MEL FOSTER CO. CELEBRATES 2020 ACHIEVEMENTS

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. Celebrates 2017 Achievements

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.

Mel Foster Insurance and The Selective Insurance Group Foundation Provide Matching Grants

MF INSURANCE LOGOMel Foster Insurance and The Selective Insurance Group Foundation joined forces to support the positive efforts of Jordan’s Joy through a $500 grant. The Selective Insurance Group Foundation is a philanthropic affiliate of Selective Insurance Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SIGI).

“Mel Foster Insurance wants to be a positive force in the communities we serve,” said Marc Engels, President, Mel Foster Insurance.  “Through combined efforts with partners like The Selective Insurance Group, we have an opportunity to make a difference in children and their families suffering from life threatening illnesses.”

The grant represents a $500 donation from Mel Foster Insurance, matched by a $500 grant from The Selective Insurance Group Foundation. The grant will help Jordan’s Joy’s efforts to help bring joy and comfort to families battling life threatening and rare diseases.

“At Selective, Response is everything®… and this includes responding to the communities where we live and work to give back and help those in need. Together with Mel Foster Insurance, we are proud to support Jordan’s Joy and its efforts to make a difference in the community,” said Chuck Musilli, Senior Vice President, Distribution Strategies, Selective.

Mel Foster Insurance Earns Leadership Circle Status

MF INSURANCE LOGOMel Foster Co. Inc. is proud to announce its insurance division, Mel Foster Insurance, has earned a spot in the 2017 Leadership Circle for Integrity Insurance, a property and casualty carrier.  This recognition honors the top-tier of agencies for their work in 2016. To achieve Leadership Circle status, Mel Foster Insurance met specific criteria based on premium, profitability and growth.

Integrity President Jill Wagner Kelly stated, “Mel Foster Insurance is among the best of the best. They are a strong partner who is committed to providing top-notch service and expertise to policyholders. It’s a pleasure to see them thrive and write profitable business with Integrity.”

“This recognition is truly an honor. While the criteria for receiving this leadership status include reaching milestones for premium, profitability, growth and loss ratio, it’s the staff we have at Mel Foster Insurance, that earns and keeps business from local clients, that really helps set us apart,” said Mel Foster Insurance President Marc Engels.

Mel Foster Insurance is located at 3218 E 35th St C, Davenport, IA. For more information on their services, visit melfosterinsurance.com.

MEL FOSTER INSURANCE EARNS LEADERSHIP CIRCLE WITH INTEGRITY INSURANCE

MF INSURANCE LOGO Integrity Insurance, a property and casualty carrier, is proud to announce Mel Foster Insurance has earned a spot in the 2016 Leadership Circle, which honors the top-tier of agencies for their work in 2015. To achieve Leadership Circle status, Mel Foster Insurance met specific criteria based on premium, profitability, growth and loss ratio.

“We’re honored to work with the incredible team at Mel Foster Insurance and happy to welcome them to Integrity’s 2016 Leadership Circle” said Integrity Insurance President Jill Wagner. “Mel Foster is a major contributor to our success providing top-notch service and expertise to policyholders. We’re grateful for their commitment and partnership.”

“This recognition is a testament to our entire team’s commitment to making our clients insurance experience first class,” said Mel Foster Insurance President Marc Engels. “We feel fortunate to live and work in such a great community and can’t express how appreciative we are to our clients for putting their confidence in us.”

Mel Foster Insurance is located at 3218 E 35th St C, Davenport, IA. For more information on their services, visit melfosterinsurance.com.

MEL FOSTER CO. CELEBRATES 2015 RESULTS

MF Logo 90x30Mel Foster Co. held its annual awards reception last night at the Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa. Rob Fick, President & CEO, Lynsey Engels, President Real Estate Brokerage and Marc Engels, President of Mel Foster Insurance, presented awards to 114 agents who 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

Brad Boeye – Residential Iowa Top Sales

Mike Smith – Insurance Top Producer

The year 2015 in residential real estate was marked by steady growth with increases in both existing home sales and prices. The average 2015 sales price for Mel Foster Co. residential real estate was $161,303, an increase of 5.5 percent from last year. Mel Foster Co. closed transactions per agent was up 6.6 percent from 2014 and overall volume increased by 5.9 percent from 2014. New construction continued to be solid in the Quad Cities market in 2015. Mel Foster Co. residential real estate has a strong presence in the new construction market, offering multiple subdivisions to meet the demands of new construction buyers. Lynsey Engels said, “The local new construction market will continue to see significant gains in 2016, based on the level of new construction starts in 2015 and expected availability of new lots this year. We will open 50-100 lots in Bettendorf and Eldridge in 2016.” Mel Foster Co.’s average new construction sale price remained about the same in 2015 at $387,077.

Several noteworthy achievements were celebrated by the residential division in 2015. Mel Foster Co.’s Geneseo office became the second location to receive a boutique style remodel. The renovated space embraces technology and is configured to meet the changing needs of agents and the clients they serve. The Galesburg office was remodeled in 2014 and was featured as the office of the week in Real Trends, a national real estate publication, in November 2015. The office will undergo an expansion this year to accommodate its recent growth.  To the north, Mel Foster Co. welcomed former Mills Realty as they added a new location in Savanna, Illinois.

