Volume One

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Words by V1 Staff • Photos by Andrea Paulseth • Layout & Design by Eric Christenson

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Mary F. Rufledt, Elite Realty

Dedication to Others

Mary F. Rufledt's success is through giving back.

In the 21 years since Mary F. Rufledt, a licenced broker, got her start as a real estate agent she has seen a lot of change in the industry. Today, buyers and sellers can utilize countless forms of technology to aid in their efforts, from searching online listings to producing 360 degree tours of their homes. But she worries that while these tools have made buying a home easier, they’ve also driven people apart. Texting and emailing has become a commonplace stand-in for face-to-face conversations – Mary still values an old-fashioned, in-person conversation.

“When you get in this business, you are here to help people. The money always comes if you do the right thing. And you must give back.”

Mary F. Rufledt
Elite Realty Group

4410 Golf Terrace Suite 125
Eau Claire

(715) 828-9347

info@maryrufledt.com(info (at) maryrufledt [d0t] com,)

maryrufledt.com

Mary serves the Chippewa Valley and surrounding areas, helping clients purchase and sell homes and properties within about a 3.5 hour drive of Eau Claire. She deals primarily with residential properties, from starter homes up through million-dollar residences. Every single file she works with is different, and she uses her expertise to guide clients to meet their goals.

“Helping people is what really builds any company,” Mary said. Her biggest fear when she set out to start her own real estate firm was that clients would be wary to work with a small, independent company. That fear was quickly eased; her personal approach and commitment to service earned her repeat customers and referrals.

Mary’s dedication to helping others extends from her business outward to her family and her community. A percentage of every commission made in her firm is donated a giving fund and an office fund to give back to the people who help her be a true success.

“When you get in this business, you are here to help people,” Mary said. “The money always comes if you do the right thing. And you must give back.”

Personal wellness is also a priority of Mary’s. She pursues physical fitness through yoga, crossfit, lifting weights, and running. She ran her first marathon when she was 40, and later, participated in her first fitness show at the age of 46.

She credits her successes to her dedicated staff; she couldn't do the job she does without them, the loyal connections she has within the industry, and the teachers and mentors who influenced her throughout her life. Just a few of the many who guided her are teachers Rita Bitney from her junior high days and Greg Boetcher from high school, and her grandmother Mildred LaMeer, who taught her the value of hard work and family.

Mary will always be grateful to those who have helped her on her way, she said. “As much as we think we are rockstar agents, we are only as good as the people who are around us.”

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Nate Moquin, RE/MAX Affiliates

It’s All About the Process

Nate Moquin stays focused and organized every step of the way to take out the guesswork of buying or selling your home.

From the very start, looking at buying or selling a house – especially if it’s your first time – can be immensely stressful. With crowded contracts, multiple agents and entities involved, tons of questions, and a stacked checklist of stuff to do, it’s easy to lose confidence among all the guesswork. It’s a big decision one way or another, and it’s essential to stay on top of it so you get exactly what you want.

“I am a teacher at heart, so I enjoy educating people about how the modern real estate market works, so they can understand how to make wise decisions.”

Nate Moquin
RE/MAX Affliates

4260 Southtowne Dr.
Eau Claire

(715) 831-1488

remaxnate@gmail.com(remaxnate (at) gmail [d0t] com,)

natesrealestate.net

That’s why you need someone on your team to tackle the hard stuff for you, someone to stay organized, someone to stay focused. That’s Nate Moquin over at RE/MAX Affiliates in Eau Claire. He’s the kind of guy who’s well-versed on the tricky stuff, who’s there every step of the way trying to make it easy for you. And hey, you might actually have fun in the process!

“By staying organized and by doing this everyday, we can take most of the burden and stress on for our clients and allow them to actually enjoy the process.” Nate said. “Looking for houses is fun. By teaching clients what to focus on at the beginning, their confidence increases and they can let themselves enjoy the fun parts of the process instead of feeling overwhelmed.”

Nate’s done a little bit of everything. He started his career training to be a flight instructor, then studying to teach social studies. He opened a bar in Lake Hallie called Moke’s (now it’s the Thirsty Badger) and operated it for few years, before selling the business to a frozen pizza company and becoming a Realtor, which he says is the perfect fit.

He finally found his calling at RE/MAX Affiliates, where he works completely autonomously for each and every client. And his personal and focused approach to the work makes him stand out. He’s constantly in contact with his clients, moving them forward ahead in the process, answering questions, even just checking in to say there’s no major updates this week. Even when he’s hanging out with his family, traveling, or playing golf, Nate’s got his phone nearby in case his clients need him.

