By Dan Orlando
Shelley Lindauer understands how to make it in real estate, because she understood how to make it in philanthropy.
In both, it’s about identifying needs and then matching them.
“I had million dollar donors at the organization that I was at and fundraising was a big piece of my portfolio.
“Fundraising and real estate sales are very, very similar,” Lindauer said.
The New York native entered the business after a lengthy career as the executive director for Women of Reform Judiasm.
During her tenure, Lindauer doubled endowment funds at the organization before being intrigued by the potential of a new career.
“When I decided that I had had enough of that corporate life, I decided that real estate was the place I needed to be,” Lindauer said.
“Even before I was executive director of WRJ, I was a CPA, so I really understood all the business aspects of real estate and I didn’t have to start out learning that piece of the business.”
It didn’t take long for her to find a home at Keller Williams NYC.
“Eric Barron [KWNYC chief executive] had come to the school that I was taking a course in and he was so dynamic and encouraging that I decided that his was the firm that I wanted to begin with,” Lindauer told Brokers Weekly.
“I love the culture here,” she said. “It’s a very communal type of organization. Even as a new agent, you had so many resources and people that you could go to.”
Using those resources, Lindauer dived head first into the more desirable neighborhoods and properties of Manhattan.
“I worked with an older client who was moving from New Jersey to Manhattan because she wanted to be closer to her child and her grandchild,” Lindauer said. “She had never lived in Manhattan.”
This particular client was nervous about downsizing, let alone adjusting to a whole new type of residential environment, but with Lindauer’s attention to detail and guidance, the entire transition was made much easier.
When asked what made that experience so rewarding, Lindauer said that she was grateful for the opportunity to make her client feel “comfortable” and at home. She was able to match her needs with the ideal city home.
“When your client gets the keys and you see that look of excitement and happiness on their face, it’s very satisfying,” she said.
Lindauer brought the same dedication to another client who proved to have unique needs that the current market was not equipped to accommodate.
“The most memorable apartment was the one that I found for my buyer in Brazil,” said Lindauer.
That buyer was relocating to Manhattan and had a very specific vision of her future home that included a large, open backyard.
With no suitable properties on the market, Lindauer canvassed the area, cold-calling the owners of properties that matched the buyer’s criteria and eventually convinced someone to move.
Just like in fundraising, Lindauer whittled down being a broker to a basic tenent. Match your client’s needs with the right property.
But while charitable work may have molded her, there isn’t much charity in the world of Manhattan real estate.
“No matter how appealing some of the boroughs seem, there are always going to be people who want to live in Manhattan,” said Lindauer when asked if prices would ever need to simmer due to the popularity of peripheral neighborhoods.
As far as the near future is concerned, she sees them staying high. That doesn’t mean change isn’t on the horizon.
“I’m just such a Manhattan-centric person. I do keep my eyes on the rest of the boroughs,” she said.
“I think Astoria Cove [in Queens] is very interesting, but I don’t know how much luxury building there’s going to be.”
As for her stomping grounds, Manhattan’s evolving commercial hot spots will certainly shake up the residential market.
“I think that the area around Hudson Yards, Hell’s Kitchen, those areas are really going to appreciate when Hudson Yards are up and in business, so to speak,” Lindauer said. “I think the biggest increase is going to be around Midtown West.”
Though she deals in upper tier properties, Lindauer is certainly aware of the current push for an increased supply of affordable housing on the island.
While she understands that investors need to think in terms of profit, Lindauer agrees with Mayor de Blasio on the issue and views his efforts as “reasonable.”
“Developers are business men and they need to make money, clearly. There has to be fine line between what’s going to encourage developers to build and how we’re going to accommodate people who can’t afford to pay market rates,” she said.
Lindauer, who describes herself as having “the patience of Mother Theresa,” is eager to continue meeting the demands of those seeking homes in Manhattan.
As the market continues to shift, her patience and dedication will likely come in handy.