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.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

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.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

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.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

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.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

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.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

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.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

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.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty
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


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Kaleb Andersen

Kaleb Andersen

Kaleb Andersen joins the Wilderness Hills office.  He grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. He attended University of Nebraska- Lincoln and Wayne State College. His hobbies include sports, piano and traveling. Kaleb can be reached at 402-416-2401 or kaleb.andersen@woodsbros.com


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Julie Starns

Julie Starns

Julie Starns joins the Lincolnshire office. Julie recently moved to Nebraska from Nevada where she worked at Wardley Real Estate. Her hobbies include animal rescue and Yankees baseball. Julie can be reached at 402-521-1234 or julie.starns@woodsbros.com


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

The Woods Bros Realty Foundation for Giving committee starts its annual meetings today.  These meetings consist of Woods Bros agents who have requested funds for the local charities with which they’re involved. Requests sometimes involve help for underprivileged children, iPads to help with learning, zoo passes, books, and much more. Friday the committee announces contributions and gives back to the community.

“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.”

The Foundation for Giving was started in 1987 by Pace Woods Sr, as he wanted to thank the agents who donated their time and money to local causes. Out of every closing each agent contributions to the Foundation, and the company matches the contribution. The idea from Pace Woods Sr.  was  to continue to  give back to the communities Woods Bros serves and with whom agents are affiliated.

“Let’s be honest,” Meyer said.  “Without the community and the people we are nothing. I personally can tell you listening to all the different nonprofit organizations will pull at your heart strings, but I am also so thankful and appreciative these organizations are here to help people in our communities. They are  not just  here to only help and  support people, they help get them back to working and being able to get through the next day.”


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

Ghost Stories   October 31st, 2014

Woods cabin on Madeline Island

Woods cabin on Madeline Island

With such a long and storied family history, it is no surprise that a few of the Woods family’s haunts are rumored to actually be haunted. For instance, Nebraska Row is a “street” of vacation homes on Madeline Island, Wisconsin, that are owned and enjoyed by Nebraska residents. The island has been the Woods family’s summer getaway since the early 1900s. Ghost gossip has long been part of the Woods family lore during summers up in Wisconsin.

The stories run from puzzling and eerie, to warm and welcoming. Family member ‘LB’ describes the mystical feeling of the island and of the Woods family cottages as, “safe, loving, and mostly magical.” ‘LB continued to say that she took from the spectral presences, “… a welcome feeling.“ She described a time from earlier in her life when she was alone in one of the Woods family cottages. In the spacious and beautifully decorated room there was a pleasant warmth. The room filled with dancing flashes of light, like sunlight diffused through water playing on every surface of the walls, floor, and ceiling. This visitation from family ghosts gave her a longstanding feeling of family community, like the opposite of loneliness. “It makes me want to be there.”

Col. F.M. Woods

Col. F.M. Woods

The original Woods family patriarch, Colonel F.M. Woods, built a cottage that still stands called the Dew Drop Inn. It has a haunter that some believe to be the ghost of the Colonel’s wife, Eliza. Others think that from time to time Eliza has even crept over to the cottage next door that was built for Helen Woods Haecker.

Of the Colonel himself, his spirit has been seen a number of times in the cottage that was originally owned by his son George. The family claims that the Colonel’s ghost has been seen only once by a blood relative. The incident involved a young woman of the family who was too young to have known the Colonel but knew him from photographs and family stories. She awoke in the night to see him standing at the foot of her bed. She added with a shiver, “He did not look happy.” The Colonel is apparently a stern apparition, and the main targets of his hauntings have been prospective husbands and husbands newly wed into the Woods clan. They have often been paid visits from the Colonel’s spirit as if in ominous warning.

George Woods

George Woods

Of all the Woods Brothers, perhaps George has the most claims to the Madeline Island title “resident poltergeist”. He loves to play tricks. According to ‘GH’, a family member and longtime Madeline Island summer habitué, “Uncle George” (the ghost of George Woods) “favored paying his visits to the younger ladies of the family.” Maybe they are more fun to trick.

Uncle George was married to Aunt Rachel. Of Rachel’s spirit, multiple family members have said, “You know if Rachel is in the room because you can smell her perfume.” Rachel had a signature fragrance of lavender perfume. Even now, the hallways in their former cottage will take on the surprising, distinct, and pleasant bouquet of lavender, and the current residents of the cottage feel her friendly presence.

