Mel Foster Co. Celebrates 2022 Achievements

Mel Foster Co. celebrated 2022 at its annual awards event on January 26, 2023. Lynsey Engels, president of real estate brokerage, Marc Engels, president of Mel Foster Insurance, and Rob Fick, president and CEO, collectively honored 109 award winners for their 2022 achievements and released the company’s year-end results.

Mel Foster Insurance, a locally owned and operated independent insurance agency, had another successful year in a challenging insurance market. With insurance rates rising across the region, the agency was able to capitalize on their numerous financially stable insurance company partners to bring insurance solutions to clients. Agency President Marc Engels commented, “The insurance industry continues to see record catastrophic weather events, nuclear liability verdicts, and unprecedented social inflation, affecting premiums for all insurance consumers. Our people and our long-term relationships in the insurance marketplace make us uniquely positioned to find competitive rates while providing professional and local service.”

In an evolving insurance market, the commercial property and casualty department experienced year-over-year growth of 8.9%. Overall, the insurance division saw increased revenue of 6%, and direct written premium was up 5.9%. Mr. Engels said, “I am proud of our entire team for the outstanding service provided throughout the year, which allowed us to retain 98% of our clients in 2022! We appreciate the confidence clients have in us as we recognize we would not be here without their continued business.”  

“In 2023, we will continue to make financial investments in training and professional development for our employees. We will work diligently to be a trusted independent agency in the Quad Cities region that delivers a great insurance experience,” said Mr. Engels.  

As one of the largest land developers in the Quad Cities and surrounding areas, Mel Foster Co. sold 24 residential lots in six subdivisions in 2022. To keep up with the demand, the company has 103 developed residential lots available in inventory for home buyers wishing to build their dream home. In addition to the already developed residential lots, Mel Foster Co. has four additional subdivisions final platted and ready to be developed.  Mel Foster Co. residential agents sold 69 new construction homes or condos in 2022 and the average new construction sales price in 2022 was $455,994, up from $452,734 last year.

Mel Foster Commercial Real Estate Services, led by Thad DenHartog, had over $75 million in commercial real estate sales, down 8.7% from last year. Two of the company’s commercial brokers ranked in the top 10 of the Quad Cities Commercial MLS. Ms. Engels said, “Even with the changing marketplace, the Quad Cities commercial real estate industry saw an increase in interest from outside investors. Despite rising inflation, fears of a recession and supply chain disruptions, the demand for industrial space was still high.”

Nationally and locally, residential real estate continued to experience a lack of inventory and rising interest rates sidelined some buyers and sellers in the year’s second half. Mel Foster Co. had a 5% decline in volume from 2021. The average sales price for the company was up 9.57% from 2022 at $213,588, and the number of days on the market dropped to 27 compared to 37 in 2021.

Ms. Engels stated, “The first half of the year was similar to 2021. Buyers experienced strong home prices, limited inventory, and a relatively fast-moving environment. As interest rates increased, inflation skyrocketed, and inventory remained tight, the market changed in the last half of the year. Our agents still successfully closed deals with those challenges.” On average, Mel Foster Co.’s agents closed 13.5 transactions (buy or sell) in 2022, which is higher than the national average according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Across the eight residential office locations within Mel Foster Co., the company had a combined 11 agents in the top 10 of their respective residential MLS. Ten agents were named on RealTrends America’s Best Real Estate Professionals list, which honors the finest real estate agents from across the country.

The website, MelFosterCo.com was named one of the leading real estate websites in the nation. The website was recognized for its community section by the real estate industry publication RealTrends Website Rankings, which highlights the top real estate websites across the country in six total categories in an annual brokerage website ranking. A team of technical experts specializing in website design, structure, and functionality analyzes the sites. Mel Foster Co. earned the 2022 Top Workplaces in the USA and Top Workplaces in Iowa, a partnership with The Des Moines Register and Energage.

Fick welcomed 17 new agents/staff and congratulated five other agents/staff on their retirements during the awards. Twenty-two agents were recognized for volunteering on real estate association committees or boards at the local, state, or national level. Forty-one agents and staff were thanked for their years of service with the company, totaling 660 years of combined service. Across all three company divisions, the median years of service among staff/agents is 13.5 years. This number is nearly double what other companies experience, according to NAR. Fick commented, “Our years of service marker indicates that our agents, producers, and staff have collectively created a culture that I am proud of.  We invest in new technology and new products to help our agents and producers find success at Mel Foster Co. We are always seeking talented professionals to join our team.”

Throughout its 100-year history, Mel Foster Co. has prioritized giving back to the communities it serves.

Mel Foster Co. continued its Think.Buy.Be.Local campaign in 2022. In support of this initiative, the company raised money to support local families by participating in the River Bend Foodbank Community Hunger Drive. Mel Foster Co. supported 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 ImpactLIfe, donated to Quad City Animal Welfare Center through a partnership with WHBF, and collected toys and money for Toys for Tots. Mel Foster Co. agents and staff supported over 160 local businesses during Small Business Week, a 62% increase from last year. The company partnered with local breweries and coffee shops in its communities by providing its agents and staff with branded Mel Foster Co. growlers for a complimentary fill on the company at those establishments. The company is also the three-peat defending champion of the Quad-City Times Bix 7 Brady Street Corporate Sponsor Challenge. Ms. Engels stated, “It’s a privilege to work with our staff and agents with opportunities to give back and support local businesses.”

