The Market

What your co-op reference letters should look like

By Leah Hochbaum Rosner  | May 14, 2015 - 2:59PM

Trying to buy a co-op is not for the faint of heart. Not only do you have to prove your worth with tons of financial documents, but you also have to win over a co-op board, in part through reference letters from friends and colleagues who can attest to your great moral character and fiscal responsibility. But what should your friends and colleagues include in said letters? Here are a few tips from those in the know:

  • Who you choose to write matters: A little self-explanatory, but a letter from your boss or someone else who knows you very well will carry more weight than one from your doorman or distant cousin, so be sure to choose your references wisely.
  • Proofreading is important: A co-op board will take a letter seriously if the letter-writer approaches the process equally seriously by making sure the recommendation is free of grammar and spelling errors.
  • Include all relevant info: Each letter should mention how long the writer has known you, how you met, and use personal and specific details to show why you’ll be a good neighbor.
  • The letter should be long—but not too long: Although there isn’t a specific length that most boards prefer, it should look like the writer put in some sort of effort. A page and a half is a good length.

One example of a good — if brief — co-op reference letter.

For more information, as well as sample letters, read “Ace Your Co-op Board Application: 14 Successful Real-life Reference Letters.”

In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.


Ask an Expert: What do co-op boards look for in reference letters?

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