Kinship   January 29th, 2015

Pace Woods, Jr., (second from top left) and Woods Bros agents go on a listing tour.

Pace Woods, Jr., (second from top left) and Woods Bros agents go on a listing tour.

The late 1970s and early 1980s was a boom time in Lincoln. Everyone working for Woods Bros Realty during the time of great growth felt a part of a family. Pace Woods Jr. really promoted that.

Any occasions for parties or celebrations, birthdays or holidays or even major sales, were seized upon with cakes and cookies. Interaction and relationships worked as strengthening bonds that would transcend business and amity. This kinship empowered agents to embrace change and growth.

Made up of two offices in 1975, (one at the Cornhusker with eight employees, and the second with about 20 employees at the Country Club,) the business family would come together on Tuesday mornings for weekly sales meetings.

Following the meetings, agents would carpool around town together touring new listings. After tours, they would gather together for lunch and more camaraderie.

There were discussions of strategy and opportunities to air different challenges that they may face.

Soon, agent numbers grew too large to carpool. Pace hired a bus so that everyone could tour together. Not long after that, a second bus became necessary to accommodate the growing family of agents. When two busses were not enough, a new idea was hit upon – individual agents would host open houses for colleagues at their new listings, luring their coworkers with promises of pizza or sandwiches or other snacks. This tradition continues today. The busses were let go and there was a return to carpooling.

Pace Woods’s determination to foster a family spirit led to great success.

He was busy galvanizing people and relationships so that it surfaced not only with results and prosperity, but also showed the power of belonging and affinity.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

HomeServices of Nebraska recently hired Beth Plants as Commissions Processor on the accounting team.

Plants will be processing commission checks to ensure that each real estate agent involved in any given transaction is paid correctly.

Plants also works part-time as a tax specialist for H&R Block during tax season. She was born and raised in Lincoln, but has traveled throughout the United States and also Mexico, Canada and even went with Nebraska Wesleyan Symphonic Band to Australia to play for the Olympic Torch run in the 2000 Olympics.

She enjoys spending time with her husband, Justin, nine-year-old daughter, Winsome “Winnie,” and their two dogs, Jax and Buddy. She also enjoys Husker football, yoga and knitting.

HomeServices of Nebraska is a wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate. It includes the entities of Woods Bros Realty, HOME Real Estate, Nebraska Land Title and Abstract (NLTA), HomeServices Lending, HomeServices of Nebraska Insurance, Home Owners Plus and the Larabee School of Real Estate. For more information about HomeServices of Nebraska, call 402-434-3700.


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The Young City as a Garden   January 22nd, 2015

During the 1860s and 1870s, if they thought of it at all, most people considered Nebraska part of a great American desert. To many, our State was barren space to be traversed, an obstacle beyond which was the shimmering prize of a distant western goal. A common sentiment, both literal and metaphoric: what could possibly grow here?

Fortunately, some dreamed beyond that sentiment. Where others saw only desert, a few envisioned a robust garden. Roots were set and Lincoln rose up. The city’s emergence from the dust and soil was patient and steady as prairie flowers.

Settling a city was irresistibly alluring for a certain type of young person who found risk and adventure glamorous. But dreams alone wouldn’t make success, and risk can be tempered by order, mitigated by hard work.

A plat, originally made in 1867, roughly delineated the borders of the city from A Street north to U Street, and east from First to 17th Streets. Over the coming quarter century, land booms were under way. Within these borders the young city was a garden beginning to bud, outside the borders tendrils crept.

In 1889 Mark W. Woods and George J. Woods began city realty development in Lincoln. Platted additions stretched six miles north of the University, south of city hall to the penitentiary, and west of what is now Pioneers Park. Lincoln began to flower.

Like great gardens, fine cities demand dreams and creativity. The Woods Brothers added to the equation courage, compassion, and common sense. Lincoln thrived and so did they.

Lincoln in 1889

Lincoln in 1889


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Megan Yank

Megan Yank

Megan Yank joins the Country Club office. She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. She attended Lincoln Southwest high school, Southeast Community College and Bellevue University where she earned both an associate’s degree in business and a bachelor’s degree in marketing. She and her husband Matt have a strong passion for animals and spend a lot of their free time volunteering at The Cat House. Otherwise she enjoys playing volleyball and spending time with friends and family. Megan is the daughter of Bruce Hahn, Woods Bros agent. Megan can be reached at 402-326-1633 or megan.yank@woodsbros.com.


