Through an open bay window
Lex Lianos is another guy who’s traded the stage for the winding-brick walkway. You might remember him as the drummer for early ’90s Boston alt-rockers the Cliffs of Dooneen, who scored a minor MTV hit with “Through an Open Window.”
Nowadays, Lianos talks up the merits of bay windows and bow windows, double-hung and casements. The real-estate bug first bit years ago. Following in his father’s footsteps, Lianos had gotten his real-estate license in New Hampshire in an off year between high school and college. Later, between his junior and senior years at BU, he saw an opportunity.
“I was trying to get into the music scene in Boston, and wanted to stay here for the summertime to play,” he recalls. “I didn’t have a job. But one of the guys who was in the band managed a small rental office in Allston. So it was very easy for me to get my license [in Massachusetts].”
Really easy. “Hairstylists have to do something like 100 hours of supervised study before they can get licensed,” adds Lianos incredulously. “As opposed to real-estate brokers, who deal with very large transactions — probably the largest transactions of their customers’ lives — [for whom] it’s basically 24 hours of course time. Which you can jam into a whole weekend if you want. It’s like 120 questions, a multiple-choice test. Pass/fail only, and you can take it as many times as you want.”
Lianos fondly remembers his first day on the job. “I rented [to] the first customer that I had. I spent about half an hour with him, drove him down the street, and drove back, and made $1000. I was like, ‘I love this job.’ ”
Through his other gig, he’d go on to taste a bit of fame, first with the Cliffs of Dooneen. Later he played in soccer dude Alexi Lalas’s vanity band. He even opened for Hootie and the Blowfish. But fame was fleeting. Real estate, as they say, is forever.
He still plays music, but now Lianos is a principal at MetroRealty Corp in Cambridge. “With the ebb and flow of my music career,” he says, “it was a very easy thing to come back to. You don’t lose seniority.” He also notes another appealing aspect of the job: you get paid in direct proportion to how good you are — and how hard you’re willing to work.
“I think this is why musicians gravitate toward it. You can do it by the book and by what people ask you to look at, but to go above and beyond and . . . to really excel at it . . . you have to be . . . not on stage, but you have to put on a front.”
Sell houses, not out
Amy Fairchild is a folk singer. Folk singers — unless they go by the name Joan Baez — don’t typically rake in beaucoup bucks. So it was that Fairchild found herself looking for some part-time work. Upon seeing a listing for a realtor position, even though she’d “never considered real estate at all,” she answered an ad. It kind of clicked. She’s now an agent with Paragon Properties.