Opera singer turned Palm Beaches real estate leader hits right notes


Singing opera is a lot like selling real estate.

If you don’t believe me, ask John Slivon, the new head of the Realtors of the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale.

(I guess there’s another group of Realtors who represents the lesser parts of Fort Lauderdale.)

Anyway, Slivon, 49, started selling real estate to make ends meet between his gigs as an opera singer, and now says that all that singing has helped him.

“You may not think this has much to do with my current position, but studying and performing as a classically trained singer really has helped me in my journey,” he told The Palm Beach Post’s Charles Elmore. “I still use the skills that I gained from standing before thousands.”

So now he’s the voice for real estate in the area. Think of him as our very own Plácido Lawn Flamingo.

But Slivon has just touched the surface here in explaining this surprising connection between singing opera and selling real estate, and how being trained in opera makes you a better real estate salesperson.

The golden rule in opera: “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings,” is really just an adaptation of the golden rule in real estate:

“It ain’t over until the fat lady signs.”

The humorist Robert Benchley once wrote that “Opera is where a guy gets stabbed in the back, and instead of dying, he sings.”

That’s just a variation of, “Selling real estate is where the guy gets stabbed in the back, and instead of dying, he asks for half the commission.”

It’s all connected.

Putting some chlorine in the pool and a fresh layer of paint on the walls? That’s just improving the set design.

And whether you’re at an opera house or an open house, getting the most out of understanding what’s going on requires knowing how to decode the specialized language.

Operas are routinely performed in foreign languages, as are real estate deals.

So it helps to know that if you’re about to see an opera buffa, you can expect an Italian comedic opera with ordinary settings, everyday people, and simple vocal writing. Similarly, if you are about to see a real estate listing that’s “convenient to transportation,” you can expect a place that’s next to the train tracks or a bus stop popular with local drug addicts.

Getting knowledgeable about your surroundings? In real estate, that’s called checking out the block. In opera, it’s called learning your blocking.

Location, location, location. It applies to both.

Operas are marketed by their arias, while real estate values are marketed by their areas.

Each pursuit is rife with overtures, preludes and entrances both grand, and ones that could use more landscaping. And along the tortuous path of a sale or a performance, there are bound to be divas, arrivals of unwanted strangers, and bad stuff happening in one of the rooms that causes a lot of extra shouting.

Somewhere along the way, there will be an intermission, where the business of the bathrooms will be hashed out. And if you don’t fall asleep or get cold feet, you will make it to the curtain calls and/or measurements at the end.

And whether you’re in real estate or an opera, it’s all about when you’re closing.

Let’s face it, the opera house, much like the home you buy, is at its core a fathomless money pit.

Or as Moliere once put it: “Of all the noises known to man, opera is the most expensive.”

Then again, Moliere never bought a place under the flight path.



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