The year was 1913. Albert Edward LePage was 26 years old when he decided to become the first real estate agent in Canada to make a full-time business of selling homes. He built an entire company on new ideas – and revolutionized the way real estate was practiced.
From day one, his focus was on customer service and quality. It was always important to him to find new ways to grow his business by serving his customers better. He recognized that real estate was about much more than bricks and mortar – he knew that the keys to success were excellent service and an innovative approach.
Real estate innovation
When other agents were riding bicycles to meet their clients, Albert LePage showed properties in a new and exciting way: by car. He was the first to place a descriptive ad in the newspaper. He was the first to use technology to showcase homes – his 16-mm films were the forerunners of today’s virtual tours. And when other agents stopped work for summer vacations and Christmas holidays, Albert stayed on the job, and made a point of staying in touch with his clients long after the transaction was closed.
Albert LePage was a strong believer in business ethics and professional development. In the early 1920s, he helped found the Ontario Real Estate Association and the Toronto Real Estate Board. His paper, "The Sale of Homes: Systems to Cut Down Your Expenses and Increase Your Sales," was distributed to every registered real estate board member in Canada and the United States.
In 1929, LePage dazzled the country by building a five-bedroom bungalow – complete with a white picket fence – in a single day. The house was auctioned for charity to the tune of $2,500.
In 1940, he created one of Toronto's first subdivisions by dividing Lady Eaton's Ardwold Gate Estate into 30 lots. Some of the lots sold for as much as $100,000, an enormous sum considering the average family income was about $3,000 a year.
He retired in 1953 and passed away in June 1968, but the company that still bears his name continues to grow and prosper by following his basic idea: that excellent service and innovative thinking are the foundation of a successful business.
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