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Hi Friends,

I hope the sun finds its way through the clouds before long. The gray quota in our days is way over the top, and we’re barely past the winter solstice. It’s a part of those expectations we’ve come to adopt as the year melts away and we begin writing the wrong date on most things for the first half of January. At least I do. Sort of a “bonus month” for 2014.

Centenarian Christmas Cactus

Centenarian Christmas Cactus

There are all sorts of those “expectations” that we count on at this time. Our ancient Christmas cactus is offering a half-dozen or so blossoms from its semi-regal perch on an equally-ancient oak table in our dining room. We really consider the holidays’ arrival when those red-pink displays appear once more. How many Decembers has that trusty old photosynthesis proponent successfully signaled the season? Some great-great-great grandma-in-law of mine was the first to witness it. I hope it’s around for another generation or two to witness the beauty.

I’ve sometimes thought of the changes that people have experienced in the lifetime of this old plant, which could easily date to the early 1900’s. Many of us are aware of these oldies-but-goodies. Some of us view them as both a blessing and a curse. Woe be it to the caregiver that drowns or starves Great Grandma’s Christmas cactus. Reality is, they’re more hardy than given credit.

Hope is something frequently offered up this time of year. We hope our friends and family have a wonderful holiday season. We hope someone gets over a cold. We hope the Huskers do well in their bowl game. We hope the roads are safe for travelers. We hope to get the holiday shopping done. We hope NOT to have to spend an entire day at the post office or UPS store. For the dwindling number of us who send holiday greetings, we hope to get that family letter done. We hope to get to our place of worship on Christmas Eve or another appropriate gathering time. We hope our service people are safe where ever they may be serving around the world. We hope special ones in our lives can be with us over these next days for a meal or a drink or a hug. We hope for those who have no address that their burdens may be lighter in the new year.

While we are in the business of helping people buy and sell houses and other spaces, we also hope that those new-found abodes are filled with happy occupants. After all, we hope those are now homes, not just houses. We hope for the possibility of peace, however that may be measured. Peace in our city, our nation and our world. And most importantly, I hope for peace in our hearts.

May your holidays be filled with deep meaning and peace. Here’s hoping!


Lance Hall Posted by Lance Hall
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Brody Emery

Brody Emery

Brody Emery joins the Grand Island office. He grew up in Grand Island, Nebraska. He graduated from Bellevue University with a bachelors in Business. He enjoys anything related to outdoors. He and his parents started the Prairie River Honey Farm beekeeping business where they harvest and bottle all the honey by hand, selling the honey online to every state in the United States. Brody can be reached at 308-339-9304 or www.woodsbros.com/brodyemery.


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The Future   December 18th, 2014

How do you want to be a part of the future? By creating a useful invention? By leaving a philanthropic or family legacy? Perhaps an artistic creation? All the things we can think of to extend the memories of ourselves may have a different context, but individuals and families living 100 years ago also wanted to be a part of the future.

The Woods Family has had a range of interests and abilities that put them in the position to help shape the future. Let’s take a look at a few of the family’s different businesses and concerns.

4generaWoods_webIn 1889, using their collective knowledge of law, land, and livestock, Colonel F.M. Woods and three of his four sons, Mark W., George J., and Frank H. Woods started the firm of Woods Brothers. Beginning with land and real estate development in Lincoln, they broadened their activities to nurture close contact within prominent financial and investment circles.

By the mid- and late-1920s, Woods Brothers had diversified to form Woods Investment Company; Lincoln Telephone and Telegraph Company; Standard Timber Company; and Woods Brothers’ Silo and Manufacturing Company. Planning was underway to engage in inland waterway development all around the country that would provide riverbank mitigation and bridge building work.

The list continues. Other Woods Brothers interests included the Lincoln Traction Company that ran the city’s trolleys; major holdings in Illinois’ O’Gara Coal Company; department stores; dry goods manufacturing; securities and insurance; and construction. They went into the ranching business, and they were leading breeders and dealers of purebred draft horses. They manufactured aircraft.

They were into so many interesting and diverse business activities, it is not surprising to find exotic bits of American history like this from historian Jim McKee, writing in the Lincoln Journal Star: “On March 3, 1931 the [Woods Brothers] corporation submitted a bid of $58.6 million to build Hoover Dam but was bested by a six-corporation combination whose bid of $48,890,955 was said to be only $4,200 more than the government calculated as the actual cost of construction.”