He takes out the worry, the stress, the anxiety of the buying/selling operation – and you’re bound to learn a lot by working with him too.

“I am a teacher at heart, so I enjoy educating people about how the modern real estate market works so they understand how to make wise decisions,” he said. “I think the time I put into teaching clients how this all works is what sets me apart.”

Nate shows sellers how to squeeze every penny out of their property they can, and he guides buyers on how not to overpay for a property while focusing on getting the one they want. And to keep up with the ever-evolving markets and modernization of real estate, he’s constantly learning and training to best serve everyone he works with.

It’s a crazy process sometimes, but Nate’s got your back. He’s fun to work with and endlessly knowledgeable about all the important stuff that goes into real estate. And if you’re ready to find your dream home without all the stress that comes with it, he’s the right call to make.

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Team Tiry

A Part of the Team

For Cheree and Aaron Tiry, buying and selling quality local homes is a family affair.

Aaron and Cheree Tiry are successful partners in work and life. Married since 2004, they began working together as Realtors in 2007, and since 2012 have operated their own residential real estate business, Team Tiry, in Eau Claire.

“We're here to help, and our main thing is we want (Customers) To be happy, and I think they see that through the transaction.”

“It’s helped us as a couple,” Aaron said of his professional partnership with Cheree. “We’ve grown a lot closer working together. We wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Cheree agreed, adding that sharing an occupation helps them appreciate each other’s challenges. “You do put in a lot of hours, and the other person obviously understands what you’re going through and why you’re working until 9:30,” she said.

The Tirys’ partnership has placed them among the most successful Realtors in the region. Between 2002 and 2017, Team Tiry sold more homes than any other team or individual agent in the Chippewa Valley. And Team Tiry has been voted Best Realtor for five straight years in Volume One’s Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll.

Part of their success, the couple said, comes from how they handle business: Aaron works with sellers and Cheree works with buyers. Dividing the work plays to each spouse’s strength: Aaron describes himself as more analytical, which is helpful in ensuring sellers get the best price possible, while Cheree is more attuned to guiding buyers through the day-to-day joys and stresses of home-buying. “We felt that it’s easier for us to manage it and do a higher-quality of service because we’re not juggling both sides,” Aaron explained.

Team Tiry’s effectiveness also comes from their focus on the Valley: While other agents may work in a much wider area, the Tirys only deal with properties within a 15- or 20-minute radius of Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and Altoona. They acknowledge that this sometimes means turning down business, but they say it allows them to focus on what they know best.

Their approach has created a sense of loyalty among customers: So far this year, 83 percent of Team Tiry clients have been past clients or have been referred by past clients. The couple’s down-to-earth style helps, too.

“We’re not pushy people,” Aaron said. “We’re not your typical salespeople – we’re told that all the time. That’s just not our personality. We’re here to help, and our main thing is we want (customers) to be happy, and I think they see that throughout the transaction. When they’re stressed out and they’re having issues, they know that we’re going to do what’s right.”

In their spare time, the couple enjoy traveling and gardening (for more than a decade, they’ve volunteered to maintain a flower bed on 10th Street in Altoona). They also participate in or sponsor a host of community activities, from Family Promise of the Chippewa Valley’s Hike for the Homeless to Literacy Chippewa Valley’s Scrabble Bee.

“We believe in giving back to our community,” Cheree said. “Giving back is an important part of our life and faith.”

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Copper Key Home Solutions

Working for Renewal

Audrey & Josh Borcherding buy, restore, sell your home.

For Audrey and Josh Borcherding of Copper Key Home Solutions, everything comes down to family. Real estate is a way to support other families through difficult times while raising their own. It’s a way to show their three children that it’s possible to build a business by following one’s passion and helping others. For the Borcherdings, integrity, honesty, and family are the highest priorities.

“They do top-notch quality work and are thoughtful, friendly and a caring business couple.”

Copper Key Home Solutions

1106 Mondovi Rd. Studio 218
Eau Claire

(877) 496-3939

audrey@copperkeysolutions.com(audrey (at) copperkeysolutions [d0t] com,)

copperkeysolutions.com

This husband-wife team is dedicated to getting clients through tough situations. They buy houses as-is with cash, significantly decreasing the stress and time it takes to sell a home. This is particularly useful for those who are approaching foreclosure, who have experienced a death in the family, who are going through divorce, or who have just had a difficult time selling. “With any kind of challenging life situation, we’re able to step in and let people know all the choices,” Audrey said.

