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Northwest Indiana Real Estate Market's Robust, Despite Challenging Times

Despite a slight pause when the pandemic first hit our shore, the real estate market in Northwest Indiana continues to be robust.

“I listed a $130,000 house in Griffith and within three days we had 20 showings, four offers and it sold for cash,” says Joe Rogowski, a broker with McColly Real Estate Schererville. “I put up a listing on a $170,000 townhome in Merrillville and we had 14 showings and four offers in 3 days.”

Rogowski, who has been in the real estate business for 34 years and previously managed a real estate office for two decades, says he’s never seen a market move as quickly as this one is currently doing.

“The average time a house is on the market, depending on price range and location is weeks even days compared to months which is what it used to be,” he says. “Multiple offers are pretty much the norm if the house is priced correctly. It’s the law of supply and demand.”

Indeed, he says, if a house has been on the market for ten days without an offer, Realtors often wonder what’s wrong.

Lynn Watkins, a broker with McColly Real Estate Crown Point, is seeing the same continuing surge in the demand for housing.

“When I look at sales of homes during the last quarter of the year compared to the first quarter of this year,” she says, “It hasn’t slowed down as far as I’m concerned. People are calling constantly.”

The market is very hot right now, says Cathy Higgins, a broker with McColly Real Estate in Schererville.   

“There are multiple contracts on most properties,” she continues.  “Inventory is down and most buyers are paying list price or above to be able to buy the home.   If the home is in excellent condition and updated, they can sell in a day or so.”

  Part of the increase says Rogowski is driven by the number of Illinois residents crossing the state line to hunt for homes.

“I put another home in Schererville on the market for $395,000, the owners thought that was too much but I said I can get that for you,” he says.  “In a short time, we had four offers, two were $10,000 over the asking price and all four were from people living in Illinois. That home sold for cash as well.” 

According to data from the tax year 2017-2018, 4,300 residents moved from Cook County to Lake County. 

“One reason is that real estate taxes across the border, regardless of where it is, are triple what the taxes are in Northwest Indiana,” says Rogowski. “The hottest markets are Lake and Porter counties and they’re unbelievable. I haven’t had a day off since February. Of the last 30 or so offers I’ve looked at for homes, 75% or more are from Illinois.”

Cities just across the Illinois state line are also popular.

Higgins, who is a licensed broker in Illinois, says she’s seeing an increase in sales in Lansing and Lynwood.

Like the housing market in our area, McColly Real Estate continues to grow.  More than 45 years ago, Ron McColly opened a four-person office in Merrillville.   Now, McColly has 490+ broker associates, 100 employees and 23 offices. According to the RealTrends® Top 500 Broker Report, McColly Real Estate ranked no. 161 nationally for its closed transaction sides for year-end 2018.

Businesses relocating to Northwest Indiana also add to the growing demand for housing says Watkins.

“Businesses draw new people into an area who want to live near where they work,” she continues, noting that two new companies, HTI Logistics Company, Inc. based in Louisville and Manhattan Mechanical of Manhattan, Illinois are setting up shop in East Chicago. That’s one of the reasons the city has opened  Fitzsimmons Redevelopment. A 19,000-square-foot multi-use residential and retail space located in the North Harbor district at 137th and Main Street right across the street from Unity Plaza and close to such amenities as the beach, I-94, two casinos, shopping and medical facilities.

“It has two commercial units and seven residential units,” says Watkins about the four 3-bedroom, 2.5 bath condos and three 2-bedroom, 2.5 bath townhomes that vary in size from 1,881-square-foot to 2,063-square-foot. Retail space encompasses 4,042-net square-foot and is ready for development.

Watkins notes now is the time to buy in order to take advantage of East Chicago’s first-time homeowners’ program that provides $25,000 for those buying one of the condos or townhomes.

But though new projects like this help provide more home buying options, there’s still a significant scarcity of housing stock.  

“Developers can’t build fast enough to keep up with the demand,” says Rogowski.

The iconic Marktown, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in East Chicago has ended its decline says Watkins, noting that she has a new listing there and that investors are moving into what is a unique urban planned worker community dating back to 1917.

Higgins offers recommendations for both buyers and sellers.

“As a buyer, expect to pay full price or over if it's a home you want,” she says. “As a seller, make sure your home sparkles!  To get top dollar, it must look top dollar.  It must be clean and updated.   It must be free of clutter.  Homes with clutter tend to look smaller & not taken care of.  It must have some curb appeal.  Trim the bushes, edge the walkway.”

Rogowski says even though people talk about the real estate bubble bursting at some point as it did in 2006 and 2007 leading to the 2008 bust, he sees the situation today as being very different.

