You’ve found the perfect New York City co-op, your board package passed the preliminary application process — and now, you’re about to meet the board for an interview.
In addition to simple questions about pets, children (or whether you will have them) and if you plan on using the apartment as a home office, there may be some curve balls. We’ve put together a list of tips on how to prepare for a co-op board interview and land a coveted NYC co-op.
1. Don’t worry. You’ve already passed the most important of the process. An invitation for an interview means that the co-op board has already conditionally approved your board package based on your qualifications and financials. The interview is simply a chance for the board to meet you in person and verify details on your application.
2. Dress for an interview and arrive on time. It’s a professional meeting, so treat it like one. Wear business casual attire and aim to be at least 15 minutes early. Remember that being slightly over-dressed is always better than being under-dressed.
3. Clean up your digital footprint — and your kids’, too. Expect board members to Google you and look at your social media feeds. In New York City especially, they may check your kids’ Facebook pages according to BrickUnderground. Make sure that there aren’t any obvious red flags.
4. Know the details of your purchase application inside and out. Be prepared to quickly and succinctly answer detailed questions about your application, including your finances. Bring a copy of the application for yourself as well.
5. Determine who will answer which questions in advance. Couples should decide who will answer different types of questions and what the answer will be ahead of time. Maybe you will answer questions about finances and your partner will answer questions on lifestyle and family? It’s up to you, but you want to prepare before going in front of the board.
6. Expect the board to ask personal, probing questions. Questions about why you’re downsizing, your political beliefs, what you do in your spare time and further questions about your finances are all up for grabs. Be calm and keep your answers simple. You don’t want to argue with the board!
7. Be kind, but not over-the-top. You don’t have to sell yourself to the board, as you have already been conditionally approved based on your purchase application. Let the board interview you, and simply answer the questions they ask. The board won’t deny an applicant because the interview was too boring.
8. Be positive about the co-op. You want to show the board that you’re willing to be an active member in their community. If they ask about serving on the board, give a neutral answer like “If the board thought I would be a valuable asset, I would be open to discussing it.”
9. Don’t extend the conversation. The board already knows lots of information about you from your board package, so don’t tell them anything beyond what they ask. You never know: an innocuous comment might turn a board member the wrong way — and you don’t want them to think you will be difficult.
10. Save your questions for later. You want to come off as a low-maintenance shareholder. Hold your questions about renovating the apartment or seemingly innocent small talk like Local Law 11 work on the building’s façade. You’ll have lots of time to learn more about the co-op’s rules and culture once you’re accepted. If the board asks whether you have questions, thank them and tell them that they’ve covered everything you wanted to know.