Audrey and Josh got their start in rental real estate with a four-unit property. Over time, Audrey became a licensed broker and eventually they expanded their business to include purchasing and renovating homes, and quickly saw the need for for a firm that was able to offer sellers every option available to sell their homes speedily and without stress.

“We realized that there was a niche to fill, and if we were going to do it we were going to do it all the way,” Audrey said. She and Josh adjusted their business to focus primarily on those clients, and brought on licenced agent April Sydow to handle traditional sales and homebuyers.

When the Borcherdings purchase a home, they take it as-is – even full of furniture and other items. They hire local contractors to renovate and update the place for resale, taking the burden off of the original owner to clean out and update the home.

“It’s kind of fun to take an old house and refresh it and give it new life and have someone love it,” Audrey said. “And have the person who sold it see that it’s been renewed, and not lost.”

They have contractors who they have worked with for more than eight years, even trusting them with their own homes. They know that the finished product will be beautiful and last a long time. “We are proud to be able to provide work to other people who are experts in what they’re doing,” Josh said.

Beyond the business, the Borcherdings are active members of the Eau Claire community. Audrey is a member of the Women’s Giving Circle and both she and Josh are very active in their church. Josh also helped to establish WISCO REIA, a real estate networking group. It’s the connection with others in the community that drives them in their work.

“Our greatest reward is helping people in tough real estate situations with respect and empathy,” Josh said. “Making homes beautiful and profits are important but still secondary to the relationships and connections we get to make with clients.”

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Property Shoppe Realty LLC

Focused on Local

Shannyn and Andraya are a dedicated part of the downtown EC business community.

It’s easy to tell from a visit to Property Shoppe’s office or from a scroll of their Facebook feed that there’s something hoppin’ about this locally owned, woman-led real estate agency. Owners Shannyn Pinkert and Andraya Albrecht have dedicated themselves to taking a modern, excited approach to real estate, and it shows.

“She and I have a lot of the same kind of interests, same values and ethics, and the same outlook on how real estate should work.”

While Property Shoppe is a little more than a year old, Shannyn and Andraya have decades of experience in real estate and finance between them. Andraya got her start as a personal assistant, working as a licensed residential appraiser before settling into real estate. Shannyn worked in banking for several years after graduating from UW-Eau Claire, but was never fully satisfied with the gig. It was buying her first home that led her to a passion for real estate.

“I love the history, I love family,” Shannyn said. “I think the core values that are behind home ownership are what attracted me to real estate.”

When the time came to open her own operation, she knew she wanted to work with Andraya. The two had crossed paths professionally a number of times, and the experience was always good, so Shannyn popped the question. Andraya said she would need a minute to think about it, but it was only five minutes before she called back and said “yes.”

“I’ve always enjoyed working with her. She and I have a lot of the same kind of interests, same values and ethics, and the same outlook on how real estate should work,” Shannyn said.

After her work in the corporate world, Shannyn knew she wanted to keep things local in her new endeavors. So she and Andraya set up shop on S. Barstow St., as close as she could to the burgeoning downtown scene.

“We try to partner with as many small businesses in the community as we can,” Andraya said. They’re both members of Downtown Eau Claire Inc., the Eau Claire Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Chippewa Valley Home Builders Association.

The pair is also involved in education, each holding a volunteer position with their childrens’ schools, and with helping disadvantaged communities. Andraya has served with the Beacon House, and Shannyn co-manages the Facebook page for Chippewa Valley Hope Project, an organization that connects people with housing difficulties with resources to fight homelessness.

“It’s awesome to give the gift of homeownership to people, but there’s so many families in our community that don’t have warm beds to go home to,” she said.

“I’ve been here for a long time, I take a lot of pride in the Chippewa Valley,” Shannyn said. “This is where we all have to work, play, and live, and anything I can do to make that better is really important to me.”

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C&M REAL ESTATE

Buying, Selling, Building

C&M Real Estate offers a uniquely integrated approach to finding you and your loved ones the right home.

Whether you’re buying, selling, or building a home in the Chippewa Valley, the team at C&M is poised to help. Cody Filipczak – he’s the “C” in both C&M Real Estate and C&M Home Builders – began as a home builder and got his real estate broker’s license in 2010 for practical reasons: to sell the houses his company was building himself.

“Everyone is equal, and everyone works as a team, so anyone that you work with at any time is always going to be knowledgeable.”