“Back then, people were purchasing homes with 100% financing and no down payment, which left several homebuyers upside down / with no equity,” he recalls. It’s different this time around.”

 

Learn More About Our Brokers!
Joe RogowskiLynn WatkinsCathy Higgins

McColly Agents Show by Example... We're All in This Together!

MAY 24, 2020 - “Giving back is what McColly Real Estate is all about”, says Ron McColly, who founded McColly Real Estate in Merrillville 46 years ago. “It’s personal for the McColly agents and staff who are stepping forward to help during this pandemic.”

“We support the many organizations that are in our own backyard so to speak,” says Rhonda McColly-Fleener, McColly Real Estate’s Chief Operating Officer. “For four decades, McColly has made significant contributions to charities and organizations throughout the communities that have been such an integral part of making us the #1 real estate firm in Northwest Indiana and Chicago Southland.”

Kelly White, a broker at the McColly Portage office, purchased sandwich and cookie trays from Meijer in Portage and delivered them personally. Deliveries were made to the Hospital in Portage on Willowcreek Road, all three fire stations in Portage, their police department, post office and street department.

“I will also be sponsoring K9 Falco again this year,” says White about the Shepherd/Malinois mix who has dual duties in both narcotics and patrol K9. “I provided funds to cover the K-9’s vet bills and other needs for a year. This will be my second year in sponsoring Falco.”

An agent at McColly’s Schererville office, Jessica Kish, volunteers to serve on the developmental committee member at St. Jude House, an organization that shelters and helps victims of domestic and sexual abuse. The outbreak of Covid-19 caused a dramatic increase in the need for the services provided by St. Jude House.  So to support this rise in demand, Kish purchased lunches from Lincoln Carry Outs, a burger, sub, and sandwich shop in Hobart that’s been in business for over 30 years and delivered them to all St. Jude House’s residents.

“I’ve always said that the more good you put into the world, the better the world becomes,” says Kish. “You don’t do this to get anything back from it, other than the feeling that you might have made someone’s day a little bit better.”

Kish has also had meals delivered to TradeWinds, a non-profit providing services for children of all abilities and adults with physical and intellectual disabilities who recently reopened their sewing shop to make masks and gowns and other PPE for local hospitals.

“I’ve been so taken aback by the kindness that’s been happening over the last six weeks or so,” says Kish. “I’m only one person, and I don’t have any special skills to help directly, but if I can bring joy to people with food then that’s one way for me to pay it forward.”

Joy Pawlak, from the McColly LaPorte office, is leading the LaPorte County Association of Realtors food drive. Their goal is to raise $7,000 to give to local food banks.

Dennis Keithley is a McColly Agent who loves his hometown of Lowell and whose Father was a bomber pilot in World War II. Dennis places American flags at all Veterans’ gravesites in the Sanders and West Creek Cemeteries on 205th and Calumet Avenues in Lowell.

The Lisa Grady Team also is providing meals to others in a show of support. The Lisa Grady Team delivered meals to the nurses, doctors, and first responders at Methodist Hospitals, Porter Regional Hospital, Franciscan Health Hammond, Community Hospital, and Franciscan Health Crown Point. The Lisa Grady Team also established a meal train for Crown Point first responders and contributed to the Schererville Meal Train.

“These are the people who have been supporting us at McColly for so many years, and we really believe in giving back,” says Grady. “I always tell my kids that it’s important to pay it forward when you can. You never know when you’re going to be in need. I might be in a good place right now, but in a year, I might not be, and I’d hope that someone would turn around and help. That’s just how we try to live.”

At the McColly Portage office, agent Alex Ridlen focuses on helping local businesses.  Visiting area restaurants such as Schoop’s Hamburgers and Bam Pizza Company, Ridlen creates promotional videos for social media and also buys gift cards that he in turn donates to first responders and others in the community.

“With everything being shut down, I knew that those businesses would need the community’s help to thrive or even just to keep their doors open,” says Ridlen. “I thought what better way to help them than by supporting them directly with gift cards and hopefully inspiring more people to come by with my videos.”

Ridlen says that observing the many acts of kindness coming not only from his fellow agents but many others in the community make him proud as well as hopeful that we will all come through this.

“I’m not surprised at how the Region responded—it seems like whenever there’s a crisis or a group of people in need, I always see people step up and take the initiative to ensure those most vulnerable have the essentials they need,” he says.

The list of caring goes on.

Bill Rathjen, an Air Force veteran and residential / commercial Broker at the McColly Valparaiso office, made a personal cash donation to the Portage EDC for the purchase of KN-95 masks for local YMCA workers who are making meals for kids not in school.

