May 1, 2007

10 Tips To Help a Buyer Pass The Board Interview.


Being invited to the interview is a good sign. The interview is the board's opportunity to meet you and ask specific questions about your application. The style of the interview can range from an informal gathering of board members in an apartment to a formal interview with board members lined up at a table with you in the hot seat.
  1. Dress-up and be prompt. In terms of dress and promptness, see tip 6 below, a board interview should be treated no differently than a professional job interview. Dress conservatively. A building in Greenwich Village will be more casual than the Upper East side.
  2. Prepare for a lack of privacy. The board has great latitude in the kinds of questions it can ask, be prepared for this and do not avoid answers to personal questions, or be angered by this intrusion.
  3. Know your Application. You should be able to quickly and concisely answer any questions asked regarding your application, preferably without having to look at your application. However, if necessary, bring a copy along.
  4. Couples should decide in advance who would answer what types of questions. For example, you may agree to answer all financial questions and your spouse will answer all other questions. Avoid discussing answers to questions with your spouse in front of the board.
  5. Unlike a job interview, do not try to sell yourself. Only answer questions asked and let the board run the show. Boards rarely turn down applicants for being too boring.
  6. Never volunteer information or engage in unsolicited conversations except for basic cordial remarks and greetings.
  7. Do Not ask Questions! Questions can often unintentionnally convey negative information to the board. For Example: "Do you have any plans to renovate the lobby?" This kind of seemingly innocent question likely to offend the board member who was in charge of the last lobby renovation. If you have additional questions you can direct them to your real estate broker.
  8. Minimize discussion of renovation. Most boards will cooperate with a shareholder but may be reluctant to approve a prospective purchaser if they think their renovations will be too disruptive, noisy or too costly.
  9. A short interview is better than a long one. While there are no hard and fast rules a short cordial interview with a few board questions and remarks is often the best co-op board interview. Do not expect an answer at the end of the meeting. Most boards do not give their decision until a day or two after the meeting.

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