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Sex and Drugs and Real Estate


If your idea of real estate makes “Jack a dull boy”, please turn back now. I believe that if we can’t have a laugh once in awhile, we’re nothing more than stuffed shirts who take ourselves way too seriously. I am dead serious about my business, but I can also have a laugh with my friends, clients, and fellow agents. You have been warned.

the Stigliano Chronicles - Rock


I was a rockstar. You’re probably all tired of hearing it, but the fact is I spent fourteen years of my life living, eating, breathing, and punishing my body and mind for the cause of rock and roll. I have the scars to prove it. I was never as cool as Scott Ian or Yngwie Malmsteen, but I watched 100,000 people sing along and rock out with me in one sitting. If you ever get the chance to perform for that many people at once, I suggest you take it, it will blow your mind. The rock and roll world is often one that is misunderstood and the perception that the public holds for rockstars has always been a bit skewed. I was reminded of this when I heard an agent talk about the public’s perception of what we do and how we live as real estate agents. A post was born.


This post is for Lani Rosales, who’s excitement over the thought of this post spurred me to write it. I only hope it doesn’t disappoint. And for Gwen Banta – although my post will never make anyone laugh like she can, I aspire to be able to get half a chuckle like she gets guffaws. And last but not least, this is for Ken Brand. A man who confuses, entertains, excites, and educates me all at once. If I could write like him, I would need far fewer words.

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How can two industries so different be so alike?

Although there may be many difference between us, Realtors® and rockstars aren’t all that dissimilar. The two professions are more intertwined than you may think, so here’s some food for thought:

Rockstars are independent business people, agents are too.

Rockstars have to perform to survive, agents need to perform or their brokers will let them go.

Rockstars show up in shorts to work, agents work short sales.

Rockstars sign autographs for fans, agents get referrals from them.

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Rockstars like to stay up late and party, agents get to stay late with all parties involved to solve the issue.

Rockstars get catering backstage, agents get catered lunches at new home communities.

Rockstars show up to work with a beer in hand, agents network even if they have a mojito in their hand.

Rockstars have funny haircuts, agents often have business cards with photos from the 80s (need I say more?).

Rockstars live on a tourbus, agents live in their cars.

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Rockstars sign contracts with major labels, agents write them for stick “Sign Here” labels on them.

Rockstars pay ridiculous amounts for insurance so they don’t get sued, agents do too.

Rockstars don’t get health care, agents wish they did.

Rockstars buy fancy houses in the Hollywood Hills, agents get to sell them.

Rockstars often think their fame will never end, agents thought the heady days of outrageous sales numbers would never end.

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Rockstars can say whatever they want in an interview, agents can say anything they want as long as it doesn’t violate the Code Of Ethics, Fair Housing Laws, state law, local board regulations, or your broker’s rules.

Rockstars get to see naked people backstage, agents see them at showings.

Rockstars have gold records on their walls, agents get a gold Realtor® pin and a sales award.

Rockstars get offered drugs, agents keep a steady supply of Tylenol at the ready.

Rockstars can’t wait to get home, agents can’t wait to sell them.

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And thanks to public perception, this one will always be my favorite…

All rockstars are rich, live in mansions, and own a fleet of Bentleys, all agents make a killing on each sale, but drive economical cars so that they look poor and the public takes pity on them.

Just a few observations, I’m sure there are more. Can you think of any ways that agents and rockstars are the same? Imagine how fun you’ll be at your next sales meeting when you can compare the two professions and say you learned it from a real life rockstar (no one said you had to tell them I was b-list)?

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Written By

Matt is a former PA-based rockstar turned real estate agent with RE/MAX Access in San Antonio, TX. He was asked to join AgentGenius to provide a look at the successes and trials of being a newer agent. His consumer-based outlook on the real estate business has helped him see things from both sides. He is married to a wonderful woman from England who makes him use the word "rubbish."



  1. ines

    June 10, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    awesome, awesome (even with mojito in hand). off the subject here but Yngwie lives a couple of blocks from me in Miami Shores and drives an old red Ferrari 🙂

  2. Matt Stigliano

    June 10, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    Ines – I had written “beer” at first, but then thought to myself that it was blasphemy to not drop a Ines-mojito reference in there. As for Yngwie, he’s never off the subject. The old red Ferrari only makes him cooler. Him and Vanilla Ice should join up down there!

  3. Matt Stigliano

    June 10, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    Ines – You do realize I won’t be able to sleep tonight now that I have that Yngwie info. I thought most people would just say “Who?”

