November 26, 2014 at 12:00 pm EDT | by Mark Lee
Martin&Jeff add real value
Brier Toews, gay news, Washington Blade

Jeff Brier and Martin Toews will celebrate 20 years of pioneering residential market service in 2015. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Longtime local real estate luminaries Jeff Brier and Martin Toews will commence celebrating 20 years of pioneering residential market service with the new year. Satisfied clients throughout the region who have enjoyed attentive home buying and selling assistance with the Martin and Jeff Group will share in this milestone.

It was in 1995 that the duo discussed collaborating over drinks at JR.’s bar in the Dupont Circle neighborhood. They both chuckle now about the process of joining up, bantering that Brier’s decision-making delay caused Toews to feign mock offense. Mutual success in the industry and robust schedules had caused a deferral in consummating a commitment.

It was a shared experience representing seller and buyer on a transaction complicated by unexpected structural problems and re-inspection requirements that provided an acquaintance. Working through the issues together and moving to successful completion offered the opportunity for favorable impressions of compatible demeanors, problem-solving proficiencies and professional skills.

They joke that this “match made in heaven” prompts clients to assume they are a romantic couple. Brier, currently single save for his shelter-rescued terrier-poodle Tessa, credits Toews’s 28-year partner Stephen Gifford with encouraging a business affiliation. Coming from Kansas where Toews earned his MBA at Washburn University, Gifford is Chief Anesthetist at the VA Medical Center and also licensed as a real estate agent. Toews and Gifford married last year.

Toews worked as development officer at Georgetown Medical Center before beginning in real estate. Drawn to working independently and in command of his schedule, Gifford was “a partner who always believed I could be successful in the business.”

Brier, with a business degree from home state UConn, worked as a corporate travel agency operations manager and specialty clothing boutique manager before visiting his sister in Washington. The gregarious 30-year-old made quick friends and his two-week trip never ended. “I liked D.C. for all the reasons everyone does,” Brier suggests.

Seeking new career opportunities and familiar with the industry through his developer dad, Brier helped his real estate sibling with preparing for open houses and handling inspection appointments. He decided to obtain a Realtor license.

Now, with more than a half-decade combined in real estate, Toews and Brier note pioneering aspects of their partnership. Brier was the first D.C. agent to include his photo in advertising. “Agents today are very promotion-savvy,” Brier points out, “but at the time personalizing my approach was very unique and it started in the Blade.”

When Toews and Brier teamed up, they were the first to launch a website. “We invested in personal branding,” says Toews, “that was unusual for the period.” Extensive newspaper and online marketing, also incorporating direct mail and targeted outreach, was innovative. The two credit the approach with building the business and expanding their client base.

Recognized for multiple industry achievements, they offer unparalleled professional equity to clients.

“We know the city well, including areas that are increasingly of interest to our diverse clientele,” Brier says. “We’re not high-pressure pushy sales people,” adds Toews, “but help them know what to expect and prepare clients for a competitive market.”

A six-member team handles both sales and rentals for homes and condos with superior attention to detail, coordinated by 12-year firm manager and veteran agent Stephen Goolsby.

“The city has grown up,” observes Toews, “and so have we.” “Our clients feel very well taken care of,” notes Brier, while his business partner adds, “we earn our commission every time. Plus, there’s a great amount of satisfaction in helping people find their home.”

Contact information for the Martin and Jeff Group and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is available online at TheMartinAndJeffGroup.com.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter: @MarkLeeDC. Reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

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