Mel Foster Co. held its annual awards reception last night at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa. Lynsey Engels, President Real Estate Brokerage and Marc Engels, President of Mel Foster Insurance presented awards to 122 agents that were recognized for achieving membership in the company’s different sales club levels including Chairman, Executive, President and Honor. Top honors were awarded to:
Thad DenHartog – Commercial Top Sales
Diana Franks – Residential Illinois Top Sales
Geri Doyle – Residential Iowa Top Sales
Joe Ertel – Insurance Top Personal Lines
Mike Smith – Insurance Commercial Top Producer
Mike Kessel – Insurance Top Employee Benefits
Combining all three divisions of Mel Foster Co. Inc., the total sales volume increased by 9.21 percent from 2012, surpassing the total sales of 2005, when the market was at its peak, and making it the biggest year in the history of the 93 year old company. Rob Fick attributed Mel Foster Co.’s success to dedicated staff and agents, who continue to build and maintain relationships within their teams and outside of the company. Fick also attributed the increase as a reflection of a strengthening economy and higher consumer confidence in 2013. “I am very proud of what the company accomplished this year. I know Mel Foster Jr. would be equally proud to see us continuing his vision of forward progress and leadership in this community. We’re starting 2014 with great optimism and a stronger economy than in years past, and I anticipate 2014 to be another year of growth for Mel Foster Co. We were fortunate in 2013 to welcome 39 new agents and staff, and 28 individuals are currently enrolled in our pre-license classes,” commented Fick.
Mel Foster Co.’s residential real estate sales increased by nearly 8 percent from 2012. The average sale price for Mel Foster Co. residential real estate was $148,278, a 1.18 percent increase from last year.
New construction sales are predicted to be strong in 2014. Lynsey Engels said, “We are expecting the real estate market as a whole to continue moving forward, with new home construction heavily influencing home sales volume. We are positioned to meet demand for new construction in our area and are pleased to announce that we will be launching four new subdivisions in 2014 coupled with the four that were launched in 2013. We closed 85 new residential lots last year and will have another 146 lots available in 2014.”
Mel Foster Commercial relocated to the Elmore Office Park in the spring of 2013. Engels reported that agents in the commercial division closed an average of over six million dollars per agent. After having their best year last year since 2005, Mel Foster Commercial still had a one percent increase in sales from the previous year.
Mel Foster Insurance had the biggest year in the history of the company. Marc Engels commented, “We have introduced a lot of new processes throughout the division and our agents and staff have done a great job adapting to the ever-changing insurance markets. Much of our growth can be attributed to our strong carrier representation which has allowed us to secure new business relationships in the Quad City market.” Direct written premiums were up 44.8 percent since 2009 and the insurance division has been able to more than double its employee benefits department. Engels added, “To continue to build each year is a testament to our team’s ability to meet the expectations of our Quad Cities and surrounding area clients.” In 2013, the personal insurance lines department’s sales grew 8.1 percent and the commercial department was up 15.4 percent. Engels also said, “I think individuals and business owners in this market appreciate the consistency, integrity, and professional competence our team brings to the insurance experience.”
Mel Foster Co. invested in multiple technology enhancements in 2013 to help buyers and sellers search for homes more easily. The new website was launched in fall 2013 and a new app was recently rolled out. Internally, agents benefitted from IT upgrades, a more robust intranet site, paperless transactions and enhanced consumer reports with greater details for homebuyers and sellers. Lynsey Engels stated, “We want to make sure that our agents have every tool they need to successfully meet their clients’ needs. We continually invest in technology upgrades and stay current on new features that we can integrate into our systems. With over 90% of people searching for a home online, it’s crucial for our agents to have top of the line technology.”