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How to Buy

A New York City Apartment

As mentioned previously, the good news about the co-op board interview is that the vast majority of turndowns--based on a buyer's financial package--occur before an interview takes place. Attorneys have counseled their boards to do this in order to cut down on lawsuits alleging discrimination.

That means that most of the time, if you’ve gotten to the interview, the apartment is yours to lose—something will need to go very awry in the interview.

That said, here are some tips:

  • Don’t answer any questions you’re not asked; give lots of “yes” and “no” answers, resisting the urge to elaborate or sell yourself.
  • Have a copy of your application with you and be familiar enough with it to quickly and concisely answer questions about it without looking (shuffling through papers gives a bad impression).
  • Arrive on time and dress professionally.
  • Couples should decide in advance who will answer certain types of questions (for example, one spouse answers all the financial questions, and the other handles the rest).
  • Don’t ask questions, as they can unintentionally convey negative feelings or intentions such as, “Do you intend to renovate the lobby?” Plus, all your questions should be answered by now as you’ve already agreed to buy the place.

Short, cordial interviews are generally a good sign. You won’t find out whether you’re approved until later though, usually within a few days.