Mel Foster Co. has announced it has earned the 2022 Top Workplaces USA award, issued by Energage, a purpose-driven organization that develops solutions to build and brand Top Workplaces. The Top Workplaces program has a 15-year history of surveying more than 20 million employees and recognizing the top organizations across 60 markets for regional Top Workplaces awards.” The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through the third-party survey. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.
“During this very challenging time, Top Workplaces has proven to be a beacon of light for organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance,” said Eric Rubino, Energage CEO. “When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward. Top Workplaces draw on real-time insights into what works best for their organization, so they can make informed decisions that have a positive impact on their people and their business.”
Since its founding over 100 years ago, Mel Foster Co. has become a highly preferred real estate company by top-performing agents and staff dedicated to helping clients buy or sell a home. The company utilizes a team approach that reinforces the family atmosphere at the offices. A commitment to supporting fellow family-owned businesses that help build strong communities is one of the core values that agents and staff regularly state as a reason they continue working at Mel Foster Co.
Lynsey Engels, President Real Estate Brokerage commented on receiving this prestigious honor. “Recognition as a Top Workplace is a credit to our agents and staff who support and encourage each other. The people of Mel Foster Co. make the company a great place to work. It is an honor for the company to be recognized by our agents and staff during the unique challenges of the last two years.”
Founded in 1921, Mel Foster Co. is one of the real estate leaders in the Quad Cities region of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois. With Iowa offices in Bettendorf, Clinton, and Davenport and Illinois offices in Galesburg, Geneseo, Kewanee, Moline and Savanna, Mel Foster Co. serves customers in the bi-state area. The company specializes in residential and commercial real estate sales and offers a wide range of services including insurance, new construction, relocation, farm and land sales, land development, senior services, and career development. Mel Foster Co. is a multi-generational, family-owned business and is proud to continue this 100-year tradition in family leadership. For more information, visit www.melfosterco.com
About Energage Making the world a better place to work together.TM
Energage is a purpose-driven company that helps organizations turn employee feedback into useful business intelligence and credible employer recognition through Top Workplaces. Built on 15 years of culture research and the results from 23 million employees surveyed across more than 70, 000 organizations, Energage delivers the most accurate competitive benchmark available. With access to a unique combination of patented analytic tools and expert guidance, Energage customers lead the competition with an engaged workforce and an opportunity to gain recognition for their people-first approach to culture. For more information or to nominate your organization, visit Energage or Workplaces.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
Mel Foster Co. is pleased to announce that several of their agents have been named as one of America’s most productive agents as a part of REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Professionals, the newly issued ranking report produced by REAL Trends and sponsored by Adwerx.
REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents ranks over 13,800 residential real estate professionals solely based on their excellence in real estate sales during calendar year 2017. All production numbers are independently verified by a third-party in order to ensure accuracy and report integrity. “This group of highly successful real estate sales agents represents less than 1 percent of all real estate practitioners in the United States,” says Steve Murray, president of REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Professionals and president of REAL Trends.
To qualify for inclusion, an individual agent must have closed at least 50 transaction sides or $20 million in closed sales volume in 2017. “The average residential real estate agent in the United States closed 8.0 transactions in 2017 and had less than $1.3 million in sales,” said Murray. The individuals ranked in America’s Best Real Estate Agents had an average of 73.88 transaction sides and an average sales volume of almost $38 million. This ensures that only the best of the best are included on the prestigious list.
The rankings are compiled based on survey from virtually every national branded network, many state and local associations of Realtors®, multiple listing services, all applicants from past years’ rankings, and the 1,600 largest brokerage firms in the United States.
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)
For Individuals by Volume, in Iowa, two Mel Foster Co. agents ranked in the top ten:
Geri Doyle, Davenport I-74 office, ranked #2
Brad Boeye, Kimberly Road office, ranked #3
For Individuals by Sides, in Iowa, eight Mel Foster agents ranked out of 101:
Geri Doyle, Davenport Kimberly Road office, ranked #39
Mary Leslie Douglas, Clinton office, ranked #43
Sara Smith, Davenport I-74 office, ranked #49
Dee Shepherd, Clinton office, ranked #54
Robert Allmandinger, Clinton office, ranked #71
Candy Reaves, Davenport I-74 office, ranked #85
For Individuals by Sides, in Illinois, five Mel Foster Co. agents ranked out of 254:
Diana Franks, Geneseo office, ranked #80
Peggy Tossell, Kewanee office, ranked #104
Sara Varner, Galesburg office, ranked #116
Ty Johnson, Galesburg office, ranked #182
Paula Nabb, Moline office, ranked #204
“Having our agents recognized on REAL Trends America’s Best Real Estate Agents list, shows Mel Foster Co. agents are dedicated to their industry, their business and their clients. They are part of an elite group of real estate agents across the country. Many of our agents have made the list for consecutive years,” said Lynsey Engels, Mel Foster Co.’s President Real Estate Brokerage.
Mel Foster Co. is supporting the First Day Project by becoming a drop off location and collecting school supplies for local students. Through the end of July, donation boxes are available at Mel Foster Co. metro Quad Cities offices including I-74 and Elmore Avenue in Davenport, Kimberly Road in Davenport, Cumberland Square in Bettendorf, 41st Street Moline and downtown Geneseo.
The First Day Project is a collaborative effort with schools, volunteers, businesses and the community working together to gather and distribute supplies to students whose families lack the financial resources to purchase school supplies.