  4. Mariana

    June 10, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Matt – This was an AWESOME post. I always KNEW we were rockstars…

  5. Ben Goheen

    June 11, 2009 at 12:15 am

    Great post Matt. I’ve never been a huge Yngwie fan, but I’ll listen to Satriani or Vai any day.

  6. Matt Stigliano

    June 11, 2009 at 12:31 am

    @mizzle – You always have been a rockstar. You have your own merchandise and it is highly sought after. That alone makes you a rockstar. Add in your skills and ability to connect and suddenly, you’re Arena Rock.

    Ben – I just can’t believe you and Ines caught and cared about the Yngwie reference. I really only put that in there for @realestatechick. We’ve been randomly using the #yngwie hashtag for laughs on Twitter. Several times people asked us if we were nuts, but it kept us laughing. For the record, I was more of a Racer X and Megadeth-era Marty Friedman fan.

  7. ines

    June 11, 2009 at 12:45 am

    dood – Yngwie is rocking the scraggly long hair and has a pot belly – but the dood could rock classical on his guitar (probably still can). I was more Metallica and some Rush for old stuff….and can still Merengue (I’m pretty screwed up)

  8. Matt Stigliano

    June 11, 2009 at 1:13 am

    Ines – Don’t tell anyone, but your dropping Rush and Metallica in your comment just made me like you even more. I was a huge Metallica fan and will never forget meeting them for the first time. I was so nervous. They later invited us to play their festival show with them and it was incredible. Not so long ago at Rock am Ring I watched the crowd split mid way through their set. Why? They were on their way to our stage – 60,000 people watched us that night and my favorite Swedish metal heads, In Flames, stood on the side of the stage and sang ever word.

    PS I got rid of the long hair, but I can’t say the same for the pot belly.

  9. Dale Chumbley

    June 11, 2009 at 4:29 am


    Laughs flowed freely as I read this. Awesome comparisons & great insights.

    Hmmm… other ways agents and rockstars are similar? Simple!

    Matt Stigliano!!! He is THE REAL ESTATE ROCKSTAR

  10. Judy M.

    June 11, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Duuude –

    Nice post! Lots of truisms in there. One comparison that has become obvious to me since my introduction to social media – Rockstars have the latest and greatest in musical instruments – Agents (the smart ones anyway) have the latest and greatest in technology! And if they know how to use it properly and have talent, they make lots of money with it!

    And hey – who knew Yngwie lived in Inesland? And drove an old Ferrari? That just raises his coolness factor by about nine zillion! Sounds like we need to go to bar camp Miami with a side road trip to find Yngwie!

    ps: Scott Ian is another fav of mine but you probably knew that already……

  11. Joe Loomer

    June 11, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Gwen Banta has competition for causing Joe snorts now. Another monitor covered in coffee, another keyboard sparking *OUCH THERE’S ANOTHER ONE,* another knee-slapping, belly-aching post! Thanks for perking up my morning, Matt – at the expense of my tech budget!

    I’m more of a Queensryche, Uriah Heep, Allan Parsons, Jethro Tull, Jethro Clampitt, Who (both Guess and plain old), Zepp, Supertramp, Candlebox kinda rocka for my old or almost-old stuff.

    Realtors sometimes ride in Hummers, Rockstars…………….

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  12. Ken Brand

    June 11, 2009 at 6:46 am

    I know you can’t see me, sprawled comfortably across my white couch, glancing at CNBC and reading your Rock n Roll story.

    But if you could, you’d see me raise my flickering Bic over my head.

    And it’s whispered that soon
    If we all call the tune
    Then the piper will lead us to reason.
    And a new day will dawn
    For those who stand long
    And the forests will echo with laughter.

    Cheers and thanks

  13. Lani Rosales

    June 11, 2009 at 9:10 am

    “Rockstars get to see naked people backstage, agents see them at showings.” lol at @rerockstar AND @jimduncan. You did NOT disappoint, this is great!!!

  14. Matt Stigliano

    June 11, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Dale – I had hoped you’d get a laugh or two. As I’ve told Lani, perhaps someday I will write a book, my idea is to tell the stories of the celebrities I’ve met and my run ins with them. I’ve got a wicked Britney Spears story that wouldn’t surprise anyone today, but back then, it might have shocked the world.

