In order to purchase a co-op apartment in New York City, you must submit a complete purchase application (otherwise referred to as the “board package”) to the building’s board of directors and hope to be called in for an interview. Depending on the building’s application requirements, this package can include such items as: one to three years of tax returns; one to three months of all bank, brokerage and retirement statements; personal and professional letters of reference; landlord letter of reference; etc…. Remember that the organization and presentation of the purchase application is your chance to make a good first impression.
Here are 5 preparation tips that may help guide you towards getting that interview!
1) Include an “Introduction Letter to the Board”
Start your application off by letting the board know a bit about you. Add a cover letter that expresses your gratitude for the opportunity to purchase in the building. Briefly explain why you love the apartment, the neighborhood and the building, and give the board a short summary on your employment history and financial background. Always compliment the building where you can!
Request a sample “Introduction Letter to the Board”.
2) Create a “Table of Contents” and category dividers
A Table of Contents is always helpful. First, it allows both management and the board to be assured that all of the requested application materials are in the package. It also makes your application much easier to navigate. Go the extra mile and include colored category dividers.
3) TYPE the board package!
Nobody wants to read an application and attempt to decipher illegible handwriting. If you make board members work harder than they need to in figuring out your financial information, well….that’s not a good start. Take the time to type the package in its entirety. Presentation counts!
4) Use current bank statements only.
Save yourself from being asked for more financial materials by including the most recent month’s statements in your board package. If you’re on the cusp of a mere couple days cross over when you submit the application, don’t stress about it. If you are submitting financial documents from 2 months ago – think again. Say your current account balance happens to be higher than what is reflected on your most recent month’s statement; ask a teller at your bank for a reference letter that shows your current totals. Include the bank reference letter WITH the most recent statement so the board can view the larger, up to date balance.
5) Include a resume.
If you are a first-time buyer without long-term employment history, it may help to include a resume with your application. Your resume should hopefully demonstrate a bit of history in your field and show how your career growth thus far. If you don’t have much to include in this regard, it may then be best to leave your resume out.
6) Spend time on your reference letters.
Your reference letters are among the most important documents in the board package. They allow the board to get to know you a bit and how you might fare as a neighbor. Be sure that these letters are addressed properly and contain substantial content – three to four paragraphs is a good gauge. Make sure your references include phone numbers just in case the board chooses to contact them.
Request sample reference letters.
Putting together a board package is no simple feat. Take the time to assemble the required materials and always go back and double check your math! Simple mistakes can cost you an interview……..and thus, a purchase.
Licensed Real Estate SalespersonRutenberg Realty
Brad Malow has over 11 years of experience with successful co-op purchases. Need assistance with your apartment search?
Photo credit: Christian Schnettelker - http://www.manoftaste.de