Transitioning from Sportscasting to Real Estate: My Story

Real Estate Kyle Madorin May 17, 2024

I recently had the pleasure of welcoming Gary Cohl on the Real Estate on the Up Podcast. We discussed his life as a former sportscaster and how his background taught him about North Carolina vs. Florida real estate.  

Before transitioning to real estate, Gary spent 20 years of his life as a successful television sportscaster delving into the world of real estate in 2002. In recent years, Gary has been responsible for two successful brokerages and two management companies. 

With over 75 million sales in the past three years, Gary continues to navigate the real estate world in both Florida and North Carolina. Currently working with Coldwell Banker, here’s Gary’s story: 

Gary’s Story: Where it All Began

Gary’s career in broadcasting began 40 years ago after he majored in the same field at the University of Wisconsin. According to this real estate mogul, he had his first job in Savannah, Georgia, and later moved to Charleston, Charlotte, for 15 years. 

Working at WFTV Channel Nine in Orlando, doing sports broadcasting, news anchoring, and sports radio talk, Gary experienced all the aspects of his career, but by the time 20 years had passed, he was ready to move on.

After seeing how new technologies impacted the broadcasting world, Gary was inspired by his father, a real estate expert in Wisconsin, to get his real estate license. 

During one of his live radio broadcasts at the Orlando Regional Realtor Association, he met with people who were working on the Lake Buena Vista Resort Village near Disney, inviting him to join the project. 

Seeing how the prices went up with this project, Gary continued working with the same team on different projects, but the market witnessed a severe blow when many deals didn’t make it to closing. 

Persistent in his real estate dream, Gary founded to revive the condo-selling market. Promoting condos as a great source of investment, he attracted many buyers, urging them to buy the condos and use them as rental properties

To manage those properties, Gary started his first property management company, followed by his two brokerages, one of which was GCI Realty. 

Later, he sold his property management company, merging with Kolo Banker in Winter Park.  

How Gary’s Background Influenced His Real Estate Business

To continue our talk, I asked Gary how his background influenced his real estate career and why it is essential to put your customers' needs above yours through integrity.

Doing TV advertisements and being a familiar face on TV helped Gary get the recognition he needed to kick-start his real estate career. But according to this incredible TV personality, his secret to success lies in treating properties like his own. 

For Gary, the commission came second to integrity. Whether he was selling or showing a house to the client, Gary focused on building relationships and earning clients’ trust rather than taking away their money. 

Gary believes that good relationships bring great referrals and experience teaches you how to become a problem-solver.

Gary’s Journey to Generating Leads with Coldwell Banker

Gary owes his success to the several partnerships he had with credit unions, banks, open-door companies, and new construction builders. 

By connecting with builders and holding open houses, Gary and his business partner, Lee Goldberg, found many new clients. 

Taking this approach helped Gary stand out among his peers and leverage creativity to generate leads. 

Navigating Two Different Markets: North Carolina VS. Florida Real Estate

When I discussed Gary’s experience in North Carolina and Florida, he pointed out the differences between the two markets. According to Gary, the prices are 20% to 30% higher in Charlotte than in Orlando. 

Therefore, before moving to any of these locations, decide why you are choosing that market. It is essential to know that while Charlotte's properties tend to be luxurious, Orlando offers more diversity in property types. 

Helping the Community through Philanthropic Acts

Further into our conversation, Gary mentioned how he contributes to his community. For two years, through the Hometown Heroes Program, Gary and his team gave back 1 percent of their commission to veterans, police officers, firefighters, nurses, and doctors. In the recent while, he has been dedicating $2,000 to help the community.

Renting or Buying: Navigating the Real Estate Market with High-Interest Rates

As an experienced realtor, Gary advises homebuyers to purchase a property rather than renting one. He suggests that clients can start by purchasing a townhouse before moving to a bigger city. 

Since the rents are high, applying for a loan in the current high-interest market is a better option than putting money into others’ bank accounts. 

Highlights of Gary’s Career and How to Contact Him

During his broadcasting life, Gary witnessed many Super Bowls and interviews, but the main highlight of his career was spending an hour with Shaquel O’Neil.

If you want to learn more about Gary’s time with sports figures like Shaquel O’Neil or you are thinking about relocating to North Carolina or Florida, he is just a call away!You can contact Gary through his phone number, 321-277-8671, or email him at [email protected]. To learn more about the real estate industry in Orlando, Florida don’t forget to thrive with the Real Estate on the Up Podcast!

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