There's nothing we love more here on our blog page than bringing you interesting stories about the local area, including upcoming events, local history and stories of interest about the people and places that make up the Delaware beaches.

But every now and then, something happens where we just need to "toot our own horn" a bit - and we hope you'll oblige us for a moment as we do just that.

We were recently thrilled to learn that, for the second consecutive year, the Oldfather Group of Ocean Atlantic Sotheby's International Realty has been named to the annual “Top 1,000 Real Estate Professionals List,” as named by REAL Trends and the Wall Street Journal.

This prestigious listing of America’s top real estate agents and offices will be published later this year in the nation's leading financial newspaper. It's the 12th year the ranking has been compiled in the United States.

Here's what our Chief Executive Dustin Oldfather had to say about the recent news:

"To be acknowledged in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times as one of the top real estate teams in the country is a testament to the talents and efforts put forward by the amazing group of people who comprise the Oldfather Group," he said. "Improving the lives of our clients is what gets us all up in the morning and what brings us fulfillment."

The application process for the annual “Top 1,000” list begins on Jan. 1 each year, and runs through March 31. Applicants are vetted in many different ways, including through personal contact, by reaching out to local and state Realtors’ associations and via independent third-party verification.

After record years in 2015 and 2016, the Oldfather Group is now the top real estate firm in Sussex County in terms of buyer-represented sales, according to data obtained by the county’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

The firm also ranks in the top five in Sussex County in several other categories, including the number of overall sales and overall sales volume.

The Wall Street Journal and REAL Trends, Inc., “Top 1,000 Real Estate Professionals” recognizes the top one-half of one percent of the more than 1 million Realtors nationwide. The report is divided into four separate categories honoring the top 250 in each category. These include: Individual Sales by Sales Volume, Individual Sales by Transaction Sides, Teams by Transaction Volume and Teams by Transaction Sides.