Originally Published: December 06, 1999
RISMEDIA, Dec. 6 -- Rock -'n'-roll and Real Estate might seem like an unlikely combination, but since the early 1970s Neal Smith drummed up a big-time career in music - and now real estate.
The former drummer for the Alice Cooper band, Smith has been selling Real Estate for 15 years. He's been a consistent Multi-Million Dollar Realtor®, representing both buyers and sellers in Westport, Connecticut. He's handled properties from starter homes to grand estates.
After meeting Vincent Furnier, better known as Alice Cooper, Glen Buxton and Dennis Dunaway in art classes at College in Phoenix Arizona, Neal became a founding member of The Alice Cooper Group. As the band's drummer/percussionist and a songwriter, he toured the world. from 1968 to 1975. In that span, Alice Cooper recorded some of rock-'n'-roll's classic albums, such as "Billion Dollar Babies" and School Is Out," which have gone on to sell over 25 million copiesworld wide.
During 1971-'72 when the band's management was making group investments in Real Estate throughout the country that Smith first started getting exposed to the Real Estate business: "We were investing a lot of money in real estate, but instead of just signing papers I was very interested. I would go to the area and see what we were investing in." After living in leased homes in Greenwich, Connecticut. for a number of years, in 1976 Neal bought his first home in Weston, Connecticut. and began settling into what would become his home and soon, his market place.
After the band took a year off from touring, Smith took the advice of a friend and took a real estate course - "just to learn more about real estate." The friend was Jo Sherman, the owner of Jo Sherman Real Estate, an independent company that was very active in Westport and Wilton area. Little did he know that she was prepping Smith for a job offer to work in her Wilton office. At first, Smith was apprehensive to get involved in Real Estate beyond expanding his own knowledge and keeping on top of his investments. However, after selling his first home within two weeks of joining Jo Sherman Real Estate, Smith washooked and never rejoined the band.
By the early 1990's Smith was living in Westport, Connecticut, and specializing in selling luxury homes in Fairfield County, focusing on Westport, Wilton and Weston as his primary marketplace. "When someone decides to buy or sell their house they want a real estate agent who knows the area. I have gotten to know just about everything there is to know about each of these lovely communities.It's a very important part of my business."
Now working at Tilghman & Frost Real Estate Inc. in Westport, Neal enjoys selling homes in a town that he loves. Showing properties with a straight forward approach, Neal let's his properties "sell themselves" providing an in-depth knowledge of the many things that has made Westport a haven for artists and successful people from all over the world since the 1920's. Smith thinks the area sells itself: beautiful homes on the waterfront or nestled in quiet, wooded areas, fine restaurants and shops that draw many New Yorkers and of course location, only an hour by car from the City.
Smith traded in his long hair when he left music full time. Today, the tall, blond-hair Smith looks like the successful professional. To look at him, you would never guess he was a former major rock star. He enjoys meeting clients from all different ethnic and religious backgrounds from around the globe. He also in world-wide relocation sales, as an affiliate of Christie's Great Estates - Santa Fe, New Mexico. Smith finds marketing his listings enjoyable and creative. From 1992-'95 he hosted a radio show on WMMM "Lets Talk About Real Estate" twice a week, where he had local builders, lenders, trades people and town leaders as guests. In 1994 he created a video "Setting Records In Real Estate" for clients, that gives an overview of the highlights of Westport, Weston and Wilton, which will soon be available on CD-Rom. He's working on a marketing campaign for Cable TV.
Smith has kept pace with the latest technology. He has a Web site (www.nealsmith.com) for three years, which has generated a lot of business. "The main thing for me right now is my web site, it's not the silver bullet or cure all for marketing, but you have to do it and I've certainly done a lot of business using it as part of my marketing arsenal."
Smith also stays plugged into the community with business meetings every Friday at 7 a.m. with other local professionals (Business Network International) to discuss ideas to enhance business development. Sticking with the basics, he also attends open houses three times a week to be current with the market. He also keeps active in his community through the Westport Rotary Club.
While he considers himself a real estate professional, he hasn't given up his music entirely. He just released a solo record that he recorded 25 years ago, on his own label Kachina Music, which is selling well.