The brokers for Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate Services closed 267 transaction sides, averaging $313,192 in sales volume per transaction. Totaling $97 million in commercial sales volume in 2015, four of the brokers finished in the top 15 of the CMLS. Lynsey Engels praised the commercial division saying, “We are thrilled with our continued growth in the commercial market.  2014 and 2015 have been our largest years since 2005.”

Mel Foster Insurance continued to grow it’s footprint in the Quad Cities as a trusted Independent Insurance Agency. Marc Engels commented, “Our value proposition to the region continues to be a hands on customized insurance experience based on each client’s unique needs. Our employees work hard each day to deliver on that promise and our clients reward us with over 95% retention.” In 2015, results remained strong as direct written premium grew 5.1 percent, policy count was up 4.3 percent, and the division added 713 new clients. With a range of product offerings from Personal and Commercial Property/Casualty to Employee benefits, Mel Foster Insurance saw positive contributions from all departments this past year. Marc Engels stated, “Guided by the industry’s Best Practices we will continue to invest in innovative technology to improve the client experience. We realize we still have a lot of opportunity in the Quad Cities and that is exciting.”

As a whole, in 2015, Mel Foster Co. welcomed 29 new agents and staff. Eager to see what success lies ahead for Mel Foster Co., Rob Fick said, “We will continue investing resources into technology, placing emphasis on recruiting and training of new and existing agents, and offering exceptional education programs and tools. Sales of new and existing homes are expected to accelerate in 2016 and our agents are off to a productive start already in the new year.”

MEL FOSTER CO. CELEBRATES SALES GROWTH

MF LOGO ONLY COLORMel Foster Co. held its annual awards reception last night at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa. Rob Fick, President & CEO, Lynsey Engels, President Real Estate Brokerage and Marc Engels, President of Mel Foster Insurance, presented awards to 115 agents who 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

Brad Boeye – Residential Iowa Top Sales

Mike Smith – Insurance Top Producer

Dedicated agents and staff are the foundation for success at Mel Foster Co. Inc. Building on the momentum of a strong 2013, Mel Foster Co. Inc. had a solid 2014, including an exceptionally impressive year for Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate Services. Combining all three divisions of Mel Foster Co. Inc. (Residential Real Estate, Commercial Real Estate and Insurance), the total sales volume increased by over 4 percent from 2013 which is a record year.

Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate Services set a new company sales record with a 31 percent increase over last year’s record sales volume. Lynsey Engels reported that the brokers of the commercial division closed an average of over 10 million dollars per broker. She praised the commercial division and said, “This past year was phenomenal for our commercial division, the best total sales volume recorded in our history. Based on the year’s closed commercial transaction production, our commercial division ranked number one in the CMLS (Commercial Multiple Listing Service) for 2014 capturing over 43 percent of the total commercial sales volume.  Many of these 2014 transactions will have a significant impact on the future growth and development of the Quad Cities and surrounding region and that is something we are very proud of.”

Mel Foster Co. residential real estate ranked number one in the Quad Cities MLS with over one third of the total sales volume for this region. The average 2014 sales price for Mel Foster Co. residential real estate was $152,885, an increase of 3 percent from last year.

New construction continued to be good for the Quad Cities housing industry. Last year, Mel Foster Co. residential real estate predicted new construction sales to be strong in 2014 and that forecast met this expectation. Lynsey Engels said, “We positioned ourselves to meet the new construction demand in our region by launching four new subdivisions in 2013 and we closed 43 new residential lots in those subdivisions.”

Mel Foster Insurance continues to build off of a record setting year.  Marc Engels commented. “Any time you reach new levels, the big question is can you keep the momentum going.  Our continued success can be attributed to our staff, producers, and the local clientele we work with each day.” In 2014, results continued to trend upward as direct written premiums grew 8 percent, policy count was up over 6 percent, and the agency added 791 new clients. With a range of product offerings from Personal and Commercial Property/Casualty to Employee Benefits, Mel Foster Insurance saw positive contributions from all departments this past year.  Marc Engels also stated, “We continue to focus on innovative solutions, while remembering that most importantly, our clients want a customized, personal insurance experience.  When you look back on the year, you realize that the accomplishments our division is most proud of don’t show up on the financials, but in our role as a community stewards.”

“In 2014, we welcomed 41 new agents and staff, and 12 individuals are enrolled in our upcoming pre-license classes. With job creation continuing to increase, mortgage rates falling, and healthy increases in home sales prices, the outlook for the housing market in 2015 looks bright,” commented Rob Fick. Optimistic about Mel Foster Co.’s future, Engels also mentioned the hiring of its Director of Business Development to continue the emphasis on recruiting and training new agents with exceptional education programs and tools. Engels added, “The agents are the true lifeblood of our company’s success so it is a key focus to ensure they have great technology and training opportunities to provide the consumers with the best experience.”


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