before interest rates rise.

Find a Mel Foster Co. agent to help begin your home search.


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