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It was my first time buying an apartment--a one-bedroom co-op in an elevator building--and I didn’t know what to expect at the board interview.
I had heard a lot of different things and was told I could be rejected for any reason. However, my realtor told me that this was an easy board and that I didn’t need to worry.
She told me that they wouldn’t be talking to me if they weren’t already relatively comfortable with my financials and that did give me some relief.
I was told to dress up so I wore my suit, and they held it outside on the roof deck on a pretty hot day. They were all casually dressed and I was in a suit all sweaty. I was a little anxious when it started, like a job interview before you know what to expect.
One of the board members lived below my apartment and one lived above it. So basically, all the interview questions turned out to be some variation of, “How much noise do you make?”
What do you do for fun?
What kind of music do you listen to?
Do you have pets?
It was kind of like how I imagine a roommate audition for an episode of the Real World would be.
It turned out that the previous owner had a dog that never stopped barking, and she stepped on the floorboards loudly and that kind of thing.
So to the pet question I answered, "No, I’m not really a pet person—I never grew up with pets and I’m not going to get into your cat and dog arguments. The truth is I travel a lot and the idea of a plant to me is already way too much of a commitment.”
As for what I do for fun, I said, honestly, that I spend my day at work talking to people and explaining things so when I go home, I just want to shut down and watch tv.
As far as music, I deal with music all day at work and the last thing I want to do when I come home is play music.
They asked me whether I would have people over. I said yes sometimes but I tend to hang out one-on-one, not in large group gatherings. One of the board members lived below the roof garden, so she was concerned that I was clear on the rules for the roof deck, like the fact that it closes at nine.
I felt like me being a gay man was a non-issue, the same way I felt like being Asian was a non-issue. I had deliberately looked in what I felt like were gay-friendly neighborhoods, and this apartment was in the Columbus Circle/Upper Hell’s Kitchen area, and a lot of the building's residents worked in creative jobs.
The interview was surprisingly quick: It was all over in 11 minutes. It ended with a mysterious, “You’ll hear back from us through your realtor in a couple of days.”
I didn’t really feel that worried. It was in the middle of last summer, still in a relatively bad market, after the apartment had been on the market for about 8-12 months with a substantial price drop. I figured if it didn’t work out I would get my money back and go looking for something else.
But it didn't come to that: A few days after the interview, my realtor told me that the apartment was mine.
See all "My Big Fat Board Interview".