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For Property Owners, Brokers Are More Than Just Sales Reps: They Are Close Advisers

The Lower Manhattan skyline

Every property has a past, present and future. So does its owner. For Marcus & Millichap broker Barbara Dansker, knowing the property facts and understanding her clients’ goals and objectives are crucial to helping them.  

Dansker has always been a people person.

As the founder and proprietor of The Craft Studio, an Upper East Side children’s emporium and birthday party store, the Queens native has always been interested in getting to know her clients. After managing the business for 15 years, she sold the company and became a broker at Marcus & Millichap in 2009, specializing in mixed-use and multifamily properties in Manhattan.

“I ask clients about financial goals, lifestyle goals and I try to get a general idea of what they are looking for themselves and for their legacy,” Dansker said. “When I meet a person, I try to understand what their life is about and what they need to accomplish.”

For some owners, their equity is tied up in properties mired down by low rents, costly capital improvements or Department of Buildings violations. Major life events like divorce and illness can complicate an already difficult situation. Dansker takes this into account while completing her property review, assessing not only the building’s value but also any potential issues that would impact the sale.

“The owner really engages me as their adviser to propose options to them,” Dansker said. "They can refinance and hold or they can sell their building, but what do they want to do after the sale? Do they want to take advantage of the 1031 exchange? Whether they are going to buy something today, tomorrow or five years from now, at least they know what is available.”

Park Slope brownstones

Improving her clients' lives took on a new meaning when Dansker worked with a family that inherited properties in Lower Manhattan. After having to make costly improvements to rent-regulated apartments and with minimal income, the owner was looking for a change. After learning about their financial and living situation, Dansker brought in a 1031 exchange intermediary and a top triple-net sales broker to show what their portfolio could look like.

“I have access to real estate and zoning attorneys, estate planners and other experts who I can call and whose knowledge I can tap into,” Dansker said. “I am able to utilize my resources to make their lives easier.”

Dansker’s team was able to sell the property and put the owner into a triple-net, no-management property. Deferring 100% of their capital gains tax, they now have an income of over $1M a year without any management responsibility.

“I love finding ways to help my clients reach their goals. For me, that has been very satisfying. To take somebody who is not happy in their situation and work with them, it is completely life-changing,” she said.

Dansker keeps her Marcus & Millichap team small to ensure the service stays personal. More than property valuation and marketing, it is communication and trust that are crucial to getting the best result.

“That’s the part of the job I like,” Dansker said. “Getting to know people at all different levels of life and different backgrounds. This really takes my job beyond sales, because it is a life-changing experience when from a phone call you can develop a relationship with people who see you as a trusted professional.”

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