Mel Foster Co. is supporting local businesses and families this holiday season with several company initiatives that are part of the organization’s 100th anniversary.
Agents and staff pledged to donate 1,000 volunteer hours in 2021 and tripled their pledge, completing over 3,000 hours to date. Mel Foster Co. agents and staff make a difference by ringing bells for the Salvation Army, donating gift baskets to CASI and competing for bragging rights within the company by collecting for the corporate Student Hunger Drive.
Lynsey Engels, president real estate brokerage of Mel Foster Co., explains why supporting the local community is so important. “This community is our home. We are a local, family-owned business. To keep our community strong, we need to buy local when we can so money keeps circulating close to home and supporting our friends and neighbors. We started a Think. Buy. Be. Local. initiative at Mel Foster Co. to remind our agents and staff to spend money in their community on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year. It’s easy to shop local when we have so many unique stores and businesses.” Small Business Saturday is November 27, 2021.
Agents from the company’s I-74 office recently went shopping and filled their carts for families in need. Other Mel Foster Co. offices are also adopting families this holiday season.
Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) announces an office move to a larger space in northeast Davenport. After 15 years at 130 West 5th Street in Davenport, BBBS is relocating its headquarters to 3247 35th Street Court off Elmore and Kimberly Road in Davenport. The move will be effective August 15th. Mel Foster Co., a longtime supporter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, finalized an agreement with the non-profit that will roughly double the current square footage used by BBBS.
“Our growth and program innovation has been exciting,” stated Travis Guy, Chairperson of the BBBS Board of Directors, “It’s important to strategically position our organization for the future, which means we have the capacity and resources to meet the changing needs of the children and families in our community” Guy continued, “this is a unique opportunity from Mel Foster Co. that creates the space and financial stability for our operations to thrive for years to come.”
Lynsey Engels, President, Real Estate Brokerage, explains how this partnership with BBBS fits with Mel Foster Co.’s commitment to serving the Quad Cities, “We are thrilled to announce this long-term partnership the same year we are celebrating our 100-year anniversary. Giving back to our community has been so important to the longevity of the company and BBBS is an organization that many of our staff, producers and agents are passionate about as well. We’re so proud to help BBBS meet their space needs so they can focus on their mission of supporting children and families.”
The new space will offer interview/training rooms for volunteer, children and family enrollments, ample parking for visitors and guests, expanded capacity for board, committee and community meetings, mentor and parent orientations, trainings, and a new resource/collaboration room with support materials and space for match-related functions.
Jay Justin, President & CEO of BBBS was also excited to announce that BBBS has received a lead gift of $100,000 from John and Bonnie Leinart for the design and renovation of the new space. John has served on the board of directors for the organization for more than 22 years. John, Bonnie, and their children have also served as Bigs in the program. The Leinart gift was quickly supported by a $25,000 grant from the donor advised fund of the Quad Cities Community Foundation by Hunt and Diane Harris, another long-term supporter of the organization. These two gifts will serve as lead gifts toward a campaign to raise $250,000 for the buildout. “This two-pronged approach will give us the physical and financial capacity to grow our impact and sustain our programming for many years to come,” stated Justin,
More than 20 area contractors and suppliers are involved in the renovation project. Estes Construction is donating General Contractor and Design services for the project. “We are extremely proud to be a part of this project and are thankful for the positive response we have received from the building community to make this project happen,” stated Jim Kiesey, Director of Operation for Estes Construction. Other contractors involved include Petersen Plumbing, Allied Construction, Tri-City Electric, Hornbuckle Heating and Air, Paragon Commercial Interiors, Russell Construction and several others.
“This move and these gifts represent another significant milestone for our organization as we continue our work to ensure every child can succeed and thrive in life. We are thankful to Mel Foster Co. for their long-term commitment, the Leinart and Harris families for their generosity with their lead gifts, and the building community for stepping up and helping with the renovation. It is not possible without our community partners dedicating their resources, time and talent to serving our youth mentoring in our community and we are thrilled to see their gift impact more children well into the future,” added Guy.
