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I am from France and still own an apartment there where I am on the board. I lived in New York for eight years as a renter before looking for an apartment to buy early this year.
It took four months to find a one-bedroom I liked enough, a prewar co-op below W. 30th Street near Lexington Avenue.
I didn't know that co-op boards are said to be biased against foreigners.
I only knew that the apartment wasn't like most of the modern, shoebox ones I saw where you cannot even walk around with your bed in the room.
The building was about 40 units, no doorman. It’s very well maintained and very beautiful inside. My broker said the board was a good board, and that they wanted people who like the authenticity of the building, who wouldn’t want to transform it into drugstore architecture or something like that.
It took two months to go through the application process, which is more strict than in France. They wanted more and more paperwork. It was exhausting, with too many questions.
Finally it was time for an interview.
My broker prepared me a bit. He said not to frighten them by tearing everything down, that I should just to wait for them to ask questions. To let them see me.
The interview took place in the Starbucks next to the building with three women from the board. I wasn’t nervous. I felt fairly confident because I had gotten this far.
They asked me if I was intending to do work on the apartment and I said I might, but not before living there for six months to a year, because the apartment is very well built and the planning is very good. So if I do work, it would be very little. I like what’s there.
They were interested also to know how my building is run in Paris. They said it’s good to have the experience of how somebody in another country solves problems. They understood that I have experience managing a building and that I was really interested in it and that this wasn’t the first time I was buying something. They even asked to see the statement of expenses of my building in Paris, and they each spoke French a bit with me.
Eventually they each gave me their copies of my application folder and said welcome to the building. I was happy because I thought I could get along very well with them, and I could see that the people on the board liked the building--and because it was the end of all this.
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