First Timers' Club: How to Help New Owners or Shareholders What Condos and Co-ops Can Do to Break in Newbies

It's helpful for a condo or co-op board to ease a first-time buyer into the fold (iStock).

In any real estate market, purchasing that first home is a daunting proposition; it's often the biggest investment of the buyer's life up to that point. And with today's high cost of urban living, it's exponentially more intimidating.

Just because a condo or co-op unit doesn't afford the sprawl of a suburban home doesn't mean that the purchase is a smaller feat. From saving the necessary funds, to a potentially rigorous application process, to figuring out how to engage with a community with its own rules and shorthand--there is no shortage of cause for anxiety.

Thus, it's helpful for a condo or co-op board to ease a first-time buyer into the fold from the minute that one emerges as a reasonable contender. The more welcomed and informed a buyer feels from jump, the more they may end up offering the community down the line.

Ground Rules

While spending a ton of money on something at least semi-permanent is certainly a source for consternation, there's only so much a board can do to assuage first-time buyers about their purchase. Where boards can help, however, is in navigating their incoming neighbors through the governing documents of the association.

“The best thing that a board can do is familiarize new owners with the offering plan, especially in regard to the house rules and bylaws,” says Alvin Wasserman of Fairfield Properties in Melville. “All too often, new owners are unfamiliar with the nuances of what they bought. Proactive education by the board will avert misunderstandings and potential problems down the line.”

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