Playing the Board Game Getting On Your Co-op or Condo Board

Getting on a condo or a co-op board requires a significant investment "“ both in time and sweat equity. As president of a Greenwich Village co-op board, I can attest firsthand to the labors involved. Rarely does a day pass when I don't receive a call from a shareholder who wants to ask a question, complain about a neighbor or discuss a pending issue. But to me, it's all worth it, for we board members are watching over and enhancing the values of our most important asset - our homes.

A co-op or condo board generally seeks someone whose occupational skills can benefit the board. These people can be real estate brokers, accountants, architects, construction engineers and business owners with good negotiating skills. But if you're simply a resident with good ideas, you usually can get on a board too - if you do your homework.

People usually want to join a co-op board for two main reasons:

  • They want their opinions heard
  • They want to add value to their building.

Although a board exercises firm control over budgetary matters, anyone can bring about improvements to their building. In fact, such action often proves the ticket to an eventual board seat.

When moving into a new building, you should wait at least one to two years before attempting to earn a seat on the board. In fact, most buildings maintain a one-year residency rule. But before you attempt to join the board, you can and should get to know your board members, house rules and the building's financial picture.

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