WHERE THERE’S SMOKE, THERE’S GOOD BARBECUE

Rich Clark has had a couple surprises in recent years. He started a career in real estate and became an expert in barbecue. Neither of which were on his radar. He had been enjoying his job in apartment maintenance, but eventually, he was invited to join the world of real estate sales. After one year of building experience in the real estate market, he made the move to Nebraska Realty where he has been happily settled for the past year. He had a friend who told him about Nebraska Realty and specifically the President and CEO, Andy Alloway. Rich said he contacted Andy to discuss a potential move to Nebraska Realty and Andy “was so genuine and easy to talk to” that Rich knew he needed to make the move.

Since making that move, Rich has had the opportunity to supplement his real estate career with his barbecue hobby which has become a second profession. Rich developed an interest in barbecue by watching television shows like BBQ Pitmasters. He figured he could do it, too and started experimenting. Between trying out his own techniques and recipes, and reading books by Myron Mixon, Rich developed enough skill to win second place for brisket in the 2014 Decatur Riverfront Days barbecue contest. For the past several months, he has been the go-to barbecue guy at four area Cubby’s Convenience Store locations smoking meat in the parking lot for them to serve to their customers for as long as supplies last, which isn’t long. On Mondays, Rich can be found in Bennington, then at the Old Market location on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in Shelby, Nebraska on Wednesdays and every Saturday brings him to the Blair location.

Even though he spends many days each week in a parking lot smoking brisket, Rich keeps up with his real estate clients by firing up his laptop and phone enjoying the free Wi-Fi offered by Cubby’s. Whether it rains, snows or the sun is shining, the show goes on. Inclement weather means Rich will likely be preparing meat under a shelter set up to protect him and the smoker from the elements. Rich explained that the secret to knowing how the meat is cooking is by watching the smoke as it rises out of the stack. “When it rolls out slow and white, you have to make the fire hotter because the meat’s not cooking. If the smoke is coming out fast, it’s too hot, likely burning the ends. Rich said one day he’d like to create his own rubs and sauces to supply to customers who enjoy the meats he smokes.

Rich is just as committed to his real estate clients as he is to perfecting the smoked meats he creates each week. He is eager to be the best agent he can be and is enthusiastic to share how easy Andy Alloway makes it work at Nebraska Realty. “It’s nice to know someone at his level takes the time to listen. He actually makes eye-to-eye contact to make you feel heard, and he knows the things that aren’t worthwhile to pursue and knows how to steer us in the right direction,” Rich said.

Rich even translates his barbecue talent into closing gifts for his real estate clients. Once the family has moved into their new home, Rich hosts a housewarming party for their family and friends providing smoked brisket as the centerpiece of the meal. What better way to speak to the heart of what matters?

Are you interested in connecting with Rich? 

Contact Rich Clark

 

Teamwork Vital to Success in Football and Real Estate

Chris Bober experiences success on and off the football field. 

Being a professional football player is high on the list of goals for most young boys, but few actually realize that dream. Since most athletes’ pro careers are typically shorter than most other careers, they eventually find themselves pursuing other goals and visions for life. This scenario is exactly what happened for Chris Bober.

After enjoying a career as an offensive lineman with the New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs, Chris returned to Omaha in 2008 and began his next career in real estate. “Professional football is extremely structured,” Chris explained, “with coaches and owners dictating your one goal: win the game.” Not only does someone else tell you what your goal is, but then add the rigid training and practice schedule year-round and there isn’t much flexibility in the life of a professional athlete. So when faced with the opportunity to pursue a new profession, Chris knew real estate would be the best option. It’s the polar opposite of football and the hardest part of the transition is also what he loves most about real estate: Chris is completely in charge of his goals. The potential is unlimited, “You can be as successful as you want to be with real estate. There is no ceiling to our success.”

 It would be easy to question how real estate relates to football when it comes to the transition from one to the other. “Being a professional athlete taught me humility, the value of hard work, and paying the price for success,” he said. Having attended Harvard and the Kellogg School of Business, Chris knew he’d need education to fall back on, and that, combined with the work ethic he developed in football has prepared him for a lifetime of success in real estate. Although Chris is no longer part of a football team, he is one-half of Team Bober, as he and his wife, Jennifer, have partnered together to be the yin and yang for their real estate customers. “Together we are a powerful team. We complement each other,” he said.

