Getting Approved Surviving the Interview Process

It has been compared to a trip to the dentist and a police interrogation. The very mention of it makes potential buyers' knees tremble and sets brokers' eyes rolling heavenward. What could strike such apprehension in even the most jaded New Yorker? Passing board approval, of course.

An interview with the co-op's admissions committee is the final step before a buyer is accepted. At such times, when hopes are set high and the tension mounts, a slip of the tongue or an unwanted appearance by a furry friend especially when the committee is told you have no pets might all spell disaster for co-op hopefuls. In any event, the best way to not slip up and get turned down is to know what's expected and how to prepare for the crucial interview.

The Interview

The interview committee is usually made up of three board members, although there is nothing to hold a shareholder back from volunteering to join the committee. Generally, the managing agent will handle the calls and contact the prospective resident personally to set a time, says Marcia Taranto, president of Taranto & Associates, a management firm. This is to prevent any confrontations between future neighbors, says Steven Greenbaum, a principal with the management firm Mark Greenburg Real Estate (MGRE). If the buyer wants to yell at anybody, they can yell at me and not the board about the time of the interview, he says.

Interviews last anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and are conducted in either the board's meeting room or, more often, in a board member's apartment. You want to keep the interviews informal and on a friendly basis, explains Greenbaum. The interview's main purpose is to see if the applicant will make a good neighbor and not be anyone disruptive, he says.

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2 Comments

  • I found this piece extremely helpful. I have a board interview coming up and this was the only site I found that gave specific info about the questions during the interview.
  • In reference to the article: Surviving the Apartment Search, the board should select prospective shareholder tenants the same way employers select prospective employees into the organization. Certain jobs and task must be explained plus designated to the prospect as to involve them. This is a lot different from rentals where a leasing agent just simply lease the unit to the prospective rental tenant without explaining the job or task they must do in the building order to stay in their apartment. If a board wants a new shareholder tenant, they must address what they want or need from the prospect for compatibility. Also, they must look for ways to approve the prospect rather disapproving them to meet the demand for more shareholder tenants, or better ones, and it includes teaching them as well. It's is very similar to an employer who has a situation that requires more employees and must find ways to approve prospects to reduce the burden. Managing a co-op begins with the board and the board should always keep an open mind when dealing with prospects especially those rent stabilized or rent controlled tenants who are already in their building since before and after the conversion.