Lynsey Engels, president of Real Estate Brokerage at Mel Foster Co. is pleased to announce that several of its agents have been named as one of America’s most productive agents as a part of the 2021 REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Professionals list. This ranking report by REAL Trends, the Trusted Source in residential brokerage, and Tom Ferry International, a top coaching and training company, ranks the most productive agents by state and metropolitan area based on closed transaction sides and closed volume in 2020.
REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Professionals honors American’s finest real estate agents from across the country. Over 18,000 U.S. real estate sales associates from every state are featured in America’s Best. Those ranked are among the top 1.5% of the 1.4 million licensed REALTORS® nationwide.
The real estate agents are ranked in two categories:
Individual agent – Sales volume
Individual agent – Transaction sides (in each real estate transaction there are two sides that can be represented by a real estate agent; the buy side and the selling side)
Individuals By Volume in Iowa Top 14
Individuals By Sides, in Iowa Top 110
Individuals By Sides, In Illinois Top 269
Ms. Engels commented, “With this year’s release of the 2021 America’s Best Real Estate Professionals list, we are incredibly proud to have 12 of our agents be recognized with other elite real estate agents across the country and continue to be in awe of these agent’s dedication, hard work and commitment to serving clients throughout the region, especially in a year that was so challenging. In Iowa, having the #1 agent for individuals by volume be from Mel Foster Co. and the same agent for the second year in a row is remarkable!”
To qualify for inclusion, an individual agent must have closed at least 50 transaction sides or $20 million in closed sales volume in 2020. The rankings are compiled based on surveys from virtually every national branded network, many state and local associations of Realtors®, multiple listing services, all applicants from past years’ rankings, and the 900 largest brokerage firms in the United States. Verification from an independent source is required from all submissions. In addition, REAL Trends senior staff reviews every submission for completeness and accuracy.
Throughout its 100-year history, Mel Foster Co. has made it a priority to give back to the communities it serves. Today that tradition continues with the announcement that Mel Foster Co. is donating $100,000 to local charities and organizations. The company has selected 20 charities to receive gifts in 2021.
Mel Foster Co. agents and staff support many charities by participating in workplace donation drives held at each office throughout the year. “Our agents and staff are passionate about causes that help struggling families and children, veterans who battle addiction and homelessness and animals that need an advocate on their journey to their forever home. We know the causes they care about and encouraged them to nominate their favorite non-profits for our initiative. These submissions were compiled to create a list of 20 local charities. Agents and staff then voted to help determine the fund distribution,” explained Lynsey Engels, president, Real Estate Brokerage at Mel Foster Co.
With the selection of the John Deere Classic Platinum Tee Club as one of the top charities, the John Deere Foundation matches the donation and doubles the amount for Birdies for Charity, making it a $20,000 total gift.
Clair Peterson, John Deere Classic Tournament Director, said, ““We are so honored to be included in Mel Foster Co.’s generous charity initiative. The $10,000 they are donating to the John Deere Classic will make it possible for every organization that participates in our Birdies for Charity Program to get at least a 5% bonus. It is a real reminder of how important Mel Foster Co. is to our community, and we are thrilled to celebrate their 100th anniversary the same year we celebrate our 50th.”
To complement the corporate financial gifts to the community, Mel Foster Co. agents and staff pledge to donate 1,000 hours of volunteer service in 2021 to charities and organizations of their choice. Engels continued, “Not only do we see the generosity of our agents and staff when they fill a box with coats, food or school supplies, we see it throughout the community when they give their time to volunteer. It’s heartwarming to see how much they care and what a difference they make.”
