Stroudsburg: – Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates along with affiliate companies—Wilkins & Associates—PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, NEPA Management Assoc and Wilkins & Associates Commercial Brokers—celebrated their 25th anniversary in business during 2013.
The year-long festivities started with a celebration at Desaki in June. The party was attended by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates Realtors, Managers, partners and invited guests. Those invited guests included Robert Uguccioni, retired Executive Director of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau; Representative Mario Scavello; Bob Albanese, formerly of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate corporate as well as many local business owners, vendors and purveyors who have and continue to work with the Wilkins organization during their 25 years in business. The party was videoed by George Roberts Productions and narrated by Connie Roberts.
Said Thomas R. Wilkins, CEO, “2013 was a very good year to celebrate being in business 25 years. While there were times in the downturn of the real estate market that we weren’t quite sure we’d see 25 years, with the help our dynamic staff and Realtors, many who sacrificed to ensure the company stayed in business, we were able to make it through the downturn.”
Said Rosemarie Lobe-Waller, CFO, “In November, we were able to give raises to of our employees and managers which was the first time since 2007.” “The Wilkins organization prides themselves on the tenure of their employees, which on average is close to 10 years. Without their understanding and help, we could not have done it.” said Waller. Lobe-Waller has been with Wilkins for 12 years.
The Property Management division of the Wilkins organization grew dramatically in 2013. Wilkins & Associates—PROPERTY MANAGEMENT handles townhome communities, property owner associations and condo complexes as well as single family homes, apartments and vacation rentals throughout the greater Pocono region. The ground work for expanding business into the Lehigh Valley and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre areas was also a successful move for the company. “2014 is when all our ground work in the Management arena will come to further fruition.” said Wilkins. “The company currently has bids on transit rentals in Milford, townhome communities in Milford; two property owner associations in Carbon County and several condo associations in the Scranton area.” said Wilkins. In 2013 Wilkins also became a small percentage partner in Parasole Properties, a start-up management company in Scranton which today handles over 150 rental units.
Home sales surged 30% in 2013 when compared year over year. “While the sales price did not increase for 2013, our unit sales saw double digit increases.” said Dennis Mooney, V.P./Sales Manager who has been with the company for 5 years. In 2013, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates paid their Realtors over $1.1 million in commissions. “Appreciate all the commission money we pay stays local.” said Wilkins. “We may not be the biggest employer but our Realtors and Associate Brokers pump a lot of money into the Pocono economy.” Wilkins stated proudly.
At one time, having 14 offices, the Wilkins organization in 2007 – 2009 reduced their offices to three. The company has locations in Bushkill, Stroudsburg and Mount Pocono.
In November 2013, Wilkins negotiated a lease at the historic Upper Mill in Milford, PA. Previously the company had an office in Milford and Dingmans Ferry. Said Lynn Wilklow, Associate Broker and Manager of the Milford office, “Having a boutique office at the Historic Water Wheel is a fabulous location! “ “This office is going to be a little different than the old Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate offices in that Wilkins will have title services, Management services and of course, the real estate services.” Wilklow is slated to manage the new Milford office.
As an employer in 2013, the Wilkins organization added administrative personnel, bookkeepers and 12 new Realtors to their organization. “To bring people back to work, hire new employees and bring our personnel closer to the hours that they were working is rewarding.” said Wilkins.
And what does the company see for 2014?
Wilkins & Associates Commercial Brokers is slated to sell 49 time-share units at Northslope II in February. The Milford office is slated to open March 2014 and the location will also house Wilkins & Associates Management and Pennsylvania First Settlement Services. It marks the beginning of growing offices and service areas.
Said Wilkins, “We know we can’t do another 30% increase in home sales for 2014, but all of the predictions we see indicates that the housing market will continue to stay strong and prices (for 2014) are guesstimated to increase by 5%. That’s what the profit will be for us.”
In 2008 Wilkins became the first Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate franchise company in the Realogy network. The company also eyes expanding the real estate portion of their company to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and Lehigh Valley areas. Wilkins is also looking at other Brokers to add to their company. “We have a very unique way of offering Brokers and Realtors positions with us and expect a number of mergers and purchases over the next 36 months.” said Wilkins.
The other big thing Wilkins has for 2014 is the launching of a new website which will be hosted with and partnered by Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate corporate and expected to be launched 2nd quarter 2014. “A lot of great bells and whistles will be featured on our new website as well as the enhanced search features which will be second to none.” “I saw a sneak-peak at an Owner Retreat in Austin, Texas.” said Wilkins.