OldSaleSignThe natural development of young cities often clustered in their centers. By 1908, Lincoln’s roughly 43,000 inhabitants mostly traveled by way of mud streets (with nearly 300 miles worth) and 75 miles of streetcar lines. The growing city’s edges were no longer so sharp and the time was right to continue moving outward from the cluster and connecting burgeoning additions.

In 1910 the area south of South Street (between 13th and 27th to Calvert) was still a beautiful tract of cornfield. It was about then the Woods Brothers began executing a 20-year plan for its development, and they purchased much of that land, some for as much as $600 per acre.

There was confusion in the growth of Lincoln at the time. Mark Woods reflected that, “… buildings just went up according to the owner’s urge.” It was time for much-needed residential planning, both to create order and to beautify his city. It was a major challenge to lure citizens past South Street, which mostly created the peak of a natural hill, and also to lure them past the railroad tracks to the east (Rock Island Line, today a hiker/biker trail that meets South Street at about 32nd).

Their plans for motivating people included winding streets with structures set back away from them, all landscaped with shrubbery and trees. These large areas would lend to the city a distinctive character and an aesthetic appeal that shines brightly still. Their innovations would guide growth east- and southward, and help add to what Woods called Lincoln’s “… spider web development.”

Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

“IT Guys” named Shining Stars   February 24th, 2015

Bryan Snodgrass and Steve Dowse, of our Information Technology “Help Desk” department, were recently named Shining Stars.

Their nomination read:

“Bryan & Steve face many obstacles when working with us day to day. The way they negotiate through them inspires everyone.  We are thrilled to have them on our team and we want them to know how much we appreciate the work they do for us. They are truly our Shining Stars.”

Bryan Snodgrass & Steve Dowse

Bryan Snodgrass & Steve Dowse

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


Woods Bros Realty offices helped raise more than $2,600 for the American Heart Association during the company’s annual “Paper Heart Challenge.”

The Lincolnshire Square office won the challenge, raising more than $1,000 from the sales of different colored paper hearts. The winning office earns a breakfast cooked by corporate staff.

Woods Bros Realty and its sister companies hold the “Paper Heart Challenge” each February during National Heart Health month.

Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty
Matan Gill, Cory Scott and Ben Dinger
Matan Gill, Cory Scott and Ben Dinger

Woods Bros Realty was pleased to be a sponsor of the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development’s JumpStart Challenge for the second year in a row. Woods Bros and its parent company, HomeServices of Nebraska, awarded a $1,000 cash prize to the team of Cory Scott and Matan Gill, who presented an innovative solution named “myBlock” to the company’s neighborhood reviews challenge.

“Not only was myBlock well designed, Cory and Matan did excellent research into the business and regulatory side of the problem,” said Ben Dinger, Internet Services Manager for HomeServices of Nebraska, who, alongside General Manager Shannon Harner, awarded the prize to Scott and Gill.

LPED’s JumpStart challenge involves corporate sponsors presenting an industry problem to various teams who, in turn, pitch a solution at a later date to the companies. HomeServices was joined by Cabela’s and nMotion accelerator in judging the Challenge, which is now in its third year. For more information about the JumpStart Challenge, visit www.jumpstartchallenge.com or the official press release.

Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

Woods Bros Realty celebrated the close of its 125th year and its top sales professionals with an Awards Banquet Feb. 13 at the Country Club of Lincoln.

Vladimir Oulianov of the Country Club Plaza office was named the Salesperson of the Year with the Most Listings Closed and Highest Volume of Closed Listings.

Oulianov and Craig Loeck of the Lincolnshire Square office were both recipients of the Century Award for closing more than 100 transactions in the calendar year. Loeck also had the Most Transactions Closed and the Most Sales Units Closed. Ann E. Deck had the Highest Volume of Closed Sales.

Russ Quick of the Lincolnshire Square office was honored with the Woods Bros REALTOR® of the Year award for 2014 for his willingness to help others and his contributions to the company and community.

Angela Stueckrath of the Country Club Plaza office won the Excellence in Outgoing Referrals award for helping people relocate in other communities. Sales Couple of the Year went to Bob and Sally Peterson of the Country Club Plaza office, and the Sales Team of the Year was Cindi Hahn and Russ Quick. The year’s Rising Star for most success within the start of her career was Janet Smith of the Wilderness Hills office.

