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When it comes to New York City co-op boards, a good first impression—that is, a comprehensive board package—is critical to landing the apartment you plan to buy. Here, what most boards are looking for:
• Finances: A board wants to know if you can afford the apartment and its upkeep, including all monthly costs (like mortgage and maintenance fees, as well as assessments). They’ll want evidence of financial independence and solvency via third-party documentation of all assets, IRAs and 401Ks, and liabilities. They’ll also want see two years of tax returns. If a building is on the older side, the board subject you to even more scrutiny since these buildings may require more assessments to ensure they remain up to code.
• Organization: Make sure your board package is well organized with everything labeled and nothing left out. A messy board package implies you have something to hide or you don’t value the board members’ time. While you’re at it, make sure to explain anything questionable—discrepancies in your income, why you may have had many employers in a short period of time, who will be living in the apartment with you, etc.—in an explanatory letter with your package.
• Primary residence requirement: Unless they allow pieds-a-terres, most co-op boards want confirmation that an apartment in their building will be your home—and they’ll want proof, such as documentation showing where you file your tax returns and where your employer is based.
• Evidence of neighborly behavior: Co-op boards are looking for good, responsible neighbors, and they'll want proof, meaning business and personal references, bank letters, past landlord references and, frequently, an introductory letter that indicates why you want to live in the building. Bonus: Showing an interest in one day contributing to the running of the building may help, too.
For more tips, read "Board approved: How to impress a NYC co-op board."