Upon learning there was a dire need for masks, McColly Agents stepped up.

George Georgeff who works as a residential agent at the Highland Office and commercial agent for McColly Bennett Commercial Advantage, purchased (50) N-95 Masks that were available online in early April.

“I donated a box of (25) to Community Hospital and the remainder I gave away to several nurses I knew who worked in local hospitals. After I was able to purchase an additional (100) regular masks, I contacted several of my elderly clients of mine and gave masks to those that needed them.”

Jeanne Potosky at the McColly Crown Point office made and donated fabric masks to St. Mary’s and surgical hats and masks to Dyer ER.

“We made masks to donate to those who need them,” says husband and wife team Rich and Maria Todd who work at the Lowell office.

“I have been sewing masks for family and friends,” says Karen Stein of the Highland Office “The bulk of my masks are going to the Northwest Indiana Healthcare Workers. These masks are given to the area hospitals for doctors & nurses as well as 1st responders, police & fire departments. They will be distributed to anyone in need of a mask at the Northwest Indiana food bank pick-up.” “It has been very beneficial for me. In a small way I can help others in need in my community. “

When her daughter’s wedding in Ireland in early June was cancelled, Diane Farino at the Schererville office put aside, temporarily, the wedding dress she was making for her daughter, shifting into mask making for anyone who requested one. “Having accumulated all kinds of fabric over many years,” she says.  “I was grateful for that since all the fabric stores were closed. Some of the recipients were essential businesses such as Herman’s Auto Center, Lexus of Naperville, my many friends who are in the medical and first responder field and, of course, all of my siblings and their extended families. I also carry extras with me in case I run into someone who needs one. If you or someone you know needs masks, I’m here for you.”           

Seeing other needs, McColly Agents are getting creative.

Suzi Nurse, Portage office, has a list of names of elderly, sick or those with other needs and calls them weekly, checking to see if they need her to go to the grocery and/or pharmacy and just to let them know that she cares. She finds herself looking forward to the weekly calls which has led to her developing new friendships along the way.

"My husband and I donated homemade rustic birdhouses to some families who have children at home so they could decorate them,” says Brenda Spitz,  Schererville office.

“We also donated more birdhouses to a nursing home. Besides donating to a Northwest Indiana food bank, a group of agents and I purchased lunches and gift cards for the secretaries for holding down the fort while all this is going on. A few weeks ago, I worked with the Imagine Griffith group planting the flowerpots in downtown Griffith.”

Trying to sweeten up the lives of elderly neighbors who are homebound, Cyndy Vander Giessen at the Highland office made banana bread and through her church, bought groceries and delivered them to the St. John Township Center. “Grace is the new normal,” she says.

At the Highland office, Mary Jane DiMichele said she was surprised to learn that something as easily acquired such as gently used eyeglasses can help so many people, so cost effectively.

“Not everyone around the globe can afford eyeglasses,” she says.  “The Lions Club does their best to make this necessity a reality for them.”

Mary Jane prides herself in volunteering for the Crown Point Lions Club with like-minded individuals in the pursuit of primarily local causes such as Leader Dogs, eyeglass recycling, KidSight USA, NWI Special Education & Special Olympics, and Meals on Wheels to name a few.

Sara Risner at the McColly DeMotte office had two giveaways in April on her Facebook Business page in support of local businesses.

“I gave away a free family dinner from Heather’s Diner that was won by Cassie Kats. I also gave away a $25 gift card and two plants from local greenhouse Hennings,” she says. The winners were Haley and Jennifer Witherspoon and Tara Conley Main.

Heather McColly, Director of Career Development and the New Homes Division, participated in a weekly food drive with her Mother, Sandy McColly, from the McColly Corporate office, in addition to McColly Schererville Agent, Diane Pelis, and Tracy Parus, General Manager. Their church conducts a weekly food market, called Faith Family Market.’The need has been so, so dire with the onset of the pandemic. I was so glad to volunteer and donate food along with my Mom, Tracy and Diane,” added Heather.

Amanda Russell, from the McColly Schererville office, donated (100) KN-95 masks to St. Catherine’s Hospital, and catered lunch for two local senior homes.

In times of need, we don’t forget those individuals who have supported us in one form or another through the years.

Elena Andrade, Broker Associate with the McColly Highland Office, has helped close friends of the family with food and donations. A former teacher from Central High School in East Chicago, Indiana, Elena is also helping a teacher’s aide that was by her side for 15 years by continuing their pay for a couple of months.

Elena offers this advice to everyone...