    Judy – I couldn’t believe it when I read it. I feel as if I’ve slighted my agent friends for only thinking that would care or know. Who knew Ines was tracking Yngwie’s movements? Most musicians are also technology freaks as well, at least in the circles I traveled in. Nothing better than walking into a festival with 20 other bands sprawled across a common area, beer in hand at their laptops using Skype to call home, updating websites, making calls on their first generation iPhones, checking email, and gathering around a screen to share the latest YouTube clip making it’s way across the globe. People thought it was all sex and drugs and rock and roll, but it was typically more like wireless access and laptop and a little bit of rock.

    And no, I didn’t know you were a Scott Ian fan. He interviewed me once. I was shaking like a leaf. After that, everytime I bumped into him we would hang out and chat. We used to email back and forth occasionally, but he changed his email at one point and we lost touch. Sad, he is one of the most fan-boy musicians I’ve ever met, along side Kerry King. Those two will go to any show to see anyone and have a ball doing it.

    Joe – I would never try to compete with Gwen, just aspire to be more like her. Since I can’t be on Family Ties, I have to try my hand at writing.

    Ken – Only you could take a song that has been played over and over again and turn it into a comment without it seeming out of place. I spent some time trying to think of some comment-worthy lyrics to leave you, but unfortunately my head wouldn’t cooperate.

    Lani – @jimduncan had just tweeted that while I was going through some of my prep-thinking for the post. I immediately made a note of it. How could I not use that one? It was a fun one to write and I’m sure I could come up with a few more.

  15. Paula Henry

    June 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Matt – I never tire of your stories! Before you came on the scene, I never realized the similarities; now it’s all too obvious.

    Rockstars have the keys to fame and fortune – agents have the supra key to every home in the MLS

    And…..I use fewer words because I can’t write like Ken:)

  16. Matt Stigliano

    June 11, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Paula – I’m sure there’s some differences. I mean I typically don’t call out my clients for their bad haircuts, but we did that on stage all the time.

    I like your addition – it could also have read:

    Rockstars have a key card to every hotel across the globe, agents have the supra key to every home in the MLS.

    (Don’t know why, but I’d always come home with 10 or 15 key cards from tour. Somewhere I have a pile of them.)

    How about:

    Rockstars “shout at the devil”, agents shout at the lender.
    Rockstars marry supermodels like Iman, agents attend conferences like Inman.
    Rockstars get more excited with each great show, agents get more excited with each great closing. A bad run for either puts them in a foul mood and decreases their excitement.

  17. Ben Goheen

    June 11, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Matt – since you’re a Megadeth fan you’ll enjoy this little tidbit. My dad was David Ellefson’s high school band director in Jackson, MN. Here’s a photo of him playing bass in the jazz band:

  18. Jason Sandquist

    June 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I was never as cool as Scott Ian or Yngwie Malmsteen

    add Fat Mike to the list 😉

    one day… I might be able to shred like Yngwie or maybe we should sit down and ride out some power chords 🙂

  19. Missy Caulk

    June 11, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    Matt, this is great. I am sending to my son who wants to be a Country Rock Star. Maybe he’ll join me in the business.

    My favorite one is Rockstars get offered drugs, agents keep a steady supply of Tylenol at the ready.

    How about RockStars sign with labels and get very little from the sales and some realtors sign with Brokers and get very little of their commission.

    Is independent the way to go?

  20. Gwen Banta

    June 12, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    FABULOUS post, Matt! I am humbled by your acknowledgment – thank you. I represent a famous rock group here in L.A., and I would add only one comment: Rock Stars get their butts kissed, Agents have to kiss butt.

  21. Matt Stigliano

    June 15, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Ben – That photo just made you way cooler in my book. I loved Dave Ellefson.

    Jason – As you know I’m a huge Fat Mike fan. I spent this entire weekend with NOFX on the iPod. He writes some of the best lyrics, both funny and serious. I mean come on “The Brews” has to be one of the funniest songs on the planet.

    Missy – I like your addition. Indie is and isn’t the way to go in rock and roll. It’s probably best to get your feet wet in the industry, build the base (if you don’t get dropped), and then go independent. Although we were independent first (most bands are), then went to a major, then got dropped, then went indie again, then went major, then moved to 2 different labels within the same company as they reorganized, almost got dropped again, then got dropped in America, but picked up by the German label (same company) for worldwide rights, but stayed independent in America. How’s that for confusing?

    Gwen – Stop being humbled. You were in “Family Ties” not me. That’s still my favorite fact. I just need to find the episode so I can see the young Gwen on screen. As rockstars you do get your butt kissed a lot. I once had a 6-foot-something muscle bound security guard on his knees begging for forgiveness and crying. Just because I flipped out about something he did. The promoter made him do it as part of his apology. It was pure evil, but kind of fun.

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