After the encore, Detroit rockers: real estate.



Aug 7 – For a time, Vashteno County real estate agent Tyler Stipe carried business cards on which he referred to himself as “Rockabilly real estate agent.”

That’s because when you’ve spent years of your life trying to build a rock star career and then switching to real estate, you’re naturally trying to combine the two.

In the end, Stipe, who has been selling real estate since 2013, dropped the Rockabilly moniker. But this background music never leaves you. Stipe says the skills that helped him as a musician – he still plays in a band that occasionally perform – also help him in the real estate business.

“I have performed a lot on stage and performed on stage – I think it helps in communicating with people and communicating with people,” said 35-year-old Stipe, who works for RE / MAX Platinum in Ann Arbor. “When I was younger, I was shy and timid. But you can’t be on stage. “

Stipe is not alone. In the Detroit Metro area, several former musicians make their living by switching from rock to real estate.

Many say that, like music, real estate requires a lot of human skill, the ability to work with others, the ability to work with an ever-changing schedule, and multitasking. They also like the flexibility that it allows being a real estate agent.

“You’re dealing with people anyway,” said Detroit-based Chris Crawford, who played drums in several bands and was a sound engineer before he got his real estate license last fall. “Since real estate is a sale — it’s essentially a sales job — you’re still dealing with people or families. A group is a family. there are parallels. There are many emotions. “

Muffy Kroha, former visual merchandising manager for Neiman Marcus, who also led female rock band The Sirens, founded in the late 90s, calls one of her skill sets “cymbal spinning.”

She led her group on foreign tours, making sure that everyone was paid, understanding personalities and booking concerts, taught her resourcefulness, which is invaluable to this day. She is now a realtor at Johnstone & Johnstone Realtors at Grosse Pointe Farms.

“Real estate is like the Wild West,” said Tiny, who has lived in Detroit all his life. “There is no formula for how to do this. Everyone who does this has a completely different approach and they offer something of their own. My secret sauce is my resourcefulness. “

“Not stationary”

The life of a musician is not a 9 to 5 job at all. All musicians are all too familiar with the touring life in different cities during the tour or with the schedule that changes from week to week.

Keith Thompson, 44, from Clawson spent eight years as a bass player in the dance rock band Electric Six, touring the world. He left the group in 2015 to return to work in television, but eventually found his way into real estate.

“You’re trying to find work on a regular schedule, and it’s really hard,” Thompson said. “You think you can do it, you force yourself to do it, and then you realize it doesn’t work. And this is probably what attracted you to music in the first place. “

Thompson has always had an interest in real estate since the economic downturn and housing crisis in 2008. But he didn’t get his real estate license until January of this year.

Now with Century 21 Curran & Oberski, Thompson said, real estate, like music, is never in the same place.

“When you travel, you have to be very willing to admit that you have a timetable,” Thompson said. “If you have a city-to-city, state to state, country to country tour, it’s the exact opposite of being in one place. And that’s exactly what real estate is like. You are very local. But you’re not stationary. “

For Stipe, who has been playing guitar since his father taught him the chords at age 6, he moved to California in 2007 to pursue his dream of a rock star and hopefully fulfill it. He toured Europe with various bands and went to Hawaii.

But as fun as it was, the salary was low, ”Stipe said. Along the way, he worked with a car return firm to California.

“I got to the point where I was 27 and I thought, ‘I need to find a career,’ Stipe said.

He contemplated becoming a police officer like his father when a drummer friend offered real estate and that his friend’s father would hire him from his real estate firm if Stipe got a license.

So Stipe returned home to Michigan, completed the required courses to become an agent, and received his license in 2013.

“I really like it,” Stipe said. “I love freedom – the freedom of my schedule.”

Personal navigation

Like music, Kroha says that in real estate, a lot of attention is paid to personalities.

“And since this is a situation where the human resource system is extremely minimal, you must be able to” act independently, “said Krokha. “There is a charge to play. You’re on your own. So you have to be able to navigate in personalities. “

Tiny, who worked as a realtor for five years, took up the business after being fired from his job at Neiman Marcus.

“Someone told me how ridiculously easy it is to get a real estate license,” said Krokha. “I thought, ‘This doesn’t make sense.’ Where do I check in? “

And she likes it. Every day is different and she is constantly learning. But all these years with The Sirens – the group was together for 11 years and released two full-length albums in the United States and three EPs in France – helped her to achieve success.

“People will say, ‘Oh, you’re in real estate. This makes sense, ”said Tiny. “No, my secret sauce is that I can work with people. If you can’t work with people when you are making music, nobody wants to order you. “


For some, moving into real estate meant finding a more family-friendly career and moving away from the demands of music.

“Playing music is exhausting,” Stipe said. “Maybe it’s just because I’m getting old. After I play the concert, I’m really tired. “

For Crawford, the career change gave him more time to spend with his wife Emily and their three-year-old daughter. When I was working as a sound engineer, concerts or concerts were often held on weekends, nights or holidays.

“Now I make my own watches,” said Crawford of Century 21 Curran & Oberski in Dearborn Heights.

COVID-19 has also pushed some musicians who suddenly stopped performing to take up real estate. Crawford and Thompson both received their licenses last year, as did Craig Brown, a longtime Detroit-based musician who leads a harsh rock band called the Craig Brown Band.

Brown, 37, who has toured across North America, Canada and Europe and performed nine times in front of country music star Dwight Yoakam, said he had been thinking about real estate for a while, and without a job during the pandemic, he finally , achieved this. He got his license last fall – he and Crawford even trained for the state exam together – and now works with @Properties in Detroit.

And Brown can still make his main love – music. The band is preparing to release their next album through Lazyboy Records.

“I’m never going to never play music,” Brown said.

Thompson is similar. He still plays music and records, but hasn’t performed for several years.

“You will never stop,” he said. “You take breaks, but it’s like cycling.”


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