“I encourage all to take COVID19 seriously, especially for the sake of your loved ones. Wear masks, gloves, and glasses while you’re out.”

Recognizing that our furry friends also may be suffering or in need during the pandemic, McColly Real Estate completed a month-long collection drive for various animal shelters in March. The McColly Charities Shelter Buddies Drive accepted donations of dog and cat food, toys, treats, and more at the various 23 McColly Companies offices. The items were distributed to Humane Indiana (Munster), Humane Society of Northwest Indiana (Miller), Lakeshore Paws (Valparaiso), Jasper County Animal Shelter, and South Suburban Humane Society in Chicago Heights.

“We started the drive before the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” says Monica Decker, Director of Marketing and Technology at McColly Real Estate. “When it ended, we really didn’t realize  how much more meaningful the donations would be to the area shelters. One shelter representative nearly wept when she saw the volume of donations that were collected by the local communities.”

This media release originally appeared on VALPO.LIFE

McColly Real Estate Website Recognized for Excellence

WQC 2020 LogoSCHERERVILLE, IN – McColly Real Estate has been awarded the Website Quality Certification (WQC) from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a global community of 565 high quality independent real estate firms in over 70 countries. The certification was presented in recognition of excellence in website design, content and functionality.

McColly Real Estate’s website, mccolly.com, received high marks in a variety of critical areas relating to website performance, including usability, design, content, interactivity, customer service and mobile responsiveness. The evaluation was conducted by Virtual Results, LLC, a real estate internet and social marketing firm selected by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® to review the websites of participating members.  

The specific measurements for the WQC are updated each year to reflect the most current online marketing strategies, as well as evolving consumer preferences. Companies must be re-certified every two years to maintain the certification. 

“The 120 companies that earned the WQC this year provide consumers with valuable resources through websites that are well-designed and offer relevant local content, as well as the most current information on homes in their local markets and around the world. We are pleased to recognize these firms for delivering a superior online experience,” said Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® President/CEO Paul Boomsma.

“We’re honored to be recognized for the 7th consecutive year for the WQC. McColly Real Estate continues to raise the bar with our marketing in order to exceed expectations for the consumer.”  said Monica Decker, director of marketing & technology of McColly Real Estate.

McColly Real Estate is the Northwest Indiana and Chicago Southland representative of LeadingRE (www.LeadingRE.com). With a global membership that spans six continents, LeadingRE connects more than 565 firms and 130,000 sales associates who produce over 1.1 million real estate transactions each year. As a member of LeadingRE, McColly Real Estate provides a quality real estate experience, global marketing reach and access to top real estate professionals in virtually any market worldwide.
 
Established in 1974, McColly Real Estate is a local, family-owned independent brokerage built on the integrity and trust of our brokers and clients. We know our next closing is built on the high-level service we provide in our customers’ current real estate transaction. While we pride ourselves in our innovative marketing, building relationships is what matters most.

McColly Real Estate Shelter Buddies Donation Drive

McColly Charities Shelter Buddies Donation Drive

FEBRUARY 23, 2020 - Giving back to those in need is important in maintaining a high quality of life within communities. McColly Real Estate realizes this, to the extent, even, of forming McColly Charities, whose mission guides the company in their dedication to strengthen Northwest Indiana’s communities and help them to continue to prosper and grow.

Through McColly Charities, McColly Real Estate has worked with various non-profit organizations including the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, Meals on Wheels, the Dean & Barbara White Southlake YMCA, and about 100 others.

“We want to show the communities in the surrounding area that we are a local business that gives back,” said Monica Decker, Director of Marketing and Technology for McColly Real Estate.

McColly Charities does a collection drive about two or three times a year, with the next one scheduled to benefit the Humane Society and other South Suburban pet shelters. The newest collection is called the Shelter Buddies Donation Drive. Items being collected are pet food, toys, treats, and household cleaning supplies. The drive will take place March 1-25.

“Donation stations can be found at any of our 23 McColly Companies offices,” Decker said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the public to come in and meet the agents, all while working toward cultivating a strong future and participating in a great cause.”

Decker noted that one of McColly Charities’ more popular collection drives is the Peanut Butter and Jelly Drive, which occurs during the summer when food banks are often in low supply. Food supplies collected are donated to food pantries in Northwest Indiana and Chicago Southland.

“We wanted to keep this drive simple, so that it follows Ron McColly’s own saying: ‘Keep it simple, no matter what you do,’” Decker said.

