Thai longtail boatIt’s been quite the year in the land of BREL.

In addition to doubling our sales (yes, doubling!), Brendan and I have been hard at work tweaking the business side of what we do. There’s so much more to being a real estate agent than just buying and selling homes, and 2013 was truly a year of transformation in our business. Here are a few highlights of our non-sales accomplishments in 2013:

We tried out new marketing strategies and tactics to help our Sellers get top dollar for their homes; from producing some killer listing videos to testing augmented reality in our ‘just listed’ postcards.

We introduced a new all-inclusive pricing model to take the mystery out of selling your home. Our commission now includes a pre-listing cleaning, staging consultation, home inspection, professional photography, free access to our client concierge and a ton of wicked marketing. It’s the kind of transparency and service we think our clients deserve.

We’re especially proud this year of our online and social media efforts. Our website and blog now count an average of 800 readers a day and we were among the first Toronto real estate agents to provide a public property search function that rivals the system we use ourselves.  Our weekly real estate porn update and monthly neighbourhood sold reports are hotter than ever, and we nabbed (and maintained) the best real estate agent spot on Yelp based on client reviews. (yay!)

We introduced the new BREL guarantee that takes the fear out of signing a contract with a real estate agent. It lays out our commitment to our clients about our responsiveness and availability and our promise to respect your inbox, your phone and your door. It’s our guarantee that if you’re not happy, we’re not happy, and we aren’t going to hold anyone hostage to a piece of paper (you can read more about the BREL client guarantee here).

We dipped our toes into the world of media, and were interviewed by Toronto Life, CBC and Canadian Wealth Magazine and we once again were recruited into auditioning to host an HGTV show (it’s like an annual game of rejection).

We’ve grown the BREL team: With Jia now a full-fledged member of the BREL team, we brought in Mike Lind, an experienced real estate agent focused on Toronto’s east end, who believes in doing real estate the same way we do. We also added a full-time Assistant/Client Concierge to the team (we’ll be hiring for this role again in February, so if you know anyone who is truly awesome, send them our way).

We’ve made some boring (but important) changes to our internal systems and processes and are almost entirely paperless.

Our brains nearly melted at real estate and marketing conferences in New York, Dallas and Las Vegas and we were invited to speak at a number of online and live events for REALTORS across Canada and the US.

We’ve built solid relationships with agents across North America–agents who push us to be better and do better (thank you!).

Of course it wasn’t all fun and games…we tried and failed at some things too, worked too many 18-hour days, cancelled too many vacations and forgot that our marriage (and our lives) aren’t just about our real estate business.

With so many exciting changes happening in the real estate industry, we’re excited to see what 2014 will bring…will this be the year we sell the Jetsons’ house?

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