GH’ went on about his Uncle George, “While he was living, Uncle George was a kindly soul. As a very little boy, I once found myself alone and a bit lost downtown in Lincoln. This was the early-1940s. Uncle George found me. Without hesitation, he pointed me in the right direction, and gave me a quarter—lots of money then—to catch the streetcar back home.” He concluded wistfully of the ghost of his kind uncle, “I myself can confess no visit (from the spirit), but I liked him so well and would be glad to say hello and see how things are going.”

Clark Pace Woods, the wife of Mark Woods, was a rather eccentric woman who is the subject of lots of wonderful stories. Her nickname was Gigi, and, Great Grandmother Gigi is referred to as, “one ghost you don’t want to mess with.”

At a recent summertime cocktail party held at Uncle George’s former island cottage, one family member, ‘SW’ was telling an eccentric Gigi story to a group of guests. Included in the group was ‘SW’s cousin, who was filming the story with his phone. As the story was unfolding, a framed photo of Gigi and Mark’s island cottage fell off the wall. Everyone gasped. All supposed that Gigi was mad or offended by the story. In the film, one can see a tiny glow of light that goes from the photo on the floor into the dining room where the lights began to go on and off. Then the lights began flickering in the downstairs bedroom as well. Startling the guests – well, that is one way to shake up a cocktail party!

Back to George’s ghost and the spookier side. Perhaps, as ‘GH’ said, “younger ladies” were more fun to trick, but George’s ghost has, at least on one occasion, provided a trick so chilling, that it has kept a family member away from the beloved island.

LB’ related the story of her husband. One day he was in a basement room where boat rigging and sails were kept. He decided to rest for a bit and dozed, but was sleeping lightly. On that day there were workmen in the house. He was awakened and assumed that one of the workmen had needed something – had joined him in the sail room. But what ‘LB’s husband saw, no workman or live soul could do: Recognized from hundreds of photographs, it was the ghost of Uncle George. He was in a hat and a fisherman’s vest and he was hovering -missing the lower half his body. Staring over his shoulder, Uncle George floated away from the awakened man, not through an open doorway, but through a solid wooden door.

The specter of paranormal activity is all around us at this time of the year, and it is noteworthy that the Lincoln Ghost Tour (with several stops in the Country Club area) is sold out months in advance. If you are interested in learning more about the spirits in our midst, visit: http://www.ghostsoflincoln.com or http://www.spiritexpeditions.com.


Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

A White Halloween   October 30th, 2014

pumpkinsnowLate October 1997 brought massive ice- and snowstorms to Lincoln. The trees were still clinging to nearly all their leaves. Branches and limbs were taxed by the great weight of building snow and ice. Trees bent until snapping, alternating with electrical transformers in making the sounds that many recall being as startling as gunfire. Images taken of the city for several days following the storms recall a warzone. Conditions were so unsafe for traveling that Mayor Mike Johanns “cancelled” Halloween.

Bob Moline, President and COO of HomeServices of America, was Woods Bros’ comptroller at the time and still new to the career. He recalled that Halloween was a time for some serious fun around the Woods Bros offices. “We had open houses, and the agents decorated. Everyone was in a costume. People worked on decorative themes, and we even had judges come in, so Halloween was lots of fun and intensely competitive.”

Moline remembered that the conditions outside were, “Horrific.” He continued, “Everyone figured the Halloween open house was off.” In spite of the mayor’s call for foregoing tricks and treats, Moline said, “I got an afternoon call from one of my bosses – I think it was Gib Eley – and he said, ‘Bob, call the radio station and let them know that we’re not cancelling. We’ll have that open house and give people a place to come and trick or treat.’ So, I followed Gib’s order.”

A little later that day the young Moline, new to real estate, looked up to see standing in his office doorway a very unhappy and stern Pace Woods Jr. “Mr. Woods had a red face, and I never saw him so angry,” Moline said. “He looked at me and asked evenly, ‘What are you trying to do, override the mayor?’ I was stunned, and I knew I had to fix it.”

Moline called the radio station to call off the event, and Gene Brake, managing broker of the Pioneers office at the time called the TV station, though he did end up keeping his office open that night. Agents agreed to leave decorations up and return to the office in their costumes a few days later for a postponed open house. “It was after Halloween by a few days, but everyone had a great time,” Moline said.

Gene Brake, now CEO of HomeServices of Nebraska, remembers the mayor later answering that his biggest mistake as a mayor was cancelling Halloween.

“Bob and I were vindicated,” Brake said.


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