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How to Navigate the Co-op Board Interview

The Art of the Interview

You’ve heard of it.  The New York City co-op board interview.  It sounds scary right?  Well…it can be but with the right preparation and strategy, it can be a breeze (or as close as possible…it’s good to think positive, right?) 

 

As you know, when you purchase in a co-op you are buying shares of a corporation and given a propriety lease.  So the interview is the screening process to see if the board wants you to join their corporation because once you are in, then YOU ARE IN! 

 

Depending on the co-op board it could range from light small talk and chit chat with a few board members while they causally interview you or you may be in the hot seat for an hour or more going over all the financial details in your board package.   Sometimes they take place in the common space in the building or a board members apartment but nowadays in 2022 they are typically on Zoom given the pandemic. 

 

So, what should you do now that you have been invited by the board for an interview?  First take a deep breath and then review the following:

 

  • Do NOT ask questions. They are interviewing you, not the other way around.  There will be a time once you have passed where you can ask every single question from when they will add a gym to questions about the alteration agreement but now is NOT the time.  It may be hard to do especially if the conversation turns causal but just wait it out until after you pass the board.
  • BE professional. This is an interview after all.  So, dress professionally (even on Zoom) and act professionally.  It’s way better to be super boring and conservative then flashy with a ton of personality.  Save it when you invite your new neighbors over for a housewarming!  (After the pandemic)
  • Come PREPARED. You should know your board package backwards and forwards and be prepared to discuss everything you presented to the board.  It can be little uncomfortable to discuss personal finances, but it is part of the process. 
  • RELAX and take another deep breath! It can be A LOT and you have probably jumped through a ton of hoops to get to the interview point so do your best to remain calm and take guidance from your broker.

Also note that board turn downs are typically for financial reasons, although there have been some high-profile lawsuits surrounding violations of fair housing laws for board turn downs.  Unfortunately, co-ops do not have to disclose the reason for turndown (yet) so best to take advice from your attorney and/or broker should this happen.  Rarely, the board can change their mind and reverse a turndown. 

 

Check out this link to a full list of pearls of wisdom to review before your interview. 

 

Also…GOOD LUCK! 😀

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