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. DONATING $100,000 AND 1,000 HOURS

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. 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 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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