“I got to work with the customers directly, so there wasn’t that disconnect with the customers that were buying our product,” Cody explained. “I just found that no one could sell our product better than us.”

Because they build more than 100 houses annually, “We know new construction like nobody else,” Cody continued. C&M is the most prolific homebuilder in the Chippewa Valley, with roughly a dozen new neighborhoods currently under development.

But C&M Real Estate isn’t just a one-man operation anymore. Cody and his wife, Molly, have built a strong, hard-working team at their real estate agency. In addition to selling the homes that C&M Home Builders builds, C&M Real Estate can help buy and sell existing homes.

The C&M team includes Chris Becker, who has 20 years of experience in real estate and knows construction as well (her husband, Bob, has a drywall business); husband-and-wife team Brian and Linda Dunham; and Scott Knepper, who specializes in commercial and residential real estate. Molly Filipczak, also a licensed Realtor, uses her expertise in interior design to help clients design new homes and stage existing ones. Another member of the team, Calvin Ekern, works with buyers to design spaces they will love to live in.

“I think a big part of success is everyone works equally,” Cody said of the C&M staff. “Everyone is equal, and everyone works as a team, so anyone that you work with at any time is always going to be knowledgeable.”

That knowledge – as well as the integration of C&M’s home building and real estate arms – is a boon to customers. Many clients, Cody explained, both sell their homes and buy newly built ones from C&M. Furthermore, C&M prides itself on building numerous twin homes and other reasonably priced houses. Finding new homes in the low-$200,000 range is otherwise difficult in the Valley, Cody said.

The Filipczaks, who have two teenaged children, both believe in community involvement. They’ve created the Cody and Molly Filipczak Family Fund through the Eau Claire Community Foundation, and they support numerous causes that benefit children, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Greater Chippewa Valley, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin, and the United Way of the Greater Chippewa Valley.

Cody noted that an influx of people to the Chippewa Valley has led to a tight housing market. “Right now there’s such a shortage of all housing that I’m able to show people why building a house is normally the better option,” he said. “That’s probably the most rewarding: Helping people make the right decision.”

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Ben Komro, RE/MAX Real Estate Group

Earning a Client's Smile

Ben Komro strives to create happy and confident homebuyers.

Ben Komro’s favorite thing about working in local real estate is also one of the simplest parts of the business – he just likes helping people.

“Seeing the smile on someone’s face when they purchase a new property is definitely priceless. Some transactions may not be as easy as others, but no matter what, the smile at the end makes everything worth while.”

Ben Komro,
RE/MAX Real Estate Group

1808 Brackett Ave.
Eau Claire

(715) 835-6191

ben@benkomro.com(ben (at) benkomro [d0t] com,)

benkomro.com

“A couple of years ago,” he remembers, “I worked with the sweetest lady who was selling her home of 50+ years. She built the home with her late husband and they raised their children in it. She had so many memories in that home ... it wasn’t easy for her to sell. During the entire process she made me feel as if I was part of her family, and on the day of closing she wouldn’t let me leave without taking a photo with her in front of the sold sign.”

Days like this are why Ben is passionate about selling houses and other property throughout the Chippewa Valley. Working with RE/MAX Real Estate Group, he usually covers properties within 75 minutes of Eau Claire, but will travel further when needed. He works with local buyers and sellers on all kinds of property. He can help people find any kind of home – from their first to their third – but he also specializes in vacant land for homebuilding and recreation, as well as commercial real estate for either purchase or lease.

An Eau Claire native familiar with the local landscape, Ben says the current real estate market has slowed somewhat, as it always does as winter sets in. “If you are still looking at buying into the winter months, there can be great potential for negotiating a deal,” he advises.

Ben believes the Chippewa Valley is a great place to buy a home because of the wide selection of styles, sizes, and prices, and because of the area’s reasonable cost of living. But that’s not all. “The Chippewa Valley has experienced a great deal of growth over the last five years,” he says. “Because of the arts and music festivals, great schools, and terrific health care, I believe our community will continue to grow and the demand for housing in the area will safeguard your investment for years to come.”

When working with his clients, Ben encourages lots of questions. He says there’s really is no such thing as a stupid question when buying a home. He believes clients who fully understand the process will end up the happiest with their final decisions. It all comes back to helping people. Ben loves getting to know his clients so he can better meet their needs, and he’s motivated to make their experience enjoyable.

“Seeing the smile on someone’s face when they purchase a new property is definitely priceless,” Ben says. “Some transactions may not be as easy as others, but no matter what, the smile at the end makes everything worth while.”