Ron McColly, Founder of McColly Real Estate, was born and raised in Miller, Indiana, and believes it’s important to stay connected with his hometown region by supporting local pantries and charities that can help the most amount of people. Over the last four decades, the company has supported more than 100 local charities through donations of goods and volunteer time.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be a part of this,” Decker said. “Since we’re the number one real estate company in Northwest Indiana, we feel the need to give back to our communities and pay it forward.”

This media release originally appeared on VALPO.LIFE and was written by Sergio Valdes

Continuing the Family Legacy: The Next Generation of McColly Real Estate

Family owned and operated has always been a point of pride for McColly Real Estate. Over the company’s robust history, McColly Real Estate has emerged as the largest independent residential real estate company in Northwest Indiana, Central Illinois, and the Chicagoland area. Now, as they continue to thrive on a solid legacy and foundation, they also look to the future and the next generation of McCollys who will continue it.

Ronald McColly, president and broker, started the firm and grew it into a full-service company that still maintains the family-owned and operated philosophy. McColly Companies include Community Title, McColly Bennett Commercial Advantage, Luxury Portfolio International® and the McColly School of Real Estate. In all, there are eight members of the McColly family currently working for the firm, split by generation. Ron McColly, his brother, Tim McColly, his daughter, Rhonda McColly-Fleener and son Greg McColly. Then there’s Greg's wife Sandy McColly, Ron McColly’s granddaughter, Heather, grandson-in-law Drew Ranich, and grandson Reece McColly-Fleener. 

As children, Heather and Reece were exposed to the family business at an early age. 

Growing up, Heather was surrounded by everything real estate, which is why the family business is like second nature to her. It helped prepare her for her role as the Director of Career Development today. 

“Growing up, I had no idea about the true scale of our family’s company. I viewed corporate just as a place that always had sweet treats, a computer to play on, and familiar faces,” Heather said. “McColly is a place where everyone is valued. A place where we’re all on the same team and we help each other to grow and learn. With these qualities, trust and long-term relationships are created. With the right tools, support, and training, our agents can offer the best service to our clients and customers.”

“I have been with Community Title, a McColly affiliated title company since May of 2018, so a bit under two years. I have always had an interest in the work I've seen my family do, so I feel I naturally gravitated to the company after graduating from college,” Reece said.

After graduating from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Heather said her grandfather, Ronald McColly, suggested she return home to take part in the family business. 

“I politely declined and told him I wanted to learn another industry and live in Cincinnati, Ohio,” Heather said. 

She spent the next three years working in the wholesale apparel industry until she decided to make the leap into the family business. 

“I decided to join the company to learn from the best, my grandfather, who’s spent 45+ years building McColly Companies. So I called him and said, ‘Is that job you offered three years ago still available?’’’ she recalled. “Every day here at McColly brings something different, and I feel lucky to have such a great support system, not to mention our awesome agents who make coming to work a true pleasure.”

Since joining the team in April, Heather also has taken on the New Homes Division at McColly Real Estate. During her short time at McColly Real Estate, Heather has been a part of some big milestones for the company. 

“We’ve launched an innovative new technology platform for the company,” Heather said. “Including a new broker website, agent website, an agent-branded real estate search app, real-time listing presentation tool, customer relationship management system, and an automated home valuation module for sellers to use.”

When asked about his belief on how being locally owned and family operated benefits clients Drew, who is both Director of Relocation / Outgoing Referrals and the Director of Broker Relations, replied, "I like to always think that deep roots are the strongest. Not only has McColly Real Estate been around for 45+ years, but the McColly family, including Ron's grandparents, have been providing service through family-owned businesses for generations in Northwest Indiana. We bring that same philosophy to all 23 real estate offices we operate.  In every one of those locations, our Brokers are deeply involved in the communities they serve.  Whether they can suggest cleaning services, home stagers, furnace repair, roofers, etc. we rest assured our Brokers are in touch with local vendors who can go above and beyond to help our clients and positively affect each local economy we are part of as a result."

The McColly family has some big plans for the real estate firm.

“My biggest personal goal and company goal moving forward is for those of us newly entering the business to continue learning from and engaging with those around us to help ensure our success in the future,” Reece said. 

“I would most certainly say that overall growth is, of course, an important part of what we continually strive for.  But I am also very excited to be a part of a company that (as a result of our robust company infrastructure) is at the forefront of an ever-changing market and industry in our area. That presence uniquely positions us to have a huge impact in terms of servicing the growth Northwest Indiana itself is about to experience,” Drew said. “As we continue to offer our signature excellent service and the expertise McColly Brokers bring to our markets, we look forward to being a mainstay for our clients who look to us as their trusted real estate advisers.”

“Long term, I hope to see McColly remain a place where residential and commercial agents have the necessary resources, support, and environment to grow business,” Heather said. “By further providing these tools, our agents can give their clients and customers top-notch service.” 

