What Buyers Need to Know About the Co-op Interview Process

Author: Bruce Feffer|May 3, 2022

Buying into a housing cooperative (or co-op) is different than buying a house or condominium. One of the major differences is that buyers need to be approved by the co-op board.
What Buyers Need to Know About the Co-op Interview Process

What Buyers Need to Know About the Co-op Interview Process

Buying into a housing cooperative (or co-op) is different than buying a house or condominium. One of the major differences is that buyers need to be approved by the co-op board.

Buying into a housing cooperative (or co-op) is different than buying a house or condominium. One of the major differences is that buyers need to be approved by the co-op board. The vetting process generally requires buyers to complete an application containing their personal and financial information, and to be interviewed by the co-op board.

NYC Co-Op Board Interviews

The interview process provides board members with an opportunity to get to know their prospective neighbor and determine if he or she will be a good fit with the community. The board will also want to be assured that its new neighbor will be able to responsibly and timely pay monthly maintenance and other co-op costs. In most cases, the questions will address both your financial and professional history, as well as your personal life.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, board members will be looking more closely at a prospective buyer’s financials. They may also ask questions regarding whether you like your current job, your level of job security, or your ability to make your required payments should you lose or quit your job.

From a personal perspective, board members often want to know if you have pets, what your hobbies are, and how often you like to entertain guests.   While it may seem intrusive, whether you smoke, consume cannabis, or drink alcohol is also fair game. Board members often like neighbors who are willing to volunteer and support the co-op as needed, including serving on the board or committees. Special talents or skills are a plus.

Board members may also ask what attracted you to the building or the neighborhood. Another common question is whether you plan to perform any renovations to the unit.  A willingness to mitigate noise, follow the building rules and be considerate of neighbors is always appreciated.

Preparing to Ace Your Co-op Interview

Before the interview, it is advisable to review your co-op application again to ensure that you are familiar with the information you have provided. If there are any inconsistencies, be prepared to address them. It can also be helpful to conduct an online search of your name before the interview to see what it reveals. Also, check your social media accounts to see what can be viewed publicly and, if necessary, adjust your privacy settings. If there is anything unflattering posted online, it is imperative to have a reasonable explanation.

While it is important to answer the board’s questions honestly, keep your answers simple and straightforward. While such questions are permissible by board members, do your best to steer clear of politics and other sensitive topics. It is also important to understand that some topics are legally off-limits under anti-discrimination laws, such as the Fair Housing Act. Examples include your race, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, and citizenship. The board may not base its decision on any illegal grounds. If you suspect discrimination, there are multiple state and federal agencies available to assist, and a qualified lawyer can help you navigate the process of filing a complaint.

Given that many questions may relate to your finances, it can be helpful to have essential documents, such as bank statements, loan documents, and investment records, readily accessible in case you need to reference them. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it is ok to say that you need to talk to your accountant, attorney, etc., and will get back to the board as soon as possible.

It's Okay to Ask Questions

Interviews can go both ways and you should feel free to ask questions about how the co-op operates, whether there have been any problems in the building (noise, bed bugs, etc.) or other relevant inquiry.

Be Prepared to “Meet” Online

Interviews are increasingly conducted virtually (both in response to COVID-19 and for the general convenience of the parties), so it is important to prepare for that aspect as well. For instance, find somewhere quiet to conduct the interview and make sure that your background is clean and uncluttered. It is also a good idea to make sure you understand how to use the technology before it’s time to log on. Just like an in-person interview, it is important to make a good impression. Business attire is recommended, even if the board members dress casually.

Key Takeaway

The interview process is often the last hurdle in the co-op application process. In many cases, board members just want to “meet” you, whether virtually or face-to-face, and answer any lingering questions they may still have. Being prepared and polite will go a long way and can help you seal the deal.

If you have questions, please contact us

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Bruce Feffer, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work, at 201-896-4100.


