This week, we’re highlighting ME!
I’m Melanie. I’m also the EL in BREL, married to Brendan (the BR), and I’ve been with BREL since day 1, 10+ years ago. While I am a real estate Broker and co-own the brokerage, I mostly manage the BREL brand, the website and the people.
What did you do before becoming an agent? Why did you get into real estate?
I have a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Human Resources, so it was fitting that I spent 12 years working in various executive HR positions in the advertising industry, ending my career as the HR Director at Cossette Communications.
In 2007, I decided to get my real estate license. I’d been a long-time real estate addict and figured it would be fun. In 2008, I took a sabbatical and traveled the world with that cute guy I met in 2006 (yes, Brendan). But then I got sick in Turkey, had surgery in Athens, spent a month recovering in the Greek islands, and got sent home 4 months early by the insurance company…so I decided to give real estate a try while waiting for my sabbatical to end.
Of course, this was 2008, so the market crashed the day I got my first listing and the whole world seemed to change overnight. I soon realized that my HR skills – in particular, my people and negotiating skills – were in short supply in the industry and I loved doing something completely different than HR in a marketing agency. I didn’t end up going back to my job – I stuck it out in real estate and sold some houses instead.
I decided to teach myself digital marketing in 2011, after falling for an ‘I’ll get you on the first page of Google’ scam and being pressured by my brokerage to door knock. I’d been around great marketing for a long time and knew I could do it differently.
I stopped selling houses a few years ago (except to a few VIP friends and clients) and spend most of my time developing the BREL brand and website, creating cool client experiences and mentoring the team.
The irony of now being in charge of HR in a marketing-first brokerage is not lost on me. I’m basically back to where I started, so I guess that’s where I belong. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, right?
What’s it like being on the BREL team?
Obviously, BREL is the best real estate team in Toronto and I adore our agents and admin, marketing and staging staff. I’m proud of how everyone puts the client at the centre of every decision and works together to make it happen. I couldn’t ask to work with a better group of people.
What do you love most about buying and selling homes?
I love that we’ve created a different experience for our Buyers and Sellers: a genuine, no BS experience with marketing that doesn’t suck.
Tell us about where you live.
What does ‘home’ mean to you?
Home is wherever my stuff happens to be – whether that’s in Toronto, at our vacation home in Prince Edward County or at a cool hotel or Airbnb that I’m bunking at for a few days. I can make almost anywhere feel like home. Bonus if the dogs (and Brendan) are there.
What’s your craziest real estate story?
In 25 words or less, what’s your best advice for a Toronto home Buyer?
Hire the right agent – who you hire will greatly impact what you buy, how much you pay and what your experience is. And of course, read the BREL blog.
In 25 words or less, what’s your best advice for a Toronto home Seller?
Home selling has changed a lot in the last 5 years, so don’t hire an agent who’s still listing homes like it’s 1999. And of course, read the BREL blog.
What We ❤️About Mel
Well, this awkward, lol. Instead of listing off why I’m so awesome, I asked the team to forward their thoughts to Sydney, our Marketing Coordinator. I don’t even get to edit or see anything until the blog is live, so I hope they say nice things.
From the team:
From Halina: How Mel manages to do all the things she does amazes me. We can barely keep up with all the new ideas and blog content, marketing materials and concepts that are constantly being introduced to the team. But it keeps us ahead of the competition! Mel is the best student of life. She is always reading or learning about something new. She finds so many things “fascinating” and inspires me to always want to be a better agent.
From Jenny: You might not immediately think that a career in HR would be a perfect primer for real estate, but every BREL-er has certainly benefited from that strong foundation. Mel is the glue that holds us all together. She is the mastermind behind the website and all of the blog content and although she spends the majority of her days entrenched in SEO and ensuring that our clients are receiving next-level marketing, she is still the best person to brainstorm with if you want to chat offer strategies or new listing techniques. She is always learning and works hard to stay ahead of the; curve (and the industry!) …which has immensely benefited BREL team members and clients alike!
From Lisa: The thing I most admire about Melanie is her FIERCE determination to stay ahead of, well, just about any curve. If there’s even a slight shift in the market, she’s on it. If there’s a hint of disruption in the industry, she’s embracing it. If there’s a new and better way to do things for the team and for the clients, she’s investigating it. It doesn’t always make her popular with the masses, but it makes her beloved by this team.
From Matt: Mel has been there for me back when working in real estate was just a pipe dream. She has walked me down the path and helped me grow as an agent every step of the way.
From Dena: Mel is a powerhouse and a force to be reckoned with! She has this energy about her that people are just drawn to. She is talkative, vivacious, friendly and has a wicked sense of humour. Mel is someone that I trust and I know I can always go to her and talk whether it be about business or my personal life…all around she is just an incredible lady and a rockstar boss!
From Nicole: Mel is so organized and methodical, she speaks to my OCD Type A personality. She is truly a powerhouse and someone I really admire. #GirlBoss.
From Kristin: What can’t I say about Melanie? Like Brendan, she took a chance on me five years ago. She is the calm to my crazy, has all of the answers to everything and knows SEO like no one else I know. Thank you Mel for everything and for all of the hard work you do behind the scenes. Your days start early and finish late but we wouldn’t be able to call our team our team without you.
From Allie: Melanie is the writing genius behind the BREL blogs. She’s a workaholic who’s years of dedication and hard work has pushed the BREL team to new heights. She’s an innovator who rarely thinks inside the box, she’d say “what box”? I love her fresh approach to the sometimes ‘stiff’ image of real estate and she had lots of fun while doing it. She’s a rare breed.
From Sydney: Where to start! Mel is a huge role model to me and inspires me to do the best marketing I can. We push the boundaries of traditional marketing to really get to know our target audience; making every home and client a truly unique experience. Mel has an amazing energy to her and I can’t wait to keep growing my skillset under her leadership!