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Sault Ste. Marie’s Gary Trembinski: From shy kid to top producer

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This story is a victory for the shy kid who couldn’t talk to anyone or look them in the eye because he was afraid of people. Broker Gary Trembinski has gone from being that kid to being a successful, work 24/7 kind of real estate professional who helps his clients put the roof of their dreams over their heads.

Gary Trembinski with Steve Morris, founder of Exit Realty, and Joyce Paron, president, Canadian Division, Exit Realty Corp. International.

Gary Trembinski with Steve Morris, founder of Exit Realty, and Joyce Paron, president, Canadian Division, Exit Realty Corp. International.

It’s been a busy 3.5 years for Trembinski at Exit Realty Lake Superior in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. In 2018, he was named Exit Realty’s Rookie of the Year for Canada. He closed just over 40 transactions during his first full year in the business, he says, and is on track to close almost 200 deals by early 2021.

In 2019, he was the top producer for number of sales in the office, excluding brokers. He was voted the People’s Choice Best Real Estate Agent in 2019 and 2020 in the Sault Star promotion, and he received the 2020 Exit Platinum Award for 80-119 completed transactions during the one-year award period.

There’s been a lot of change in 28-year-old Trembinski’s life in the last decade. He moved to Ottawa in September 2010 when he was 18 to play junior hockey for the Arnprior Packers. Sadly, a shoulder injury ended his hockey career.

Although he knew nothing of the sport of long track speed skating, he decided to give it a try. After two months of training, his coach said if he was serious about the sport, he should move to Calgary. He did and lived there for five years, chasing his Olympic dreams. “I lived with many Olympians, including speed skaters Denny Morrison, Shannon Rempel and Tamara Oudenaarden,” he says.

Speed skating brought him out of his shell – he had to learn to speak to strangers for sponsorships. “Speed skating is an individual sport. I had to put myself out there and market myself. I had to reach out to people I didn’t know,” he says.

Other speed skaters began to take note and wondered how he managed to get sponsors, considering that he hadn’t been in the sport for very long. He’s proud to have secured a “small sponsorship from Sport Chek. It was an exciting thing to partner with them.”

However after the 2016 season, with a lack of funding (seasons cost $25,000 per year out of pocket) he made the decision to move home and begin his real estate career.

“My father’s name is also Gary; I am Gary Jr.,” Trembinski says. “My Uncle Terry and my father started Lake Superior Real Estate in the early 1980s. My dad left real estate in the late 1980s, while Uncle Terry continued to sell. He started Exit Realty Lake Superior in 2000, ultimately selling it to his daughter and son (Kristen and Rob Trembinski, my cousins) in 2013. Rob sold his share of the company in 2017 to Jamie Coccimiglio, now managing partner alongside Kristen Trembinski, who remains the Broker of Record. Terry still holds his real estate license; however he does not sell, but still remains a wealth of knowledge for those of us at the brokerage.”

Gary says he had always wanted to get into real estate but growing up he kept his wishes to himself. He says he wanted to make sure the career decision was his own.

“Getting into real estate was the best decision I ever made,” says Trembinski. “Getting into the business was a no-brainer. It’s what every person needs – a roof over their head. Houses sell themselves. You have to build trust and relationships.”

His tactic does away with high-pressure sales. The first time he meets new clients, he tells them to let him know if they don’t like a house. “I say tell me if you don’t like it. You don’t have to go through the whole house because you don’t want to waste my time. It’s not about me, it’s about you.”

He says he points out things, good and bad, to clients, especially first-timers, who may not know what to look for. Then he goes through everything again when their parents come through, building trust and marketing to the parents as well.

Trembinski says his time in Calgary (from 19 to 24 years of age) helped him get used to speaking to people who are older than he is. Although he doesn’t have a niche and works with people of all ages, that skill has come in handy as he works with estate sales and people who are downsizing.

Nor does he have a niche when it comes to property type, working with everything from residential to vacant or mining land to cottages. “I’m young and hungry. I work seven days a week and answer the phone every time it rings. The first year when I was rookie of the year, I went to the brokers after one crazy month of eight closings and said, ‘I never want to be that busy again’. The brokers told me, ‘You’ll get through it and once you get through it you can handle it and do it again’.”  And so he did.

When he started in the business, the market was stable but when COVID-19 hit, “our listing inventory dropped dramatically,” he says. “It’s normal for the Sault Ste. Marie market to have approximately 700+ active listings for sale.” But at the end of September active listings were at 342, marking a 50.4 per cent drop from the end of September 2019. CREA reported that inventory was at the lowest levels on record.

But buyers are “coming out of nowhere.” He says there’s been an influx of out-of-town agents since COVID. “Toronto agents are infiltrating the market, asking for showings.” Many are working with Toronto buyers looking for a less expensive place to live, be it a bungalow, townhouse or waterfront.

“Any waterfront property in and around the Sault (with lots waiting to be built on) continue to rise in value as the Sault becomes more known for its abundance of land and its beautiful landscape,” he says.

As for his future, Trembinski says, “I’d love to see myself continue to grow, expand and build my personal brand – with the hiring of my first personal assistant in the very near future.”

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