“We are so grateful for Mel Foster Co. and their partnership. Not only are they stepping up to the plate in a major way financially, but they’re also willing to partner with us by putting boots on the ground and serving with their hands and feet. Their donation will help give us the resources to equip people for the workforce, provide essential needs to our community, and bring hope to people who need it the most,” commented Rusty Boruff, Executive Director at One Eighty.
Rob Fick, president and CEO of Mel Foster Co. added, “As a family-owned business for 100 years, we are committed to making a difference in the communities where we live and work. This important initiative will have a lasting impact on families and a lasting impact on everybody within the organization who contributed to making it happen.”
Mel Foster Co. is celebrating its 100-year anniversary through agent and employee, client and community events throughout the year. Be sure to follow our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/melfostercoinc to see our charity post updates. To learn more about Mel Foster Co., its people and giving back, visit www.melfosterco.com.
Mel Foster Co. has been awarded the Website Quality Certification (WQC) from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a global community of 550 high quality independent real estate firms in over 70 countries. The certification was presented in recognition of excellence in website design, content, and functionality.
Mel Foster Co.’s website, melfosterco.com, received high marks in a variety of critical areas relating to website performance, including usability, design, content, interactivity, customer service and mobile responsiveness. The evaluation was conducted by Virtual Results, LLC, a real estate internet and social marketing firm selected by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® to review the websites of participating members.
The specific measurements for the WQC are updated each year to reflect the most current online marketing strategies, as well as evolving consumer preferences. Companies must be re-certified every two years to maintain the certification.
“We are pleased to recognize the 107 companies that earned the WQC this year. The restrictions of this past year have heightened the importance of having a strong web presence and giving home buyers and sellers easy ways to explore homes and communities online. Our WQC companies provide consumers with valuable resources through well-designed websites that offer relevant local content and up-to-the-minute housing information,” said Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® President/CEO Paul Boomsma.
“We are excited to be recognized again for delivering a superior online experience to our consumers, who have choices when searching for real estate. We want to continue to offer the best online tools in the market to be the top resource for buyers and sellers and to help our agents stay competitive,” said Lynsey Engels, President Real Estate Brokerage of Mel Foster Co.
Mel Foster Co. is the Quad Cities and surrounding areas representative of LeadingRE (www.LeadingRE.com). With a global membership that spans six continents, LeadingRE connects more than 550 firms and 135,000 sales associates who produce over 1.1 million real estate transactions each year. As a member of LeadingRE, Mel Foster Co. provides a quality real estate experience, global marketing reach and access to top real estate professionals in virtually any market worldwide.
Mel Foster Co. has partnered with MooveGuru, an automated moving concierge platform that sends perfectly-timed, move-related, money saving offers, via email and connects utilities and home services to buyers and sellers.
Your Mel Foster Co. REALTOR® will be supplying exclusive email offers and utility connections to home buyers and sellers. The average mover spends 5 hours connecting utilities, the Mel Foster Co. connections service simplifies this process. Emails are also delivered to the consumer with discounts on items relevant to a home purchase or selling experience. The mover program includes money-saving offers from companies like the Home Depot, PODS, Budget Truck Rental, and more.
“We are thrilled to partner with MooveGuru in a marketing benefit to offer our clients money saving opportunities with some local and national brands and assist them in organizing their move,” mentions Lynsey Engels, President Real Estate Brokerage of Mel Foster Co. Engels continued, “because it’s so important to support our local businesses when possible, this is another way to do that.” If businesses are interested in participating in the MooveGuru initiative, contact Mel Foster Co. at email@example.com.
A study by the University of Colorado found that movers spend, on average $10,000 on goods and services during their move. To help clients transition into their new home, Mel Foster Co. has partnered with MooveGuru to provide savings along the way.
“Consumers spend more money in a 180-day window during their move than they will in any other time in their lives,” says Scott Oakley, CEO of MooveGuru.