The overall Outstanding Achievement award went to Kelby Nitz for his 320 percent increase in sales from 2013 to 2014. Office Outstanding Achievement Awards also went to: Beth Scholz of the Lincolnshire Square office, Marsha Turbett of the Country Club Plaza office, Tammy Peter of the Wilderness Hills office, Chris Schwieger of the Grand Island office, Linda McCall of the Beatrice office and Gayle Coffin of the York office.

Top Sales Associates by office were: Vladimir Oulianov, Country Club Plaza; Craig A. Loeck, Lincolnshire Square; Jayne V. Debus, Wilderness Hills; Chuck Winkler, Grand Island; Shelly Nitz, Seward; Gayle Coffin, York; and Pam Norton, Beatrice.

To see more of the top awards and photos, please visit www.WoodsBros.com/Awards.

Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

Lucky Thirteen   February 12th, 2015

Col. F.M. Woods

Col. F.M. Woods

Frederick Moffatt Woods, the father of the Woods Brothers, was born August 13, 1844. He was told that it was a Friday. Friday the thirteenth. Counter to the growing superstition of his day that the coincidental phenomenon of day and date was unlucky, he came to consider it good luck. Lucky thirteen.

As a boy in Illinois, Woods was struck and bitten by a rattlesnake that had thirteen rattles. It was reported that the lad recovered from the attack, “without the aid of whiskey.” Throughout his successful career as an international auctioneer, he claimed to have conducted his best business on those rare Fridays the thirteenth.

Of F.M. Woods it was said that he, “possessed a peculiar style of eloquence—earnest, forceful, logical, and convincing always.” These skills were apparent in his proud crusade to promote the State of Nebraska and its resources, and to spread the word about the importance of good agricultural practices such as soil improvement techniques and livestock breeding enhancements.

This work ultimately resulted in Woods being recognized for his vision and tenacity on Friday April 13, 1923 by the University of Nebraska’s Department of Agriculture with an honorary Doctorate.

Of course, his descendants became extraordinarily savvy developers and businessmen in real estate. It is perhaps no surprise that in 1871 F.M. Woods sold his family’s farm in Illinois for a net profit increase of roughly 13 times—a pretty tidy sum.

In a way, Woods became inspired by 13, and especially by Friday the thirteenth. Who may guess what nuances or phenomena will motivate and inspire us, and why? Perhaps it is for the best that F.M. Woods never checked to learn that August 13, 1844 was actually a Tuesday.

Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

Reflecting upon Lincoln when it was young, John E. Miller wrote that in 1880 it was a proud place – but deficient of a few essentials of a city.

“What it lacked was at times conspicuous, as if a reveler should appear in shorts and a tuxedo.”

Like the city itself, Lincoln’s leaders of the time were young. The State’s Governor was 32. The city’s leading banker (and first millionaire) was 31. The average age in the legislature was 34. Youth literally ruled, and growth was rapid. To follow Miller’s tuxedo metaphor: the vibrant young city needed to upgrade from shorts to pants, so practical issues needed addressing.

An example: Formalities of staking out and connecting additions to the city’s perimeter were few, as no water or sewer utilities had to be planned.

As Mark Woods reflected,

“Sanitation was becoming a problem. Not everyone could keep a few hogs to eat the garbage.”

Mark, George and Frank Woods (clockwise)

Mark, George and Frank Woods (clockwise)

In 1889, Mark and George Woods founded Woods Bros Realty. When they entered the game with vision for growth, they not only planned for these types of practical matters, they also made certain that such intangibles as beauty and elegance were considerations of their projects.

They introduced curving streets to the city’s basic grid structure; they hired the nation’s best landscape architects; they even started their own nursery to fulfill their planting needs.

With their brother, Frank, and their father, “Colonel” F.M. Woods, their every touch seemed to positively mark the city and help it grow. They helped lead the way in business and community development.

Part of the reason that Lincoln became so fine is that they thought big, and they knew the importance of balance in establishing a city of essence.

From tallgrass prairie to silicon prairie, Lincoln continues to recreate itself. The decades of maturation have similarities because scales are balanced – growth and development equalizing tradition and maturity. Leading the way, Woods Bros Realty is an embedded fixture in the transformation of the city.

Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

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.

Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

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

Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty
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.

Woods Bros Realty Posted by Woods Bros Realty

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.

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