Working with family isn’t always easy and can be challenging, especially during times of growth, but Heather and Drew have some solid advice.

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions and try new processes, even if they fail,” Heather said. “After all, if we aren’t changing, we aren’t growing.”

“Listen, learn, and remember to be humble about the opportunity you have. Most family businesses are in operation long-term because of incredible people (related or not) who have been with the company for years and are amazing at what they do. Strive to attain their level of knowledge and model yourself after their work ethic,” Drew said.

This media release originally appeared on NWI.LIFE  and was written by Kole Rushmore.

Toys For Tots

McColly Companies, on behalf of McColly Charities, is hosting its annual Marine Toys for Tots drive- now through the first week of December. Collection boxes are currently available at each of the 23 McColly Real Estate, McColly Bennett Real Estate and McColly Rosenboom Real Estate offices throughout Northwest Indiana and Chicago Southland. Toys collected will be distributed to the children of Porter, Lake, Jasper, Newton and LaPorte counties of Indiana and Will, Cook, Iroquois and Kankakee Counties of Illinois. 

The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources- our children; to unite members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future. 

For more information please visit mccolly.com. Also, feel free to follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@mccollyre) for updates. 

 

Northwest Indiana Business & Industry Hall of Fame: Ron McColly helps people find their dream home 

Ron McColly's strong work ethic goes back to his early years growing up in Gary.

McColly, 75, president of McColly Real Estate and a 2019 inductee into the Northwest Indiana Business & Industry Hall of Fame, began his work career at an age when most youngsters are just starting school.

"I worked as a stock boy in the grocery store at age 6," McColly said.

His grandparents, Cora and Fred McColly, owned Gary a grocery store called Belmont Grocery and a bowling alley called Ridge Lanes. McColly worked at both.

"I got into a working habit and a saving habit at a young age," he said.

McColly started working at the bowling alley in his teens, first performing general duties then later bartending. McColly later also worked for a family-owned funeral home called Linton and McColly Funeral Home in Glen Park.

At the funeral home, McColly's work included ambulance trips and parking cars when there were funerals.

As a youth McColly also had a paper route.

"I liked collecting the most," he said of that job.

McColly, who graduated from Lew Wallace High School and attended Indiana University, said his success hasn't been fueled by just his strong work ethic but also by his habit of reading.

"The number-one thing in life is reading. You need to educate yourself every day," McColly said.

Reading even played a role in his quest to receive financial assistance from his grandmother in 1974, when McColly wanted to start his real estate business.

"The ironic part was when I asked my grandmother for a loan she said she only had one stipulation: that I subscribe to the Chicago Tribune," McColly said, adding,"I read three newspapers to this day. I think reading is a big part of life."

Some fellows he met at the bowling alley who were in the real estate business talked him into getting his real estate license.

"They told me if I got my real estate license they would train me," McColly said.

McColly began working in real estate at age 24 and started his own company at age 30.

McColly Real Estate, now the largest independent residential real estate company in Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Southland, is part of McColly Companies, which includes Community Title, McColly Bennett Commercial, McColly Insurance, McColly Auctions and the the McColly School of Real Estate.

It is an exclusive member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a prestigious global network that includes Luxury Portfolio International, according to the company's website. McColly Real Estate is annually recognized among the top brokers in the U.S. in the RealTrends 500 Broker Report, ranking No. 161 nationally for closed transaction sides for year-end 2018.

McColly Real Estate includes 23 offices, with 470 broker associates and 100 employees.

Lifelong learning

Newspapers, including the reading of columnist Ann Landers, continued to play a part in McColly's adult life.

McColly lists Landers among the people who have influenced him the most.

"I'd start with Ann Landers. I read her column for 25 years," McColly said.

Others McColly considers mentors include Albert Einstein and Jack Bogle, founder and retired chief executive of the Vanguard Group.

McColly said Bogle is also responsible for one of the quotes he likes to keep in mind: "Don't look for the needle in the haystack, buy the haystack."

"It you learn on a continuous basis, good things will happen. Mentors are so important," McColly said.

Investors Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and the late Dean White, whom Forbes magazine called a "real estate and advertising kingpin," are also among 

"One of the biggest mistakes I see is learning from our experiences instead of learning from others," McColly said.

After opening his real estate business in 1974, McColly joined a national franchise in 1976.

His company joined the Better Homes and Garden network in 1986 and in 2003 became an independent company.

Between 2007 to 2011, the real estate business in general went through some tough times with the Real Estate bubble," McColly said.

