Tag Archives: Steve Minino

The Mininos

January 11, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Steve and Jenny Minino sit at the table during a Sunday morning sipping coffee while their kids—Kenedi, age 7, and Zachary, age 6—sit on the couch with iPads. It’s a not-so-typical morning in the life of this goal-oriented family.

Kenedi attends first grade at Sagewood Elementary School. She has played soccer for four years, started playing basketball this winter, and is in the Xcel Bronze class at Premier Gymnastics.

Zachary, who goes by Meatball, is in kindergarten at Sagewood. He earned a white belt with stripes at karate, but now plays football, soccer, and basketball.

All these activities with the kids required a balancing act for Jenny and Steve.

“It was busy,” Jenny says.  “A lot of times it was ‘OK, you take Meatball, I’ve got Kenedi, and we’ll meet back here in two hours.’ ”

Steve, a real estate agent with NP Dodge, works a lot of hours. He works nine to five, he works through dinner, after dinner, on vacation. Then, of course, there’s weekends.

“Weekends are huge for realtors,” says Jenny. “That’s when they hold open houses.”

This meant Steve couldn’t spend much time with the children. A year ago, Steve created a way to incorporate more family time into his life—bring his wife into the business.

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“I just got so busy that I needed Jenny to handle some of those details that I couldn’t handle anymore,” Steve said.

Details such as marketing and database inputting. With two people focused on one work goal, they became more productive. This also satisfied a longtime dream of working together, one that needed time to develop.

“It’s tough to begin with because as a real estate agent, you an independent contractor so you are responsible for insurance and things,” Jenny says.

It was a reality Steve knew well. His mother, Deb Hopkins, has worked in real estate for 30 years, and his grandfather also sold real estate. Extended family members also work in the same business.

“I never wanted to work in real estate growing up,” says Steve, who has degrees in culinary arts and hotel management. “My love was always cooking.”

Nine years ago, Steve worked in Las Vegas. A phone call with his mother led Steve back home.

“She said, ‘Well, if you don’t mind the hours, why don’t you come back and join the team.’” Steve said. “I think ultimately she realized I would be in real estate, but she wanted it to be my decision, not her legacy.”

There are days when Steve and Jenny need to pick up the kids then return to work. Their solution? Bring the kids to the office, where they keep a supply of crayons and paper to keep them occupied while they work. The other employees, some of them family members, don’t mind.

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Zac has a big reason why he likes going to the office with Mom and Dad.

“I like getting candy!”

Steve laughs. “A lot of people in the office keep candy at their desk. The kids know who they are.”

Kenedi likes visiting “Nonni,” she and Zac’s nickname for Deb.

“I leave notes for her,” she says. “I stick them on her desk, on her chair, on her computer…”

This philosophy of family-friendly business means a lot to the couple, especially Steve, who grew up attending open houses with his mother.

Steve says, “I used to run around and turn on lights. These guys haven’t quite done that for me yet, but they will.”

They parents have also gone on client calls with them, but the Mininos are mindful of which clients will accept their children being around. Fortunately, most of their clients are family-friendly.

“I’ve always said if a client is bothered by our kids, maybe they aren’t the right client for us,” Steve says.

Working while the kids are around saves the Mininos money. The average cost of day care in Nebraska is more than $5000 annually. This lifestyle allows the parents to continue working while keeping the focus on their family.

“During the school year I’m able to work around their school schedule,” Jenny says. “It’s nice because it allows me to be with them when they have a teacher inservice or something. We’re so fortunate that we have so many family members who are in the industry that they can step up and cover for me when needed.”

As the Mininos business grows, this lifestyle of working with family becomes more important.

“I would say we are busier now,” Steve says. “It’s fair to say we’re working smarter, not harder. What is nice was that we still have time for a family dinner at least three times a week. We didn’t have that before.”

Sitting at a kitchen table that now is used for eating at instead of looking at, Jenny glances over at Kenedi, who lays on the couch playing a game.

“Are we grooming them to be realtors, too?” Jenny asks.

Kenedi shakes her head no as Steve laughs.

“Probably, but they just don’t know it yet.”

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Homes for Heroes

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When mortgage loan officer Michael Petrovich with The Private Mortgage Group in Omaha was offered the chance to work with the national Homes for Heroes program, he says it seemed like a perfect opportunity to show his thanks to those we depend on.

The program—which uses the tagline ‘Service Deserves Its Rewards’—offers discounts on real estate-related services to active and retired military, police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other civil servants that serve our communities and our country.