Lynsey Engels, president real estate brokerage of Mel Foster Co., explains why the First Day Project is essential to our community. “Students need basic supplies like pencils and paper to succeed in school. But the big picture result of giving to ensure all students have an equal chance of succeeding goes beyond providing supplies. Students who are equipped with supplies are more confident and start the school year on par with their peers and ready to tackle a new grade. We can give kids that boost they need by doing something as simple as buying folders and dropping off that donation to a Mel Foster Co. office.”
More than 25,000 students in the Quad Cities schools are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. Some Quad Cities school districts have as many as 90% of the total student population qualifying for free and reduced lunch. Supplies collected through the First Day Project help meet the needs of thousands of students and their families.
The First Day Project was established in 2006 to help increase school supply collections taking place in different Quad City communities.
Mel Foster Co. has been awarded the Website Quality Certification (WQC) from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a global community of more than 565 high quality independent real estate firms in 65 countries. The certification was presented in recognition of excellence in website design, content and functionality.
Mel Foster Co.’s’s website, www.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.
“The 135 companies that earned the WQC this year offer consumers engaging websites with effective design, deep local content and the most current information on homes, not only in their local markets, but also around the world. We are delighted to recognize them for offering a superior online experience for consumers and supporting them further with exceptional customer support,” said Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® President/CEO Pam O’Connor.
“We know local consumers have a choice when searching for a buying or listing agent. We want to continue to offer the best tools in the market to be the top resource for buyers and sellers and to help our agents stay competitive. Mel Foster Co. feels it is essential to invest heavily in digital marketing platforms and we are pleased that our efforts have been recognized with this international award,” said Lynsey Engels, president real estate brokerage of Mel Foster Co.
Mel Foster Co. is the Quad Cities and surrounding area’s representative of LeadingRE (www.LeadingRE.com). With a global membership that spans six continents, LeadingRE connects more than 565 firms and 130,000 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. held its annual awards reception last night at the Rhythm City Casino Resort in Davenport, Iowa. Rob Fick, president and CEO, Lynsey Engels, president real estate brokerage and Marc Engels, president of Mel Foster Insurance, honored and recognized 130 award winners within the organization for their 2017 achievements.
Fick congratulated sales associates and staff on a strong year and shared with them, “Our agents and staff are some of the best in the industry and the reason for our success. We’ve just finished a very successful year and indications show 2018 will follow many of the same market trends. The economy is still robust, low interest rates continue to make home buying very affordable by historical standards, and more people are employed and in a financial position to buy a home or business.”
The commercial division, led by Thad DenHartog, continued to dominate the market. Their sales volume continued to reach record-breaking levels with a five percent increase in 2017. Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate Services was ranked number one in the Quad Cities Commercial MLS with over 42 percent of the market share volume in 2017, up 16 percent from 2016. The next competitor had 28 percent of the commercial sales volume. Three of the company’s commercial brokers ranked in the top 5 in the Quad Cities Commercial MLS. “We are thrilled to see our commercial division continue to hold such a strong position in the Quad City market,” said Engels.
Mel Foster Insurance continued to grow its footprint in the region and acquired Frazier & Associates of LeClaire, Iowa in 2017. The insurance division increased both total premiums written and policy count over five percent from 2016 and client base increased by 14%. Marc Engels, president of Mel Foster Insurance, said, “We are uniquely positioned in the market as a local full-service, independent agency with specialized professionals focused on serving our clients with business risk management, employee benefits, individual/group retirement planning, and personal insurance solutions. We are proud that we added 1,283 policies in 2017 exclusive of our acquisition of Frazier & Associates. We have a 95.4% client retention rate agency-wide, which is a testament to the exceptional service we provide to our personal and business clients. We expect our growth and retention to reach new heights in 2018 in part due to the strengthening economy.”
The residential real estate sales team gave another remarkable performance in 2017 with a nine percent increase company-wide in sales volume and number of transaction sides (either listings or selling) over the previous year. All nine office locations reported an increase in sales volume with the Galesburg office leading the way with a 34 percent increase from last year. Company-wide, residential agents averaged 17 transactions in 2017, an increase of at least one per agent. The average time to get homes sold was successfully lowered from 61 days to 55 days in 2017. In the metro Quad Cities, sale prices rose five percent in 2017 for an average sales price of $191,349 per the Quad Cities Area Realtor Association. Eleven residential agents were in the top 10 of their respective MLS compared to nine last year.
Construction of new homes surged in 2017 as Mel Foster Co., who is the largest land developer in the Quad Cities continued to develop neighborhoods on both sides of the river. The company developed more than 165 residential lots in six different subdivisions in both Iowa and Illinois in 2017 with plans to develop over 500 lots in future additions. Lynsey Engels, president, real estate brokerage said, “The increased demand for new construction lots is a great indicator for a strong market in 2018. We are pleased to be positioned to meet this higher demand with a wide range of neighborhoods offering lots in multiple price ranges.”
The high numbers across all the division are the result of the tireless efforts of a dedicated team of professionals and a focused strategy to provide the best real estate and insurance experience. “This is an exciting time for everybody within Mel Foster Co. We posted the best year since the housing bubble peaked in 2008. Our success would not be possible without the hard work of every single person within each of our divisions,” Fick concluded.
In addition to another impressive year of sales growth, Mel Foster Co. welcomed 26 new agents and staff into the company in 2017. Mel Foster Co. has residential offices in Bettendorf, Clinton and Davenport, Iowa and Galesburg, Geneseo, Kewanee, Moline and Savanna, Illinois.