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How to Buy

A New York City Apartment

STEP 9: Getting Approved by the Building

Reasons you might be rejected by a co-op before you ever reach the interview

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The vast majority of rejections occur before the co-op board interview, based solely on your application.  As one Manhattan property manager shared with the NY Times, out of 350 transactions in buildings managed by his company, 20 buyers were turned down before the interview, and only 1 afterward.

Co-op boards do not have to explain why they rejected you. So although, legally, they must abide by Fair Housing Laws and not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, family status, etc., the fact is that anything can and probably does happen behind closed doors and sealed lips.

Here’s a brief tour of the possible, not always obvious reasons (most legal, some not) for rejection based on your application:

  • The size, breed, temperament, etc., of your dog.
  • The board suspects you plan to use the apartment as a pied a terre rather than your primary residence.
  • You are buying the place for your grown kids.
  • You need a guarantor to afford the apartment.
  • You won’t have enough cash left over after buying the apartment to meet “liquid reserve” requirements, which can range from $25,000 all the way up to 1x to 3x the purchase price of the apartment.
  • You don’t have a strong enough presence in the United States (where will they sue and collect money if you default on the maintenance).
  • You are a musician (noisy), record producer (like to party), or attorney (litigious).
  • You are an at-home music teacher (noise + lots of visitors) or operate some other objectionable home-based business.
  • You have a history of being litigious and/or suing a former neighbor, board or landlord.
  • You posted stupid pictures of yourself on Facebook that suggest your lifestyle is not an ideal fit.
  • You are paying too little for the apartment (it will drag down property values for the whole building).
  • There are discrepancies in your financial package that have not been adequately explained.
  • Your income relies too much on discretionary bonuses or on commissions.
  • You haven’t been at your current job long enough.