Hard work and intelligence are only part of the formula. Chris places a big priority on developing relationships within the community and it shows because his business is exclusively referral-based. He doesn’t rely on traditional advertising, but on his reputation for customer service and receiving referrals from happy customers who often become friends through the transaction process. Community involvement for Chris reaches to the St. Patrick parish where he is a volunteer football and basketball coach, Chris Bober’s Building Blocks Foundation which provides opportunities for youth to participate in athletic programs and learn the value of teamwork, and his volunteer work for the Knights of Columbus.

Chris Bober’s experience is proof that you can start over from any situation to pursue new dreams and new goals. When you focus on the right things like helping others and community involvement, success is always within reach.

Photo and video is credited to 316 Strategy Group

More to Design Than Meets the Eye

Despite the overwhelming popularity of home improvement shows like Fixer Upper and Property Brothers, most people still want a move-in ready home versus a fixer upper. It can be daunting to consider buying a place that needs major renovations but no matter how new a home is, it’s not really home until the resident’s style signature is on it. With the help of Interior Designer, Courtney Otte, owner of The Modern Hive, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming to add personal flair and unique design options to a home.

Courtney is an Omaha-area interior designer who works in both commercial and residential design. Her knowledge and creativity shine when she shares design ideas and decorating tips. She has a real passion for her work and her vision is inspiring. During a recent visit to Nebraska Realty, Courtney shared some of the most current design trends like white cabinets are on their way out, blue is currently a very popular color in paint and décor, but green is up and coming. When it comes to accents, global spice mixed with white tones, as well as nature-inspired prints are what’s next. Go check out the wares in any chain home décor and furnishings store and you’re sure to see these trends waiting for you to take them home and try them in your current space.

To hire Courtney is to allow her into your mind to explore your personality and style preferences. Each new client completes a survey that allows her to get to know her clients tastes, whether casual or formal, relaxing or always ready for entertaining. For the more eclectic tastes, Courtney said, “I recommend that one room be tackled first to help narrow down the client’s style rather than taking on the whole house at once.” This helps ensure time and resources are spent wisely and the final product is as expected.

As with most segments in today’s world, interior design also has a tech version to it. For those who are on limited time and maybe even a limited budget, Courtney provides her services through E-design. E-design requires measurements of the rooms to be designed, but once Courtney has those she can provide recommendations for furniture placement and décor.

Courtney provided stellar tips for staging a home to sell. In any market, you want your home to be presented in the best light possible to increase interest and perceived value. “I offer a walk-thru service where I give advice on light renovations such as replacing countertops and flooring, and furniture placement,” Courtney said.  

Here are Courtney’s top 5 tips for preparing a home for sale:

  1. Apply a fresh coat of paint. To keep things neutral, Courtney recommends a warm, mid-tone gray.
  2. Make sure there is consistent flooring. While a transition from hardwood to carpet is okay, it’s best to avoid multiple rooms having different types or colors of carpet or flooring.
  3. Clean up the clutter. Once you’ve cleaned up each room, go back and do it again. Less is more when it comes to making your home a showcase.
  4. Take drapes down, but leave blinds and shades on the windows. If drapes are neutral then they can be left up, but if they are part of a very personal design style with unlikely patterns or colors, Courtney advises it’s best to take them down.
  5. Reconsider the furniture arrangement. Oftentimes moving a few pieces can help open up a space making it seem larger and more aesthetically pleasing.

Looking over that list, we'd say those are tips we could all use whether we are in the market to sell our homes or not. Studies show that freshening up our living spaces helps to invoke creativity, elevates mood, and creates resourcefulness. One call to Courtney could result in a change that brightens your living space and also renews your mind.     

Realtor’s Work to Find the Best Homes Not Limited to People

What if, instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on designer dogs, everyone in this country adopted pets that desperately need homes? What a wonderful world it would be.

Cindy Andrew has taken on the challenge of helping orphaned pets find their forever homes. Through her work with Heartland German Shepherd Rescue (HUGS), Cindy provides foster care for dogs while also volunteering in an administrative role by processing applications for prospective adoptive families. HUGS is a 501c3 nonprofit, launched in May of 2015, dedicated to saving and rehoming German Shepherds and German Shepherd mix dogs.

Fostering and application processing are only two of the roles required at HUGS. Among other things, volunteers also coordinate veterinary exams, they interview applicants and conduct background checks on prospective families. 