  • Share:

AboutBruce Feffer

Based in New York City, Mr. Feffer has 30+ years of experience representing numerous clients in buying, selling, financing and leasing all types of properties, including condominiums, houses, factories, warehouses, retail space and office buildings.Full Biography

Get In Touch

* The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Share this article


Get the latest from our attorneys!

Please fill out our short form to get the latest articles from the Scarinci Hollenbeckattorneys weekly on the cutting-edge legal topics.

What Buyers Need to Know About the Co-op Interview Process

What Buyers Need to Know About the Co-op Interview Process
Author: Bruce Feffer

Buying into a housing cooperative (or co-op) is different than buying a house or condominium. One of the major differences is that buyers need to be approved by the co-op board. The vetting process generally requires buyers to complete an application containing their personal and financial information, and to be interviewed by the co-op board.

NYC Co-Op Board Interviews

The interview process provides board members with an opportunity to get to know their prospective neighbor and determine if he or she will be a good fit with the community. The board will also want to be assured that its new neighbor will be able to responsibly and timely pay monthly maintenance and other co-op costs. In most cases, the questions will address both your financial and professional history, as well as your personal life.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, board members will be looking more closely at a prospective buyer’s financials. They may also ask questions regarding whether you like your current job, your level of job security, or your ability to make your required payments should you lose or quit your job.

From a personal perspective, board members often want to know if you have pets, what your hobbies are, and how often you like to entertain guests.   While it may seem intrusive, whether you smoke, consume cannabis, or drink alcohol is also fair game. Board members often like neighbors who are willing to volunteer and support the co-op as needed, including serving on the board or committees. Special talents or skills are a plus.

Board members may also ask what attracted you to the building or the neighborhood. Another common question is whether you plan to perform any renovations to the unit.  A willingness to mitigate noise, follow the building rules and be considerate of neighbors is always appreciated.

Preparing to Ace Your Co-op Interview

Before the interview, it is advisable to review your co-op application again to ensure that you are familiar with the information you have provided. If there are any inconsistencies, be prepared to address them. It can also be helpful to conduct an online search of your name before the interview to see what it reveals. Also, check your social media accounts to see what can be viewed publicly and, if necessary, adjust your privacy settings. If there is anything unflattering posted online, it is imperative to have a reasonable explanation.

While it is important to answer the board’s questions honestly, keep your answers simple and straightforward. While such questions are permissible by board members, do your best to steer clear of politics and other sensitive topics. It is also important to understand that some topics are legally off-limits under anti-discrimination laws, such as the Fair Housing Act. Examples include your race, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, and citizenship. The board may not base its decision on any illegal grounds. If you suspect discrimination, there are multiple state and federal agencies available to assist, and a qualified lawyer can help you navigate the process of filing a complaint.

Given that many questions may relate to your finances, it can be helpful to have essential documents, such as bank statements, loan documents, and investment records, readily accessible in case you need to reference them. If you don’t know the answer to a question, it is ok to say that you need to talk to your accountant, attorney, etc., and will get back to the board as soon as possible.

It's Okay to Ask Questions

Interviews can go both ways and you should feel free to ask questions about how the co-op operates, whether there have been any problems in the building (noise, bed bugs, etc.) or other relevant inquiry.

Be Prepared to “Meet” Online

Interviews are increasingly conducted virtually (both in response to COVID-19 and for the general convenience of the parties), so it is important to prepare for that aspect as well. For instance, find somewhere quiet to conduct the interview and make sure that your background is clean and uncluttered. It is also a good idea to make sure you understand how to use the technology before it’s time to log on. Just like an in-person interview, it is important to make a good impression. Business attire is recommended, even if the board members dress casually.

Key Takeaway

The interview process is often the last hurdle in the co-op application process. In many cases, board members just want to “meet” you, whether virtually or face-to-face, and answer any lingering questions they may still have. Being prepared and polite will go a long way and can help you seal the deal.

If you have questions, please contact us

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Bruce Feffer, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work, at 201-896-4100.