As a parent, watching your child leave home and choose a career is bittersweet. Jennifer Tremaine, Realtor and broker at Tremaine Real Living Real Estate in Grand Blanc, had that same feeling four years ago when her son, Wyatt Tremaine Wilson, left home for Northwood University in Midland to study automotive marketing. Wyatt had spent two summers interning at auto dealerships, loved cars and was sure that he had chosen the right career path. Then a funny thing happened.
In between marketing classes and talking to recruiters from Ford and GM, Wyatt became the president of his fraternity. He was responsible for finding housing for himself and his brothers. He realized he liked real estate more than cars.
Fast-forward to today: Wyatt has decided to join the Tremaine Real Living Real Estate team. It shouldn’t be a surprise. Wyatt is the third generation of the family to become a Realtor.
His grandmother, Mary Ann Tremaine, founded the company nearly 30 years ago. His mother left a career in mall management to become a Realtor. His uncle, John Tremaine, went to school to become an accountant, then became a Realtor. His aunt, Spring Tremaine, spent 30 years in law enforcement but still works as a Realtor.
In addition to the small boom in suburban Genesee County and northern Oakland County, Jennifer and Wyatt see tremendous potential in the Flint city housing market.
“My mom, Mary Ann, started the company in the basement of our home in the city of Flint,” Jennifer says. “As kids, we put in yard signs and got paid to help in the family business.” Like Jennifer, Spring and John, Wyatt absorbed “almost by osmosis,” according to Jennifer, the ins and outs of being a Realtor as a child.
“Wyatt played baseball for many years,” Jennifer says. “I would go to the games, then run out to show houses to clients between innings. I sold houses to the other parents in the stands. When Wyatt was 16 I got him an old truck and he started putting up signs and removing lockboxes. By the time he was 18, he had a good understanding of the mechanics of how real estate works.”
However, according to Jennifer, in real estate there is a difference between putting up a sign and working with people. You have to genuinely care.
“My very first client is still our family’s friend,” Jennifer says. “She lives alone, so Wyatt saw her at every holiday growing up. I tried to show him that the people side of real estate is the important part. Anybody can put a stick in the ground.”
According to Jennifer, the family aspect of real estate extends to suppliers as well. “I’ve tried to be an example to my son,” Jennifer says. “We bring you into our family and you are there for life. We’re all real estate people – this is what we do,” she says.
“Wyatt has heard about Liberty Title, but he’s always known Lisa Liberty personally. He’s been to the Icon Mortgage office, but he’s been on vacations and out to dinner with [loan officer] Rebecca Bartley,” Jennifer says. “I spent years looking for great people who have the same high work standards I have. Once I found them, of course they’d also be my friends.”
While Jennifer is proud of her family’s heritage, she isn’t blind to the changes that are happening in the real estate industry. She hopes that Wyatt will help Tremaine Real Living Real Estate reach the next generation of home buyers – Wyatt’s generation.
“I think Wyatt’s fresh look at the business will bring the latest technology to the table to make home buying more convenient, especially for first-time, younger buyers,” Jennifer says.
Wyatt says his goal is redirecting the focus away from the perception of home “sales” toward the problem-solving side of the profession. “I want to make sure a client’s move is smooth. I want them to use their time effectively,” he says with enthusiasm. “We’re not salesmen anymore. We solve all the problems that come with getting you into the right home at a price you and your family can afford.”
Photos by // Michael Gleason Photography
Wyatt’s first listing is an example of that principle. “It was in Durand,” he says. “It appeared as though a spaceship from the 1950s had landed and a house was built around it. They had one of those crazy silver octopus furnaces from before my time, and the client was worried we couldn’t sell their house because of it. We did, though, and we got the price they needed to get into their next home.”
“Wyatt has a client right now with 10 kids,” Jennifer adds. “They’re a first-time home buyer. With the Trump bump in the stock market and the belief that interest rates will rise, there are now more buyers than sellers. At the same time, the word on the street is that you can now get more for your home than you could in the last 15 years. What all this means is that you can almost guarantee multiple offers.”
“I think Wyatt’s fresh look at the business will bring the latest technology to the table to make home buying more convenient, especially for first-time, younger buyers.” —Jennifer Tremaine
In addition to the small boom in suburban Genesee County and northern Oakland County, Jennifer and Wyatt see tremendous potential in the Flint city housing market. Jennifer says, “Houses sell in Flint for different reasons than other areas we deal with; it’s much more nuanced. It’s an unusual market. Not bad, just different. The people who buy in Flint, a lot of them are millennials and educators. There is a pent-up demand for an affordable urban lifestyle.”
Despite the ongoing water crisis and a market that has a long history of depreciation, the Tremaines believe the city will rebound. “After the water crisis is solved, we expect there’s going to be an appreciation in property values like what’s happening in other college towns,” Jennifer says.
Jennifer remains hopeful that, in the end, Flint will catch up with the rest of southeast Michigan and that her son will help lead the charge. It may take years, but the Tremaines will still be there, guiding clients toward the home stretch in the city and beyond.