Although it was critical to the development of the city of Lincoln, their ambition and success came to help define so much more. Theirs are a series of fascinating stories that reach into the recent past of the United States and its development, as well. Their stories can remind us that a combination of vision, hard work, tenacity, and a dose of good timing can culminate not only a family legacy, they can come together to help shape the future.


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CB031153One question I am asked all the time from homeowners who are considering putting their house on the market is: When is the best time to list? Many people feel they should wait until the Spring when the grass is green, the flowers are blooming and more people are out looking. I question, are those people out looking because the grass is green and the flowers are blooming and they just enjoy looking? In other words, are they serious buyers or those infamous “Lookey-loos”?

My advice to someone considering selling is to, number one, list when you need to sell. But, number 2, don’t be afraid to list in the winter. In fact, listing in the winter might be to your advantage. If someone is needing to buy a home in the winter months, they will have to choose from what’s available. So if your neighbors all decide to wait until the snow and ice is gone and the temperatures are above freezing, then those buyers looking at that time will have to choose from the homes that are listed. If fewer homes are listed then it’s less competition for your home.

A quick look at the statistics from the Midlands Multiple Listing Service shows the most popular months for listing a home are typically April – July. For 2013, the last year with a full 12-months of numbers available, the busiest month for listing homes was July. During that month, there were 674 Single Family Residential Listings processed on the MLS. The slowest month that year was December, when only 314 listings were processed. As well, the MLS stats show the busiest months for homes sold in 2013 was July, with 489 single family homes sold. The slowest month was February with 208.

Yes, there may be more people looking in the warmer months and more people wanting to move at that time. However, if someone is out there looking at homes when the days are shorter and the temperatures are colder, you can imagine they are pretty serious about wanting to find a new home.

So my advice is keep the snow shovel handy, keep the firewood stocked, put out the welcome mat and beat the competition to the buyers.

In other news, a review of stats from the Midlands MLS from recent years reveals two very interesting developments. The number of homes available for sale on the MLS has steadily dropped since the high in 2008. At any point in time during 2008, there was an average of 2,319 of homes listed for sale on the MLS. Compare that to 2013, when the average number of homes listed for sale was 1,342. It’s not totally clear why there has been such a decline in the number of homes listed for sale. But clearly this has created good news for home sellers and a challenge for home buyers. People looking to buy a home have much fewer options on the MLS than they had just a few years ago. This has often resulted in homes selling faster and for higher prices. That’s the second development. The average sales price of a single family home according to the MLS has steadily increased in recent years. For the year 2008, the average single family home sold for $154,221. In 2013, that number had improved to $163,731.


Joanne McCoy Posted by Joanne McCoy

MP900390556If you have holiday shopping to do, you may be considering doing some of it online. Browsing the Internet and shopping online comes with some risks that you need to know how to navigate. A large percentage of viruses, Trojans, malware and adware are created by fraudsters trying to trick you into revealing your credit/debit card or banking information. They often rely on a computer user having unsafe browsing habits. Here are some security best practices to help you safely shop online:

  1. Only conduct business with reputable vendors.
  2. Use a credit card for transactions rather than a debit card, and check your statements for fraudulent transactions.
  3. Keep your software and your Web browser up to date.
  4. Use anti-virus software, and keep it updated.
  5. Don’t click on advertisements – they may have nasty backdoors, adware, trackers and cookies that will eventually cause problems on your computer.
  6. Be wary of emails that advertise sales or bargains – consider browsing to the main site without clicking a link in an email.
  7. While making purchases, make sure there is a padlock in the browser window or https://at the beginning of the Web address to signify that it is a secure site. If there isn’t, do not enter personal information.
  8. Avoid using applications for your phone or computer that offer to store sensitive information, even if they appear to be secure.
  9. Avoid shopping while using public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

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Sandra Harder of the Woods Bros Realty Wilderness Hills office was named the Shining Star for December.

Her nomination read:

“Sandra is very accommodating to her buyers and sellers and is very eager to volunteer her time and knowledge assisting new agents. For the last 35 years Sandra has volunteered her home, her time, and expertise to fellow agents, friends and acquaintances. Her fun personality lightens up a room! She goes above and beyond for the staff at Wilderness Hills.

“When Sandra is in the office I always see her walking around and introducing herself to new agents and says, ‘If there is anything I can do for you, please don’t hesitate to ask,’ and I have seen her sit down with a lot of newer agents and help them out with paperwork (and she is not their mentor). Her positive attitude is very uplifting to our office!!!!”