"They made sub prime loans and everyone qualified," McColly said.

Things started to change in 2012 for the better.

"There's a shortage of homes right now," McColly said, adding, "Anything close to the state line is hot right now including St. John, Crown Point and Munster. We're lucky to be in close proximity to Chicago," McColly said.

In his spare time, McColly enjoys golfing and reading and also attending conventions and educational seminars.

"What I get the most satisfaction from is being successful and learning things I need to learn. You probably learn more from the mistakes you make than the good things you do," McColly said.

McColly said he also gets a great deal of satisfaction out of helping others become successful.

"That's because the people I met in the bowling alley helped me," McColly said.

In addition to starting his own real estate company, McColly in 2004 purchased Innsbook Country Club in Merrillville.

"Myself and a partner purchased it and did extensive improvements," McColly said.

Why go into real estate? McColly said the three biggest necessities in life are food, shelter and clothing.

"Shelter is the best. It's a big thing and will never go out of style," McColly said.

What sets McColly Real Estate apart from other companies?

"What makes us different is we're independent. There is brand loyalty," McColly said.

What set apart him in his early years as a Realtor?

"Forty-eight out of 52 Sundays I had an open house. I'd say those open houses were the No. 1 thing to start out. You have to get out and meet people. That's what makes the difference," McColly said.

'A stalwart business leader'

Pat Huber, former president of the Crown Point Community Foundation, said she delayed her retirement to help with the fund-raising campaign for the newly launched Dean and Barbara White Southlake Family YMCA in Crown Point.

Ron McColly was one of those individuals Huber knew she could count on to contribute.

"Because I knew quite a people I reached out to Ron McColly," Huber said.

Huber called McColly a visionary.

"I think he sees beyond just like Mr. White or any entrepreneur," Huber said.

Recreational amenities, like the new YMCA as well as good school and good hospitals, are a wonderful incentives to draw people into communities and good tools to be used by Realtors.

"Those are huge pieces to get people to move to Northwest Indiana. It's a huge point for Ron McColly. He is a really smart man. He is extremely intelligent and very well read," Huber said.

"He (McColly) is just a great community guy. He always calls you back," Huber said.

Peoples Bank Executive Chairman David Bochnowski called Ron McColly "a stalwart business leader in Northwest Indiana."

"His business has moved so many people into their dream homes. Their presence has been a dominant one as far as home sales," Bochnowski said.

"Ron is just an honest, trustworthy guy and that translates into all those who work for him," Bochnowski said.

His firm has a well-deserved position in the community, Bochnowski said.

"He is so modest for a guy who has been so successful. Whenever I might meet him he has a new idea about how Northwest Indiana can propel itself forward. Improving the quality of life and place is always at the top of his mind for him whether its in a casual setting or formal," Bochnowski said.

 

McColly Charities Coat Drive a Huge Success!

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December 3, 2018 – McColly Charities would like to send out their sincerest ‘Thank you’ for sharing the Gift of Warmth! It truly warms the heart to know how much our local communities care. Due to an overwhelming response, over 450 adult and children’s coats were collected!

Once again, McColly collected hundreds of clean new and gently used coats to benefit the Salvation Army.

McColly Real Estate, on behalf of the McColly Charities, sponsored a coat drive beginning on October 15, 2018 and continued through November 15, 2018. All McColly Companies offices throughout Northwest Indiana, Chicago Southland & Central Illinois collected clean, gently used coats. Coats of all shapes and sizes were welcome.

Giving the gift of warmth is just one goal of McColly Charities, the philanthropic arm of McColly Real Estate, on behalf of the McColly Charities.

“Working with McColly is wonderful as they have a great presence in Northwest Indiana and are very well-respected,” says Kevin Feldman, director of development for The Salvation Army in Lake County, noting the longstanding collaboration with the independent real estate brokerage. “Because they have so many locations, it’s easy for people to drop off coats. We then go and pick them up and they’re distributed to local people, both adults and children, in need.”

Over the past 40+ years, McColly Real Estate has annually contributed to the March of Dimes, American Cancer Society, Salvation Army, American Heart Association and the Special Olympics of Illinois, to name just a few great causes. In 2011, McColly Real Estate formally established the McColly Charities to benefit families in need in the local communities that McColly Companies serves.

Such giving back to the Region is a cornerstone of McColly’s business philosophy.

McColly Charities sponsors charity drives throughout the year. Pantries / charities who’d like to be considered for our current list of benefactors, please fill out the online application at McCollyCharities.org.  Please include detailed information in terms of pantry/charity name, areas served; contact person and hours open for donation deliveries.

