What Do Co-Op Boards Want?

Co-op boards want exactly what you want in your new home: good neighbors who meet their financial obligations to the co-op.

Passing the Board. A co-op board’s responsibility is to do what benefits the co-op, and it has the right to turn down a potential buyer without giving a reason. Remember that a prospective buyer’s qualifications as a “good neighbor” and a “financially responsible person” are subjective.

Expert Guidance. One of The McIntosh Company’s principal strengths is our ability to help you avoid pitfalls in a potentially tricky process. All of our brokers have many years’ experience with boards and applications and are prepared to help make your application as appealing to a board as possible.

The Process

Every co-op board has a mandate from the building’s shareholders to keep the building functioning smoothly.

  • Application to Purchase an Apartment. Among a co-op board’s most critical responsibilities is to screen applications, commonly known as “board packages.”
  • Questionnaire. You will be required to complete a personal questionnaire including information on family members, employers and education, pets (type and number), musical instruments that might be played on the premises, and so on.
  • Financial Statement. You will be required to submit a basic financial statement (assets and liabilities, income, and expenses), along with letters of reference (professional, personal, bank, landlord) and proof of all financial representations (bank and brokerage statements, leases, sales contracts, etc.).
  • Interview. Expect the co-op board to ask you to attend an interview with an admissions committee (or, in some buildings, the entire board). In many cases, the mere scheduling of an interview is a sign that the committee is satisfied with the paperwork you have submitted and your financial ability to buy.


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Home Businesses. Co-ops take a dim view of home businesses that might put a strain on the building’s resources. Most will not permit a business with several employees or numerous daily visitors. But most co-op boards are reasonable. A free-lance writer who occasionally receives a messenger is usually acceptable to any responsible board; a therapist or voice teacher with a steady stream of visitors will be subject to closer scrutiny.
  • Musicians. Many co-ops routinely reject applications from professional musicians who do not have studios outside their homes. If you are amateur musicians, stress that you will take precautions (carpets on floors, sound-proofing on walls, keeping windows closed while playing) to avoid bothering your neighbors. (Tuba players and drummers, take note!) It’s not that your typical New York co-op board dislikes music or musicians. It’s that it’s far easier to reject an applicant at the outset than to grapple with a noise problem after a shareholder moves in.
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