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 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.