McColly Expands Commercial Reach with Commercial Advantage Merger

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They’ve done it again. “Local, yet global” McColly Real Estate is expanding to better serve Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Southland.

McColly Bennett Commercial Real Estate has merged with Commercial Advantage, Inc. to form McColly Bennett Commercial Advantage.

Celebrating its 20th year, Commercial Advantage is known for its expertise in attracting businesses to and spurring economic development in Northwest Indiana. The company has also played an integral part in creating a positive image for Northwest Indiana.

The merger creates a new powerhouse, which will add to the commercial capacity in Northwest Indiana to expand local business opportunities.

“The merger between McColly Bennett Commercial and Commercial Advantage, Inc. brings together two companies committed to Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Southland in Kankakee County, Illinois at a time when there is tremendous momentum in the marketplace,” said principal Jeff Bennett. “We feel it allows us to better serve the activity in the region.”

Lori Tubbs, president of Commercial Advantage, Inc., is known for her successes in bringing jobs to Northwest Indiana as a commercial and industrial broker. American Bar and Hoist Liftruck in East Chicago are among the companies she helped obtain state and local incentives to get them to locate in Northwest Indiana. Each of these moves brought several hundred jobs to the Region. In addition, her work with Patriot Rail resulted in the purchase of five miles of rail line in Lake County along with the South Shore freight railroad, which bought 300 acres in two counties.

The benefits of the merger are limitless. “McColly knows all the specialized aspects of the Commercial, Professional and Industrial real estate markets. With offices on both sides of the border, McColly Bennett Commercial Advantage is tailor made to help businesses in Illinois who want to come to Indiana, said McColly Director of Marketing, Monica Decker. “Northwest Indiana’s proximity to downtown, International shipping port in Burns Harbor, rail options, and tax incentives are just a few reasons why businesses are finding the ‘Grass is Greener in Indiana’. It’s actually a shorter commute downtown from Northwest Indiana than it is from Naperville or other Illinois suburbs.”

To best serve their clients, Tubbs and her team moved from their existing office in Merrillville to the second floor of the McColly sales office at 850 Deer Creek Dr. in Schererville, IN. Jeff Bennett and his commercial team will operate out of the Bourbonnais, IL and Valparaiso, IN offices.

McColly Real Estate is the largest independent residential real estate firm in Northwest Indiana and the Chicago Southland. Since 1974, McColly has provided exceptional services for first-time, luxury, and resale homebuyers and sellers, plus land, new construction and commercial investors. That continued commitment and dedication are evident by total sales as well as the stellar success of its agents. The company’s technology plays an integral role in the strength of its Realtors’ efforts. McColly’s award-winning marketing, real estate app, Search Engine Optimized listing websites and mccolly.com are updated every 15 minutes to provide the latest information. Other entities under the McColly umbrella, including McColly Insurance, Community Title, McColly Rosenboom Land Division, McColly New Homes division and McColly Relocation and Referral Services provide its agents with all the tools they need to meet their clients’ needs and achieve their own goals. “We can do everything in-house, from the listing to the sale, the title search and the closing,” notes Decker. “This makes the process easier.” McColly has its own School of Real Estate and is an exclusive member of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a prestigious global network that includes Luxury Portfolio International®. As a member of LeadingRE, McColly Real Estate provides a quality real estate experience, global marketing reach and access to top real estate professionals in virtually any market worldwide.

With offices in Lake, Porter, LaPorte and Jasper Counties in Indiana and Cook, Will, Kankakee Iroquois and Ford Counties in Illinois, McColly has a finger on the pulse of each individual community. As Decker said, “McColly is local with deep community roots.”

McColly Charities Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive A Great Success

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Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive 2018

Schererville, IN – McColly Real Estate, care of McColly Charities, held a Peanut Butter & Jelly drive and successfully collected 100+ jars of PB&J! Peanut butter and Jelly is a great staple for families in need. Peanut butter is one of the most needed items for all food banks due to its popularity, long shelf life and high protein amount. The collection drive began on June 1, 2018 and continued through June 30, 2018. Thank you for the extreme generosity of staff, agents, clients and community. The food collected was donated to the following pantries and shelters in Northwest Indiana and Chicago Southland.

-Salvation Army, Munster, IN (Schererville, Beecher, Chesterton, Crete, Crown Point, Highland, Lowell, Portage, Tinley Park, Winfield)

-Salvation Army, Kankakee, IL (K3 Counties in Illinois)

-Portage Township Food Pantry, Portage, IN (Portage, Porter County)

-Good Neighbor Food Pantry, DeMotte, IN (DeMotte & Fair Oaks Address in Jasper County)

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