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August 3, 2017

The Real Estate Wisdom of Billy Joel

By Jonathan Zimmerman

I recently listed to a town hall style interview/concert with the legendary musician Billy Joel. I have always been a fan but never realized until now how truly meaningful the titles and lyrics are in many of his songs.

I also noticed that some of his sage advice applies remarkably well to the real estate industry. Since he will be bringing his brilliant act to Wrigley Field on August 11, this is a timely opportunity to take a closer look.

I. Applicable Song Titles

• Movin Out
The deal is done and notice is given to all parties involved. We are blowing this pop stand and heading on to greener pastures.

• The Longest Time
For those lease deals that should take a month–two, tops–to complete, but actually take a year to close.

• Honesty

The one courtesy to always extend to all participants in a transaction.

• Pressure

This one is self explanatory. Need evidence? Check out my rapidly thinning hairline.

• A Matter of Trust
The key to a successful relationship between either a broker and client, or tenant and landlord.

• New York State of Mind
For all of our respective New York clients who insist on always telling us how things are done in the Big Apple. With all due respect, this is Chicago. We don’t care!

II. Relevant Lyrics

• Why Should I Worry
Once you hit on that first deal, you feel like the city is your oyster.

The rhythm of the city
But once you get it down
Then you can own this town
You can wear the crown
Why should I worry? Tell me.
Why should I care?
I Said, I may not have a dime. Oh!
But I got street savoir faire.

• Scenes From An Italian Restaurant
Obviously, the key to a happy life is having a good office, right?

Things are okay with me these days
Got a good job, got a good office

• Summer, Highland Falls
In honor of the many ups and downs we endure.

Now we are forced to recognize our inhumanity
A reason coexists with our insanity
Though we choose between reality and madness
Its either sadness or euphoria

• You May Be Right
For those times when you offer advice to those know-it-all clients, only to have them look at you as if you need professional help.

You may be right
I may be crazy
But it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for
Turn out the light
Don’t try to save me
You may be wrong for all I know
But you may be right

• The River of Dreams
When clients insist on searching and searching for that perfect space that doesn’t exist:

I know I’m searching for something
Something so undefined
That it can only be seen
By the eyes of the blind

• It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me
In the world of office leasing, tenant preferences and demands constantly change. While you need to keep up with the times, the fundamental lessons of real estate still remain the same.

Oh, what’s the matter with the crowd I’m seeing?
“Don’t you know that they’re out of touch?”
Well, should I try to be a straight-A student?
“If you are then you think too much
Don’t you know about the new fashion, honey?
All you need are looks and a whole lotta money”
It’s the next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways
It’s still rock and roll to me

• Big Shot

When you open your know-it-all mouth one too many times…

Because you had to be a big shot, didn’t you
You had to open up your mouth
You had to be a big shot, didn’t you
All your friends were so knocked out
You had to have the last word, last night
You know what everything’s about
You and to have a white hot spotlight
You had to be a big shot last night

• The Stranger
We all screw up from time-to-time. No one is perfect. Pick yourself up, try again and be supportive when others make mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to try again
Everyone goes south every now and then
You’ve done it
Why can’t someone else
You should know by now
You’ve been there yourself

• The Downeaster Alexa Working on commission can be rough. At the end of the day, we have families to support and the pressure mounts when deals are not getting made.

I got bills to pay and children who need clothes
I know there’s fish out there but where God only knows
They say these waters aren’t what they used to be
But I got people back on land who count on me

• This is the Time
We may gripe and moan about our jobs a lot, but admit it, we would miss it if it was gone.

This is the time to remember
Cause it will not last forever
These are the days
To hold on to
Cause we won’t
Although we’ll want to
This is the time
But time is gonna change

•I Go To Extremes
When a deal is about to go south and we are just about at the breaking point.

Sometimes I’m tired, sometimes I’m shot
Sometimes I don’t know how much more I’ve got
Maybe I’m headed over the hill
Maybe I’ve set myself up for the kill
Tell me how much do you think you can take
Until the heart in you is starting to break?
Sometimes it feels like it will

• Keeping The Faith
Don’t worry, it WILL get better…

You can get just so much
From a good thing
You can linger too long
In your dreams
Say goodbye to the
Oldies but goodies
Cause the good ole days weren’t
Always good
And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems

• Vienna
Billy Joel sums it all up perfectly in this song. It is a good reminder to work hard, but not let the profession consume your life. There are so many salient points in this masterpiece; I have decided to close this blog by presenting all of the lyrics in their entirety. See you at the concert!

Slow down, you crazy child
You’re so ambitious for a juvenile
But then if you’re so smart, then tell me
Why are you still so afraid?

Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You’d better cool it off before you burn it out
You’ve got so much to do
And only so many hours in a day

But you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even
Get halfway through
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you

Slow down, you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be
Before your time
Although it’s so romantic on the borderline tonight
Tonight,
Too bad but it’s the life you lead
You’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need
Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know
You can’t always see when you’re right. you’re right

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride
But don’t you know that only fools are satisfied?
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

Slow down, you crazy child
And take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile
It’s all right, you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?
And you know that when the truth is told
That you can get what you want or you can just get old
You’re gonna kick off before you even get half through
Why don’t you realize, Vienna waits for you