The challenges the pandemic created in 2020 led Mel Foster Co. to develop new ways to advance the use of technology for open houses, marketing and closings. The new technology was well received by buyers and sellers and will likely remain as a standard practice long after the immediate threat from COVID-19 has passed.
Mel Foster Co. President Lynsey Engels said, “The year 2020 made our agents pivot and try new ways to communicate with buyers and sellers, market listings differently and complete closing paperwork virtually. Many of our agents were already using our virtual tools, and COVID-19 made it essential for conducting business. We are so fortunate that we had these tools in place and were ready to modify the way we do business so we could continue serving buyers and sellers.”
Mel Foster Co. typically hosts an event each January to recognize agents and staff and celebrate achievements. This year, the awards were held as a virtual toasting to the year 2020. “While the pandemic prevented the agents, staff and management from getting together in person, the company felt it was important to toast our 2020 successes and kick off our 100-year celebration,” Ms. Engels commented. Each agent and staff member received a customized box with items from local businesses that allowed Mel Foster Co. to support its fellow local businesses.
Lynsey Engels, president of real estate brokerage, Marc Engels, president of Mel Foster Insurance, and Rob Fick, president and CEO, released the company’s year-end results collectively via video presentation. The video also recognized the achievements of 109 agents who received awards for their performance in 2020.
Mel Foster Insurance continues to be a trusted independent insurance agency in the Quad Cities region with exceptional client retention rates and the continued growth of new personal/business client relationships. In 2020, Mel Foster Insurance associates added 725 new clients along with writing 1,600 new lines of coverage.
The insurance division increased both total premiums written, up 2.9 percent, and policy count, up 3.1 percent from 2020. Mr. Engels said, “We are pleased to have a 97.4% client retention rate agency-wide. We strive to provide a personalized insurance experience and we can’t thank our clients enough for their continued business.”
“Our entire team came together and delivered on our commitment to providing first class service to our personal and business insurance clients. That couldn’t have been more critical than in a year where we were handed a pandemic, major March hailstorm, and the August derecho,” Engels stated. “Our insurance partners and agency personnel all stepped up in a positive way to assist our clients in a year that saw unprecedented claim counts. I am so grateful to our team and the way we handled the challenges of 2020,” continued Mr. Engels.
Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate Services, led by Thad DenHartog, sold nearly $71 million in commercial real estate properties earning 33% of the market share in 2020. The division employs eight commercial brokers and two staff members. Three of the company’s commercial brokers ranked in the top 10 of the Quad Cities Commercial MLS. “We saw positive commercial real estate market activity this year,” commented Ms. Engels. “In a year when our clients faced many challenges, our commercial brokers helped them navigate their unique short-term and long-term needs so they could continue to be successful.”
Across the eight residential locations within Mel Foster Co. that serve Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois, the company had a combined 13 agents in the top 10 of their respective MLS. The average sales price for the company was $176,429 and the number of days on the market for 2020 was 58. Like many markets across the country, our region saw record-low inventories as sellers waited longer to list their homes. On average, Mel Foster Co.’s agents closed 15 transactions in 2020, higher than the national median of 12, according to statistics from the National Association of REALTORS®.
In 2020, Mel Foster Co. sold 47 lots in five subdivisions. Mel Foster Co. is the largest land developer in the region and continues to expand its existing subdivisions. The company plans to release 65 new residential lots in 2021. Mel Foster Co. residential agents sold 101 new construction homes or condos in 2020. The average Mel Foster Co. new construction sales price was $401,649, up from $377,731 last year.
During the virtual awards toast, Fick welcomed 11 new agents/staff and congratulated 13 on their retirements. Twenty-six agents were recognized for volunteering on real estate association committees or boards at the local, state, or national level. Forty-nine agents and staff were thanked for their years of service with the company. Across all three divisions, the median number of years of service among staff/agents is 15.5 years. This number is three times the national average as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in September 2020.
