— We take our content seriously. This article was written by a real person at BREL.
10 years ago today, I hit ‘Publish’ on my first blog. It took me days to write and I was terrified that nobody other than my Mom and Dad would read it. There were already a few good real estate blogs out there – did I have anything to say that hadn’t already been said?
In 2012, I was frustrated by an outdated industry that focused on itself instead of putting clients first; an industry that hoarded information instead of sharing it and one that didn’t always do the right thing. I felt that Toronto home Buyers and Sellers didn’t have the resources to educate and empower themselves; progressive REALTORS like me didn’t have a loud enough voice in the industry, and newbie agents were ill-prepared for a career to guide people making million-dollar decisions.
So I decided to blog. And educate. And inform.
Fast forward 10 years:
- I’ve written over 1,750 articles and blogs
- Over 6 million people have visited the BREL website (including over a million people in 2021)
- We’ve helped more than 2,000 GTA/Hamilton families find or sell a home…and most of them discovered BREL right here on our website
- We’ve sold more than $900,000,000 in real estate (we can’t wait to cross the BILLION DOLLAR threshold this year!)
- We’ve been named to all sorts of ‘Best Real Estate Blogs’ lists
- Our website-fuelled growth propelled us to build one of the best real estate teams and brokerages in the GTA, now made up of 12 agents, 8 admin/marketing/staging employees, countless partners, an office in the Junction, another in Riverdale and a really cool staging warehouse that we’ve already outgrown.
Our blog did some good in the real estate industry too, by connecting us with leaders at all levels of organized real estate (even if we weren’t always on the same side). Through our blogs:
- We gave voice to the need for sold prices to be publicly available (I was especially proud when one of our blogs was entered into evidence during the infamous Competition Bureau Supreme Court hearing)
- We helped change MLS rules and bring in new penalties for unethical REALTORS
- We championed new technologies, electronic signatures for real estate, better marketing and new business models
- We led the charge to ban open houses and unsafe showing practices during COVID
- We helped increase the level of professionalism, ethics and education among REALTORS and shed some light on some gross industry practices
Funnily enough, as I’m writing this, Tim Hudak, the President of the Ontario Real Estate Association texted me to see if there was anything we needed to work on right now (there is). I love that my blog has helped these conversations happen.
I’ve met so many people through this blog, including my dear friend and mortgage partner Jake, who tragically passed away last year. We became friends when he caught a typo in one of my blogs. True story. (I still miss you every day, Jake).
Blogging for the past 10 years helped me discover a nerdy side of myself that I didn’t know existed, and there’s nothing more exciting to me than talking about search engine optimization (SEO) and how to get on the first page of Google. I still don’t fit in at SEO conferences (and not just because I don’t wear a plaid shirt/have a beard/sport a sleeve of tattoos). There aren’t a lot of business owners who take on this quest personally. My role has changed so much from 10 years ago when I used to show and sell houses myself, but I’d like to think I help consumers even more by spending my time educating them and connecting them with the awesome agents of BREL.
Blogging for this long hasn’t been easy, especially during the pandemic, when the words just didn’t flow like they used to. It’s hard to connect digitally when you feel so disconnected from your people in real life. In these days of 30-second Tiktoks that make people laugh, it’s hard to keep focused on writing content that matters. It’s hard to remember that buying or selling a home can’t be taught in 30 seconds and that my best work and impact comes from educating and informing and not by entertaining.
To mark this 10-year real estate blogging milestone, I’m on a solo writing retreat in the Caribbean. Things feel kind of normal here, and it feels like I’ve got my post-pandemic blogging mojo back. Maybe my mask has been masking my words too?
To Mom and Dad: Thanks for being my only readers of that first blog. Thanks for encouraging me and reminding me that my words matter. And thanks for being my proofreaders!
To my husband and business partner Brendan: Thanks for doing the heavy lifting and taking care of our clients and team while I was writing. I know you had to make sacrifices for this blog too (and I know you didn’t really mean it that day 6 years ago when you said: “Any monkey can blog, why does it take you so long?”, lol).
To my readers: Thank you for supporting me for the past 10 years, even if you didn’t always agree with my opinions. Thank you for reading.