So, you’ve got a signed contract and have meticulously presented your personal and financial history to the co-op board in the form of your application. The next step can be incredibly nerve-wracking (though it doesn’t have to be) – the co-op board interview.
As expert NYC real estate agents, we’ve had countless clients go through the board interview process and have put together a few tips that can make the experience a bit easier. With these co-op board interview tips, you’ll be fully prepared to ace the co-op board interview and move into your new home in no time.
|Co-op Board Interview DO’S||Co-op Board Interview DON’TS|
|Sanitize your social media presence||Come unprepared|
|Dress for success||Be surprised if they ask for a pet interview|
|Do your research||Ask questions|
|Plan out who will answer what questions||Volunteer information without being prompted|
|Be on time||Boast or sell yourself|
|Stay present||Talk too much|
|Be yourself||Mention renovations|
|Thank the board||Expect an answer at the end of the interview|
How to Pass Your Co-Op Board Interview
What is a co-op board interview?
The co-op board interview is the final step in obtaining approval from the co-op board to purchase an apartment in that building.
Co-op board interviews are key to a successful closing on a cooperative apartment because the board wants to make sure you’re a good fit for the building. Their primary goal is to protect their building by assessing if you’re neighbor material or a bundle of red flags.
No two co-op board interviews are exactly alike. Some are formal conference room affairs and others are informal gatherings in one of the board member’s living rooms. Some provide the opportunity for the board to decide on your financial standing and personality, while others are scheduled to vet your personality following conditional approval of your financials.
For some sample co-op board interview questions, check out this article.
No matter the process or the setting, we’ve come up with a foolproof list of Do’s and Don’ts that will make your next co-op board interview a piece of cake.
During Your Co-op Board Interview, DO:
- Sanitize your social media presence – It’s almost a given that some (if not all) of the members of the co-op board will Google you before the board meeting. Which makes how you appear on social media and websites extremely important.
If you can, the easiest way to do so is to make your profiles private on every platform. If you can’t, manually review public posts, comments, and tagged photos or videos. Delete, privatize, edit, or untag yourself from anything offensive or polarizing on hot-button issues.
- Dress for success – Regardless of how formal the interview is (or isn’t), you should present yourself carefully. Choose business casual attire. This dress code hits the sweet spot between looking like you care too much or like you don’t care enough. The board may not be in the same attire or be much more casually dressed than you are, but they’re already ‘in the club’. You still have to earn your spot.
- Do your research – Ask your broker for insight into the co-op board members. If they’ve transacted on an apartment in that building before, they may be able to provide you with useful information. Be very careful with this step, because it could be easy to be too familiar with the board and appear creepy.
- Plan out who will answer what questions – If you are purchasing the home with a partner or spouse, decide ahead of time who will speak on certain topics or answer certain questions. This will help you avoid talking over one another and ensure both of you get to speak an appropriate amount. Additionally, it reduces the amount of prep you each have to do!
- Be on time – This one seems simple but it is absolutely key. Co-op board members are people with busy lives and schedules just like you. They’ve taken the time out of their day to be there to speak with you – don’t waste a second of it.
- Stay present – While it may be exciting to be meeting some of your potential new neighbors, try not to get caught up in the excitement. This is still an interview, not a social call. Even if you are clicking really well with some of the board members, stay focused on the task at hand. Keep your professional and polite demeanor up (at least until the interview is over and you close on your apartment).
- Be yourself – Co-op board interviews usually last 20-30 minutes, so they’re over before you know it. While we encourage you to keep your replies brief and on-topic, we also strongly encourage you to let your inner light shine! The co-op board wants to see who you are and what you’re about, so let them in a little. If you’re too nervous or closed off, it could impact the interview negatively.
- Thank the board – When the interview comes to an end, be sure to thank the co-op board members for their time. It’s the polite, professional, and considerate thing to do. Plus, it demonstrates courtesy and kindness- which are ideal neighborly qualities.
During Your Co-op Board Interview, DON’T:
- Come unprepared – While you don’t need to bring a copy of your application and financials to the interview, it is important to remind yourself of the contents of the package. It’s good to refresh your memory on the information contained in the personal and business reference letters you submitted, as the contents of these letters provide a more personal way to connect with you.
Also, be prepared to talk about your money and your personal life. While it is usually taboo to get into these topics with complete strangers, in a co-op board interview, both lend valuable insight into the kind of neighbor you are. The board members don’t need to know your full life history, but answering their questions openly goes a long way.
- Be surprised if they ask for a pet interview – If you are bringing a furry friend into the apartment building, many co-op boards will require a pet interview. This is especially important if there are other animals on your floor, to ensure everyone in the building still has some peace and quiet.
- Ask questions – Unlike a job interview, a co-op board interview is not an opportunity for you to determine if the building is a good fit for you. You’ve already done that, by making an offer and submitting an application to the board. This meeting is all about allowing them to get to know you and your partner or spouse, so it’s important to let them steer the conversation.
- Volunteer information – As a general rule, you want to answer the questions asked of you and nothing more. You’ve only got 20-30 minutes to make a good impression, so stay focused on what the co-op board members decide they need to know.
- Boast or sell yourself – Even if you are really proud of the massive commission you earned this year, don’t bring it up unprompted. If it does come up, perhaps in reference to your financials, stick to the facts of the situation. Being boastful isn’t a desirable trait to most people, so don’t exhibit it to the co-op board members if you can help it.
- Talk too much – As we mentioned earlier, co-op board members are busy New Yorkers, just like you. Show them that you respect them and their time by answering their questions concisely and getting to your point quickly. You don’t want to accidentally talk yourself out of an acceptance.
- Mention renovation plans – Definitely don’t get into your renovation plans for the apartment unprompted. If a board member asks you point blank, it’s important to minimize or speak vaguely about your plans – even if you know you’re going to gut the home to the studs. Renovations are a hassle for your neighbors as well as yourself, after all.
- Expect an answer at the end of the interview – While in some cases you may get a verbal acceptance at the end of the interview, that is absolutely not the norm. They’ll let you know whether you were accepted or rejected in writing via the managing agent of the building, usually the following business day after the interview takes place.
Armed with these Do’s and Don’ts of co-op board interviews, you should be all set to gain acceptance and move into your new home! We hope you love it. And if you are interested in buying or selling property in NYC – we’re your team. Reach out here for more info or to get started!