Mel Foster Co. trademarked their think.buy.be.local logo and slogan in 2020. Even in a year with a pandemic, agents and staff participated in many projects to give back to the community. They kicked off 2020 with the River Bend Foodbank – Community Hunger Drive, provided over 300 coats to various non-profit organizations, adopted multiple families over the holidays, made and delivered baskets to seniors, created Valentine’s Day cards for seniors, partnered with WQAD for a school supply drive, held a blood drive with the Mississippi Valley Blood Center, and collected toys and money for Toys for Tots drive. They also supported local businesses by purchasing over 150 gift cards for client appreciation events. During Small Business week, gift cards were purchased for agent and staff raffles to encourage supporting local businesses and encouraging the community to do the same. All posts were shared and tagged on their Facebook page to raise awareness for supporting local businesses.
Fick closed the awards virtual toast by offering a hopeful look ahead at the year 2021. “This is our 100th year, and we want to thank the community for its support all of these years. We look forward to many exciting events and initiatives that we will be rolling out in the coming months.”
Lynsey Engels, President, Real Estate Brokerage at Mel Foster Co. Inc. announced today that its global real estate network, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, continues to lead the industry in sales volume among the top 500 U.S. firms, with $257 billion in U.S. home sales in 2019, $38 billion ahead of its closest competitor, according to the REAL Trends 500. LeadingRE represents 24% of transaction sides among these firms and 20% of total sales volume. Overall, the global real estate network of 550 firms participated in 1.1 million transactions worldwide.
“We are pleased that our network continues to achieve such impressive sales results year after year, but, more importantly, we take pride in the other ways our members lead. Our true leadership can be seen in the countless ways our members give back to their communities, as well as in their efforts to serve home buyers and sellers safely and responsibly during these challenging times,” said LeadingRE President/CEO Paul Boomsma.
With members in 70 countries, LeadingRE is the largest network of market-leading independent real estate firms. As a member, Mel Foster Co. has access to innovative, performance-driven programs, including award-winning learning resources and events, innovative technology and marketing, an industry-leading referral network, and connections to people and opportunities worldwide.
“The by-invitation-only Leading RE network provided us unparalleled performance and trusted relationships that result in exceptional client experiences, and it gives us one more way to bring together buyers and sellers,” said Engels.
For more information on Mel Foster Co., visit melfosterco.com . To learn more about Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, visit LeadingRE.com.
Mel Foster Co. launched a Rise Up challenge today across its company’s divisions and is inviting the community to join the effort through social media to share positive messages of hope, courage and kindness. The goal is to highlight all of the good things that are happening in our community as we navigate this uncertain time together.
To kick-start the challenge, Mel Foster Co. is picking two winners daily through April 10 who will receive gift cards from local businesses. Entering is easy:
Use #riseup and tag Mel Foster Co. (@melfostercoinc) when you post a positive message on social media.
You can #riseup in many ways to inspire hope and bring joy to others:
Post any kind of positive message, video, act of kindness, etc. with #riseup
Order carry out/delivery from a local restaurant and post a picture
Work with your kids/grandkids to write notes to healthcare workers
Make a donation to a disaster relief fund
Give blood if you are able
Post ideas of positive things people can do while they are at home
Send a surprise to someone who may be lonely
Check in with a family member/friend who may be feeling anxious during this time
Get outside with your kids/grandkids to write positive messages in chalk on your driveway
Anything you are doing to send positive thoughts and messages to help our community qualifies (of course while following the CDC guidelines for safe interactions and social distancing)
The health and safety of our clients, customers, associates, employees, and surrounding community members remains the highest priority to Mel Foster Co. In keeping with the recommendations by the CDC to limit in-person contact because of the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning March 20, 2020 our lobbies will be closed in an effort to reduce the person to person contact.
Mel Foster Co. will continue to provide service to its clients by appointment only. Please contact us by phone or through our website www.melfosterco.com.
Thank you for your understanding and patience as we work together to safeguard the health of our communities.