“My dad was a fireman for years with the Omaha Fire Department, and a good friend of mine’s dad is a retired Omaha police officer,” Petrovich says. “I also have a lot of friends in the military. [The program] sounded like an opportunity to help out a lot of friends and family, and this was an area I felt I could really make a difference…saving them some money when buying a home.”

Petrovich says as a Homes for Heroes affiliate member, he offers “hero” homebuyers free home appraisals, which are often required for home purchases and refinances handled by his firm. Waiving the fee saves the homebuyer $400. Fellow Private Mortgage Group employees Pete Coen and Jeremy Wilhelm are also affiliate members.

“[The program] sounded like an opportunity to help out a lot of friends and family, and this was an area I felt I could really make a difference.” – Michael Petrovich, The Private Mortgage Group

“We can offer the discounts to any qualifying client in the Omaha/Fremont territory we cover. All they need to do is sign up on the Homes for Heroes website, and it directs them to all the affiliates in the area,” Petrovich explains.

Real estate agents make up a large number of HFH affliliate members nationally. Locally, Prudential Ambassador Real Estate agents Michelle Gustafson, Gary Gernhart, Mamie Jackson, and Matt Anderson are affiliates. “We know the agents [at Prudential], and we’ve worked together to offer clients the HFH discounts. It’s been a team effort,” Petrovich adds.

The Homes for Heroes program was first created in 2002 by a group of lenders and Realtors in Minneapolis in response to the tragic events of 9/11. Petrovich was among the first Homes for Heroes affiliate members in Nebraska, joining in November 2012 when the program first launched in Omaha. The 501(c)(3) nonprofit, comprised of Realtors, lenders, and other real estate-related service providers, now has approximately 750 affiliates nationwide serving homeowners in 44 states.

Steve Minino, a Realtor with NP Dodge Real Estate, is another Homes for Heroes affliate in Omaha. Along with Realtors Deb and Mark Hopkins (all part of the Hopkins Home Team), Minino got involved when he learned about the program on the local news.

“We saw the advantages right away and jumped on board…being able to help our local heroes while getting some great exposure for us,” he says. “It was definitely a win-win situation.

“My family also has a long tradition of members serving in the Marine Corps. We liked the idea of helping out family and friends who serve and who could really benefit.”

“We saw the advantages right away and jumped on board…being able to help our local heroes while getting some great exposure for us. It was definitely a win-win situation.” – Steve Minino, NP Dodge Real Estate

As an affiliate, Minino says he offers 25 percent of his sales commission back toward the purchase process for Homes for Heroes clients. “This money is typically applied toward the closing costs being paid by the homebuyer,” he says. “If the buyer is not responsible for closing costs, then the money is donated to a charity of their choice.”

Minino also donates another five percent of his commission directly back to the Homes for Heroes organization, which they use to fund other projects, including the rehabing of homes to accommodate injured veterans.

“We’re currently working with several Heroes clients, and we hope to grow that number in the next six months or so.”

Millard Public Schools teacher Stephanie Poltack and her fiancé, Aaron Mackel, recently purchased a home together in West Omaha and took advantage of discounts offered by several local Homes for Heroes affliliates. “My Realtor, Judy Kramer with Prudential, told me about [Homes for Heroes] and referred me,” Poltack says. “Through the program, we received closing-cost assistance and got a discounted home inspection, and The Private Mortgage Group gave us a free home appraisal. I believe we saved $1,325 in all.

“Being a first-year teacher and a first-time homeowner, I’m very appreciative of all the help we received…It meant everything to us,” Poltack adds. “We were able to use the money saved to go out and buy a washer and dryer. It’s a great program, and I think if more people were aware of it, more would take advantage of it.”

“Being a first-year teacher and a first-time homeowner, I’m very appreciative of all the help we received…It meant everything to [my fiancé and me].” – Stephanie Poltack, teacher

Nationally, several media outlets and Hollywood celebrities have helped publicize the good works being done by Homes for Heroes’ affiliates nationwide, including Sean Hannity with Fox News, actor Gary Sinise, and the Orlando Magic basketball franchise. However, the nonprofit has grown primarily through word of mouth via the internet and news media.

Petrovich says one of the goals of the Omaha-area affiliates is to raise awareness of the Homes for Heroes program in Nebraska and encourage participation by our local heroes.

“We’re getting together to discuss ways to advertise,” he said. “We’ve placed ads in the Fremont paper, hung posters in firehouses and around town…We want our civil servants and military to know we support them and say thank you for serving our country and our community.”