By: Larry Griffin
At the first Williston Housing Fair on Thursday, real estate companies and potential buyers came together to try and solve some of Williston’s housing problems by letting people know the options available to them in the area.
The event at the Grand Williston Hotel featured businesses from all over Williston with booths displaying what is available to rent and buy.
The idea of the fair came from DAWA Solutions Group President Jeff Zarling, who pulled it together to inform the residents of Williston the options they had in regard to housing.
“I had employers and customers who wanted to know more about housing options,” Zarling said. “You drive around [Williston] and see all this new stuff, and you don’t know what it is.”
Zarling said the idea for the housing fair came from several questions: “What are the options? Who has housing? How do we get it?”
The advantage of the fair is it gets everyone together in the same place — real estate developers, Realtors, apartment owners and those looking to buy or rent — for a way to gauge what is needed on the market.
“We don’t want to overbuild or underbuild,” said Prairie Vistas Apartments President and CEO Clint Wilson, sitting at his booth at the event. “We want to have everything balanced out. [The housing fair] gets everyone in one room so we can talk.”
Keith Garot and Chuck Geisen with Landmark Real Estate and Development agreed that Zarling had done a good job bringing everyone together for the event.
“He got the builders, the city, the financial companies and the buyers all together,” Geisen said.
Also among the booths was American State Bank, represented by loan officer Joan Mainwaring and mortgage loan processor Nicole Billings. What made American State Bank’s booth stand out was the large game show wheel at their table, which interested onlookers could spin to win free prizes.
But they were there, like so many other companies, to assist people in finding housing.
“We are trying to help fix the need for housing,” Mainwaring said. “There are people living in RVs, and some even in their cars. They need a place to live.”