Engels closed the awards by thanking the agents and staff for their continued perseverance, loyalty, and commitment to clients. “We don’t know what challenges 2023 will bring, but our dedicated professionals will be ready to serve our communities.”

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

Small Business Week Success

As a company with a long history of giving back to the communities they serve, Mel Foster Co. is proud to announce the results of its Think.Buy.Be.Local Small Business week challenge.  Each year, Mel Foster Co. agents and staff are encouraged to support local businesses in the neighborhoods where they live, work, and play during Small Business Saturday.  For 2022, Mel Foster Co. extended Small Business Saturday into a weeklong event to allow more visits to more local businesses.

To help promote the small businesses they love, the agents and staff snapped a photo of themselves shopping, posted to Facebook and tagged the local business and Mel Foster Co.  To encourage participation and further support local businesses, Mel Foster Co. purchased gift cards from local businesses and the agent/staff member shopping and taking photos was entered into a company drawing for each posted photo.

To further help small businesses and add some fun for the company’s agents and staff, Mel Foster Co. provided each person with a custom Mel Foster Co. growler to fill with their beverage of choice from participating businesses. Thirteen local businesses from the Quad Cities and surrounding area joined in by providing growler fills of beer, cider, cold brew coffee, kombucha or soda purchased by Mel Foster Co.

Mel Foster Co. agents and staff supported over 160 small businesses during Think.Buy.Be.Local week.  Lynsey Engels, president of Mel Foster Co. Real Estate Brokerage, stresses the importance of buying local. “We are a local, family-owned business, so we understand how important it is to shop local and use local service providers. When we all support each other with our business, we build a stronger community where more businesses and families can thrive. We understand the challenges many small business owners have faced in the last two years and know there are still challenges finding staff and sourcing supplies that have risen in cost. That’s why we dedicated a full week to supporting small businesses this year. It’s not something we just get on board with one day of the year or even one week each year. Supporting fellow small businesses is an important part of our culture, and we strive to Think.Buy.Be. Local throughout the year.”

Mel Foster Co. Celebrates 2021 Achievements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Mel Foster Co.

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

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

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

Mel Foster Co. Supports Local Businesses and Families

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. 

Spring Maintenance For Your Car

Your car needs spring maintenance just like your house does. As we ease out of a tough Midwest winter season, your vehicle could use some tender love and care. Consider maintenance steps to ensure your wheels are ready to roll this spring.

Check Alignment and Rotate Tires

Most of us drove through a pothole or two this winter, and the car’s alignment and suspension are likely imbalanced because of it. Schedule an appointment with your favorite car service company and have the tires rotated and alignment evaluated to confirm the car is safe and secure.

Do A Deep Clean

According to the homeowners’ information website, Angie’s List, leftover salt can be your car’s most damaging remnant of the winter season. Undercarriages, where the metal can rust, endure the biggest hit when they don’t get a deep clean. Take the vehicle to a professional car wash to eliminate salt, so your car has a clean slate this spring. And don’t forget the inside of the car. A quality interior detailing will extend the life of your carpet and mats and will rid your vehicle of those dropped French fries that you just can’t reach between the seat and the console.

Car Part and Safety Upkeep

The emergency kit in the trunk may need some items swapped out after the long winter. Verify that your flashlight batteries are good, replace the flares used, and make sure you still have your jumper cables. Change windshield wipers that don’t quite keep the windows clear and fill your washer fluid.

Test The Battery

Brutal winters with low temps can take a toll on your car battery. Many places like AutoZone offer free battery testing and charging so you know how much battery life is left. Prepare now for the upcoming road trip, so you aren’t stuck on the side of the road this spring or summer.

Find more tips for homeowners at melfostercoblog.com

How Remodeling Affects Home Insurance

Ready to dive into a home remodel project? Aside from creating a realistic budget, schedule a meeting with your Mel Foster Insurance agent before selecting a contractor to determine how the upgrades will affect your homeowner’s insurance coverage. Consider a few questions to be sure you’re ready to proceed.

Who Should Do The Work?

Feel confident in your choice of contractor and team. Reliable, professional contractors often have reviews and references available through the Better Business Bureau. The contractors should provide you with proof of workers’ compensation and liability insurance before the work begins. Hiring a subcontractor or paying a friend to complete the job makes you an employer, which means you should purchase the worker’s compensation insurance yourself to cover liability in case of injury. Know who is doing the work and how this affects your insurance responsibility.

Will I Be Covered During Renovation?

Your home insurance company will typically insure the building materials you’ll need for renovation. But how much is covered? You may need to raise your coverage limits before beginning your project, and your Mel Foster agent can help settle this with you. Determine if your policy provides sufficient allowances for the unexpected, like if a fire struck and destroyed both your home and the building materials. Some insurance policies also have limitations on whether dwellings under construction or vacant for more than a set number of days are covered. Discuss all options to find the best insurance coverage so you’re protected

Does The Remodel Affect My Coverage Limit?

Most home insurance policies require you to insure your home for a minimum of 80 percent of its replacement value, while a Mel Foster home insurance policy covers 100 percent of your home replacement costs.

According to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, one in four remodeling projects increases the home’s value by more than 25 percent. It’s essential that your insurance coverage reflects your remodel’s impact on the value of the house. Your agent can determine if your policy limits are adequate to cover potential rebuild costs, including the remodel, if damages were to occur.

Find more insurance tips for homeowners.

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.”   


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