Cindy fostered her first dog in February of this year and adopted one herself. Sissy came to Cindy’s home waiting for a family to find and accept her. “Sissy came from South Dakota running around on a reservation. Many of our dogs, including my current pups, came from there. Another volunteer group finds and traps the dogs, but they aren't able to find them homes. That's where we come in and make several trips to Valentine to save them. Without us, many of them would starve, or freeze to death.” Within two months, Cindy knew she couldn’t let Sissy go. Sissy’s story is one of many wherein innocent animals are found abandoned, dropped off at a shelter, or taken by police due to abuse or neglect. The more fortunate ones find their way to an agency like HUGS where people are willing to welcome them into their homes, care for them, and prepare them for their forever family. “We treat dogs like they are our kids. They are so well taken care of. We want the dogs placed in forever homes so we do everything possible to place the right dog in the right home so everyone will be happy,” she said.

Growing up around her grandpa’s German Shepherds, Cindy always had a love of dogs and was notorious for constantly bringing home strays. She’s also been known to stop in the middle of intersections to save dogs from traffic dangers. Naturally, she would eventually turn that love of dogs into a volunteer experience. Her career as a realtor with Nebraska Realty meshes well with her volunteer work as she spends time in both spaces helping others find homes. Though she began her career in television as a news reporter, Cindy found her true happiness and helpfulness in real estate. Cindy is proud of the progressive technology tools Nebraska Realty provides the agents, and at no charge. Speaking about Nebraska Realty owner, Andy Alloway, Cindy said, “Andy is a genuinely nice and caring person who treats all the agents here very well. With so many agents coming to us from other agencies, why would I go anywhere else?” Cindy commits a portion of her profits from each house sold to be donated to HUGS to help with caring for the dogs. She gives $200-$1,000 depending on the price of the home.

HUGS conducts events throughout the community for adoptions and fundraising. At one public event held at Nebraska Realty, lunch was grilled in the parking lot, while realtors came and brought along househunting clients that were looking for pets. A dog was adopted that day. Cindy encourages everyone to first consider adopting when looking for a pet. “Get dogs from rescue groups or the Humane Society before you do anything else. Rescues and the Humane Society have purebreds, too.”

HUGS Facebook Page

Nebraska Humane Society Facebook Page

Nebraska Realty: 34% Growth Driven by Culture

Nebraska Realty has created a unique space in real estate that looks decidedly different from the rest. Owner Andy Alloway’s humility, passion for people, professionalism, and concern for the customer experience is precisely what makes Nebraska Realty different. When an organization’s leadership has these qualities, it naturally attracts agents with similar values. Nebraska Realty can be described as “agent-centric” with the agents being the agency’s primary customer. Alloway believes that providing the best tools to provide excellent customer service are the key to attracting and developing the best agents. “How you treat people is what makes you successful, not the sign on the building,” he said.

 

In the past several years, Nebraska Realty has seen a surge of growth in both sales volume and agent count. In fact, they’ve increased from 300 agents in 2015 to 402 today. Alloway attributes agent growth to organic, word-of-mouth testimony which is the best marketing any company could ask for. While growth is important, the main focus of Nebraska Realty is two-fold. First, to attract the most professional, customer-oriented agents and commit to their success through consistent continuing education, and second, to provide potential clients with personalized customer service by professional agents who can provide a first-rate experience for all real estate needs. According to Alloway, Nebraska Realty is “always looking to evolve with what’s happening tomorrow,” by being on the front of technology and providing ease of access to that for their agents.

 

Agents are viewed as franchisees at Nebraska Realty. They’re provided with the education and the ability to run their business without management or corporate interference. Freedom to make decisions tailored to each customer’s best interests is crucial to a positive real estate experience. As a whole, the agency’s success can be attributed to open communication and team effort among their agents, staff, and management. Social engagement through activities such as tailgate parties, pool parties, and grilling lunch in the parking lot during the summer develops relationships and support systems among the agents who largely work independently.

 

As the Nebraska real estate market continues to evolve, so too will Nebraska Realty. With a focus looking ahead at new construction and continued work with the 21 builders they represent, adding agents in Lincoln and Iowa, and potential franchising opportunities in outlying areas, Nebraska Realty’s growth is truly in the hands of a dynamic, forward-thinking team of professionals.

 

Nebraska Realty’s agents are not only committed to helping people find a home, they’re also dedicated to helping Omaha’s homeless. The agency is a very enthusiastic and involved supporter of The Shelter Fund, hosting a golf tournament and Christmas party every year with all monies raised being donated for the benefit of the homeless.

 

Angel Starks, a realtor with Nebraska Realty since 2012, told us, “Nebraska Realty has a culture that can't be replicated. You can't teach it or define it, you just feel it.” Nebraska Realty cultivates a culture that is felt not only inside the walls of the building but in the community as well.