TV personality and realtor: Sandra Rinomato

“When it comes to dealing with women who are breaking the mould, my family upbringing and personal experience allow me to talk to them on their level and truly understand what they’re going through,” says Rinomato, a realtor for the past 16 years who didn’t think twice before buying property on her own years ago.

Born and raised in Toronto by Abbruzzese parents, Rinomato says that 1 in 4 property buyers today is a single woman. Recognizing this trend, she came up with the concept for Buy Herself to help single women navigate the often intimidating and daunting world of property ownership. “Even if they do hope to get married and have a family, they’re not holding back from buying real estate because they see the viability of it,” she says.

Recalling the story of her aunt who was unable to secure a mortgage on her own in the 1970s, Rinomato knows it wasn’t so long ago that women were deterred from buying property solo. “The bank wouldn’t give her the mortgage because she was a single female,” she says. “She needed a male co-signer. I’ve always remembered that story.” Rinomato, who is the former host of Property Virgins, says helping people realize their dreams is the best part of her job.

“I’m a people person, so when I’m talking to someone, their energy, their story and their dream inspire me and then I want to help them,” she says. Day in day out, Rinomato enjoys being able to find the right home for clients. “Seeing their happy faces when they get what they want is wonderful.”         

But Rinomato says the overwhelming reaction from fans was unexpected. “I get e-mails and tweets from people in cities that I’ve never been to — or will never go to — that are thanking me for helping them buy a house through the advice on the show. That’s thrilling.”

In addition to her work in television, Rinomato runs her own full service brokerage in Toronto’s west end. She’s also written a book titled Realty Check: The Real Scoop on Real Estate and was the recipient of the Stevie Award for Women in Business for Best Canadian Entrepreneur.

But like all careers, her work is not without its challenges. She sometimes finds herself teaching the same lesson to the same person over and over again without much progress. “It’s a tough job and if you’re just in it for the money, you’ll probably burn out.

Your soul has to be satisfied by it in some way.” Aside from her zeal for real estate, Rinomato is also passionate about saving the environment — which she has incorporated into her home. Her house is equipped with solar panels and a rainwater collection system to water her garden — rather than using city water — along with a greywater system.

“It takes the water from your shower and bath, cleans it and then you flush your toilet with it,” she says. “You use the water twice so it cuts down on your water consumption and sewage.” She has also purchased a Tesla electric car.

And for her well-known no-nonsense approach to real estate, Rinomato credits her Italian upbringing for helping her to develop a thick skin. “That prepared me for real estate,” she says. “But I also think of the Italian women in and around the GTA and we all have that quality. We’re going to tell it like it is.”

written by Vanessa Santilli