Buying into a cooperative isn’t as simple as buying a condo unit. Sure, it may be cheaper than buying a condo but the fact that you will have to go through a daunting application process and a board interview in conjunction to meeting your financing obligations can cause you to lose some hairs!
Hopefully, with the guidance of your Realtor, you have done everything right with the application and you have been scheduled for the board interview. If you are still feeling a little nervous about it, try not to. Getting the interview scheduled is a major step forward! I just advise that you should be as prepared as possible.
To help you with your interview, here are 6 quick tips on passing the board interview.
Like I said before, try not to be nervous! Why? Because receiving a interview invitation from the board is a good thing. It means that they liked what they saw in your application and they want to meet you personally.
All the interview is, is a one-on-one with the board giving them an opportunity to meet you and discuss your application in greater detail, to clarify any questions that they have, and to see if you are indeed a great fit for their community. The interview style can range from an informal gathering to having board members lined up at a table with you in the hot seat.
So here is what you should expect and prepare for:
DRESS TO IMPRESS AND DON’T BE LATE!
Just like how you would go to a job interview, dress in business attire! I have seen some individuals dress like they are going to hang out, wearing some jeans and a graphic tee, at an interview. That is a no-no! Even though there is a saying to “Never judge a book by its cover” this does not apply to a board interview. Sorry but ditch the jeans this time! Also, this is very important, get there early! Being prompt and dressing appropriately sets the interview tone in the right direction and that is what you want, right? Here are some ideas:
BE ONE WITH YOUR APPLICATION
You shouldn’t even have to look at your application when you are at your interview, you should know exactly what you had put in it. You should be able to quickly and accurately answer any questions regarding it when asked. Your Realtor should send over the completed copy to you, for you to look over so that you will be able to easily recollect everything that you had put in it after looking it over a few times.
DON’T BE SALES-Y
Don’t try to sell yourself like you would in a job interview. Don’t try to convince them that you are an amazing pick and why you would be a great value to the cooperative, or how quiet and clean you are. Or how friendly and neighborly you are. Only answer the questions that you are asked and let the board members take the lead.
BE PREPARED TO BECOME AN OPEN BOOK
Yes, I am here to tell you that you may end up feeling a bit uncomfortable. Mentally prepare yourself for the possibility of a lack of privacy. If you are truly uncomfortable with letting them know about you and those who will be living with you or your financial history, then cooperative life isn’t for you!
It’s not for everyone so don’t worry about it.
But if you can deal with it, don’t let it get to you. The board has a huge range in the kinds of questions they can and may ask. Do not feel upset by this or feel that it is an intrusion. Don’t take it personally! They are trying to see if you’re a great fit into their community.
KEEP IT BASIC!
Just like not being sales-y, never engage in unsolicited conversations or volunteer extra information. Oh, that funny holiday story that happened to you last year that you have told everyone in your personal life about? Keep it to yourself. Just stick to basic cordial remarks and greetings.
Do not ask questions that can come off as negative to the board. Questions like “Do you have any plans to renovate the lobby?” or “Will you be having a doorman soon?” could potentially offend a member who was in charge of the last renovation or hiring employees. If you have any questions or concerns like this, ask your Realtor or attorney, never the board (at least never prior to getting approved of course!).
TAG TEAM IT!
Just like in wrestling, work together as a team. Couples and families who are purchasing together, should decide ahead of time who will answer what type of questions. For example, you may agree to answer only financial questions and your partner will respond to all others. Avoid discussing your responses in front of the board.
What to expect after the interview?
I would say, do not expect an immediate answer. Most boards takes a day or two to come to a consensus. Some boards take even longer. Your Realtor and your attorney will confirm if you have been approved. It’s all about preparation and making sure everything you say correlate to what you have in your application.
Also, there are times when the board will say no. If that does happen, ask if they will allow a second interview or if they would share the reasons why it didn’t work out. Although they do not have to, they may oblige.
Have something to add? Please feel free to leave a comment. Any questions? Just contact me, I’d love to help point you in the right direction.