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In this column, real estate agents across the nation share stories of the lessons they’ve learned during their time in the industry. 

As co-head of New Development for Compass Development Marketing Group in New York, Dan Parker works alongside the brightest minds in New York real estate, offering unparalleled expertise and guidance to his developer clients. He has lived in Brooklyn since 2001, first in Carroll Gardens, then in Brooklyn Heights and now in Williamsburg.

Like many New Yorkers, Parker says he “walks everywhere” and is “constantly stopping to look up at buildings. It drives my husband nuts and often makes us late to wherever we’re heading.” Find out how he brings a lifelong love of design to his work with the city’s biggest developers.

Personal stats

Name: Dan Parker

Title: Co-head of New Development, New York, Compass Development Marketing Group

Location: New York City

Brokerage name: Compass Development Marketing Group

Sales volume: In excess of $1 billion in 2022 and 2023

(2022: $1,133,709,269; 2023 YTD: $1,117,595,850)‌

Q&A with Dan Parker

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a kid, I loved car design. I assembled models and subscribed to all the car magazines and cut out the pictures I liked and pasted them all over my bedroom walls. I really wanted to work for a car company and had notebooks full of drawings and designs. Cars sparked a lifelong interest in design.

In my role at Compass, design is always at the forefront. Great product is the key to a great sales program. Developers look to me and my team to help guide a design process focused on what we know buyers will find irresistible.

What’s the best advice you ever got from a mentor or colleague?

I’ve been really fortunate to have had great colleagues and mentors over the years. The most prominent has been my friend Bob Fitzpatrick. He’s had many big careers and has run universities and major museums.

Bob’s had a profound effect on me and how I see the world. He always tells me to stay open: open-minded, open to new possibilities, hopeful. He’s also shown me the joy in being of service and useful to others.

What would you tell a new agent before they start out in the business?

For agents hoping to work in new development, it’s really important to understand the time commitment.

I’ve met many agents who just see dollar signs when pursuing development. They do the simple math of calculating their commission on the sellout of a building, but forget to calculate the hours that accumulate over the years of work it takes to get a project designed, built and ready for sales. They don’t understand the focus and time it’s going to pull away from their resale business.

Nothing in new development sales and marketing comes easy. Because of the time it takes to see a project from concept to sellout, it can take decades to build experience across multiple markets and through different market conditions.

What do clients need to know before they begin a real estate transaction?

If you are buying in new development it’s important to know that the negotiation process with the developer isn’t personal in the same way that a resale transaction might be. There’s no “appealing” to a developer, no nice note that can be written. It’s just business, it’s very simple: Put your best foot forward.

Just because you’ve heard the market has softened doesn’t mean you should expect developers to offer concessions. There’s not a lot of great product out there and there’s always demand for the best.

What is the one thing everyone should be doing to make their life and business better?

Find people you can learn from but also have fun with. Life shouldn’t be all work. Work shouldn’t even be all work.

Do you want to be featured on an upcoming “Lesson Learned” column? Reach out to us here.

Christy Murdock is a freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. Connect with Writing Real Estate on Instagram and subscribe to the weekly roundup, The Ketchup.

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