Mangaing Broker Judy Sasek and General Manager Shannon Harner present Sandra Harder with the Shining Star.

Mangaing Broker Judy Sasek and General Manager Shannon Harner present Sandra Harder with the Shining Star.

Shining Stars are HomeServices of Nebraska associates, including managers, employees and agents, who help make our company a better place for our customers, clients and for each other. Nominees must exemplify the following:

  1. The person went out of their way to exceed the HomeServices of Nebraska Standards and best practices.
  2. The gesture or service was above and beyond normal job requirements or expectations.
  3. The employee, manager or agent went beyond the call of duty to ensure the needs of a customer, fellow employee or agent.

Anyone is invited to nominate employees, agents or managers who have displayed The Shining Star Spirit. For someone to be recognized, a Shining Star Nomination Form must be submitted by the 15th of every month. *A participant is eligible to win one (1) time per year.

Shining Star Values

Positive Attitude – A positive attitude is focusing on what is useful, beneficial and worthwhile in each and every situation. Your attitude is displayed through your words, actions and facial expressions with your customers and those around you.

Accountable - Accountable is being responsible for your actions and behaviors as they impact customers and those around you.

Responsive – Being responsive is being open to the situation as it occurs and responding in a sensitive manner to meet needs and expectations.

Teamwork – Teamwork is helping each other win and taking pride in each other’s victories. No one person or department alone can provide for the comprehensive needs of our customers. We achieve our goals when working together as a team.

No Excuses – A culture of no excuses acknowledges when mistakes or perceived shortcomings are made and seeks to correct or make right rather than rationalize or justify the problem.

Exemplary - To serve as a model or example of positive action; strive for high performance standards and deliver results. Demonstrate technical competence. Set high standards for self, demonstrating integrity and superior customer service skills.

Responsibility – Responsibility is acting with initiative and understanding that our organization and our customers are depending on us.

Service - Service is everything we do to exceed the needs and expectations of our customers at all times.

Safety – Demonstrate the importance of safety and how it may influence our daily lives.


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Scott Albers

Scott Albers

Scott Albers joins the Lincolnshire office. He recently moved to Nebraska from Arizona where he worked at Code of the West Realty. His hobbies include camping, fishing and flying. Scott can be reached at 402-417-6415 or scott.albers@woodsbros.com.


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Hi Friends,

MP900387468People watching, especially in an international airport, can often be thought provoking, or at least helpful if you’re forced to surrender 4 hours of your time to the unfriendly skies of weather.  Such was the case recently at DFW (Dallas/Ft. Worth), where Stetson were plentiful, along with stocking caps, ball caps, an occasional turban and other cultural headwear offerings.  The wiley north Texas wind meant that about 175 of us, with our various cultural representations, had a common ground of being grounded.  Regardless of 1st class or coach, cocktail or complimentary Coke, we were all one, big, techno-device-hugging, departure board-staring, collection of dispirited curmudgeons.

The week ahead would be Thanksgiving, even in Ferguson, Missouri.  Probably most everyone in Ferguson would prefer the past 4 months or so could be put on re-wind.  Do over.  Un-do.  Re-think.  But it is a reality that I can not comprehend.  Many of us probably can not.  For those of us who lived in the confusion of the 1960’s, today’s media coverage may have reminded us of L.A.’s Watts district on a smaller scale, with homes, businesses and emotions enflamed.  Living in secure, prosperous and what many perceive as nearly crime-free Lincoln, Nebraska, may cause us to offer unrealistic solutions to that St. Louis suburb’s unimaginable disarray.

Our group of 175 or so at DFW wore lots of different hats last weekend as we waited anxiously for the possibility of our plane to take us home, where all was quiet and familiar.  Nothing unusual for a Realtor to do the same, wearing a myriad of hats, looking for answers to our common challenges of closing the transaction.  Sort of “putting out fires” in many cases.

Our hearts are with the families in Ferguson, Missouri, where we pray that the fires may be extinguished sooner than later.  Changes will occur, probably accompanied by incredible challenges.  In wearing our hats as Realtors, parents, grandparents, siblings, single persons, and fellow citizens of Mother Earth, we will look forward to this week of Thanksgiving and the memory-filled times this holiday creates annually.  Our abundance is immeasurable.

Let us give thanks in what ever ways we feel appropriate for our treasured families, friends, our homes, and our opportunities in this wonderful, yet sometimes troubled nation.  May the people of Ferguson, Missouri find some semblance of peace in the times ahead.
Blessings to all, my good friends.


Lance Hall Posted by Lance Hall

Members of Woods Bros Realty’s Foundation for Giving committee recently gave out $18,750 to local charity organizations.

The Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving was established in 1987 by Pace Woods, Sr. to support those less fortunate in local communities. Every time a Woods Bros Realty sales professional closes one side of a transaction, the agent makes a contribution to the Foundation, which is then matched by the company.

In late fall, a committee of agents, selected by their offices to serve two-year terms, reviews all the requests and determines funding. A Woods Bros agent or employee must sponsor each request accepted by the Foundation. Since the inception of the Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving, more than $312,000 has been donated.

“The Foundation For Giving is an amazing, positive, and strong attribute of the Woods Bros Realty family,” said Managing Broker Arla Meyer. “This is one of the benefits of being an agent with the organization.”

Some companies who were helped by the Foundation for Giving in 2014 include Capital Humane Society, CASA for Children, CEDARS Youth Services, Child Advocacy Center, Food Bank of Lincoln, Foundation for Lincoln City Libraries, Friendship Home of Lincoln, Grand Island Habitat for Humanity, Heartfelt Children’s Memorial, Hope Harbor, Inc., Huntington Holiday Headquarters, Leadership Lincoln, Lincoln Children’s Zoo, Lincoln Community Foundation, Lincoln Community Playhouse, Lincoln Kids Against Hunger, Seward Youth Center, The BAY, Young Life, and YMCA of Lincoln.

2014 Foundation for Giving Committee

2014 Foundation for Giving Committee

Foundation for Giving committee members were (top row, left to right): Co-Chairperson Arla Meyer, Matt Hardesty, Lois Kohmetscher, Bob Danley, Roger Reynolds, Nanci Burchess, Chairperson Judy Sasek, Michael Poskochil, Shelly Nitz, and Linda McCall; (front row, left to right): Jayne Debus, Nickie Casburn, Pat Schmit.

Woods Bros Realty is wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America.  The full-service company offers 125 years of expertise in real estate as well as experience in mortgage, title, closing, and insurance services. Providing an easier way to buy and sell, more than 200 sales associates work with clients in Lincoln, Seward, Beatrice, York, Wahoo, Grand Island, and southeast Nebraska. For more information about Woods Bros Realty, visit www.WoodsBros.com.


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HomeServices of Nebraska recently hired Cortney Denker as Education Manager of the Larabee School of Real Estate and Jane Bartunek as Executive Assistant to the CEO.

Cortney Denker

Cortney Denker

Denker will oversee and promote real estate agent education programs at the Larabee School of Real Estate. She graduated with a degree in marketing and management from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. In addition to some marketing experience, she also worked as a business analyst for a liquor distributor in Omaha. She recently moved back to her hometown of Lincoln with her husband, Tyler, a CPA, to be closer to family. Outside work, she loves running and spending time with her family, friends, and their dog, Milo, a Golden Retriever.

Jane Bartunek

Jane Bartunek

Bartunek is transferring to the corporate office to assist the CEO of HomeServices of Nebraska. Bartunek also grew up in Lincoln and is an East High graduate. She previously worked at the HOME Real Estate Pioneer Greens office as office manager for more than 20 years, and she also served as the MLS Administrator at the REALTORS® Association of Lincoln for nearly 10 years. Bartunek and her husband, Steve, have been married for 25 years and have a cat named Lucky. She enjoys NHRA Drag Racing, riding Harley Davidson motorcycles and down time at home.

HomeServices of Nebraska is a wholly owned subsidiary of HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate. It includes the entities of HOME Real Estate, Woods Bros Realty, Nebraska Land Title and Abstract (NLTA), HomeServices Lending, HomeServices of Nebraska Insurance, Home Owners Plus and the Larabee School of Real Estate. For more information about HomeServices of Nebraska, call 402-434-3700. For information on the Larabee School, visit www.LarabeeSchool.com.


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Betty Sims

Betty Sims

Betty Sims joins the Lincolnshire office.  She has been a full time Real Estate Professional with 40 years of experience. Her commitment to her client is to make their family’s move as smooth as possible. Her goal is to provide the highest level of service and to exceed their expectations. She is also fluent in German. Betty can be reached at 402-610-0822 or betty.sims@woodsbros.com


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