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Can I review my buyer's application before it goes to the co-op board?

Usually, the seller's broker will review the application, but not the seller themselves. 

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Question:

Can a seller review a buyer's co-op application before it's submitted to the board? I want to make sure it looks okay and personally advocate for my buyer to the board if there are any issues.

Answer:

Typically, a seller does not review their buyer's co-op application. That job falls to the seller's and buyer's brokers, our experts say. 

"There is no rule or law that requires a purchaser to show the seller of an apartment the board package," says Steve Wagner, partner at the Manhattan law firm Wagner, Berkow & Brandt (a Brick sponsor). "The right of a seller to review the contract may be part of the contract negotiations and often results in the inclusion of a provision requiring the purchaser to show the application to the seller prior to its submission." 

However, he adds, not all buyers will agree to this, as they may prefer to keep their finances private. 

There are also compelling reasons for sellers not to look at the application—and that includes the cover letter and recommendation letters—even if the buyer agrees to it. 

"The seller should consider the downsides to reviewing the application: If buyer’s identity gets stolen, the seller will be a suspect. Why would the seller want to see the recommendation letters? If the application is denied, questions would arise as to whether the seller interfered with the people who wrote the letters," says Kevin McConnell, a partner with Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph (a Brick sponsor). 

Furthermore, in most cases, the seller is not be the most qualified person to review the application—their broker is. Hiring a seasoned broker—ideally one who has experience with your building as well as with reviewing co-op packages—is the best way to make sure your buyer will be approved. 

"A good agent has a lot of experience in compiling and presenting board applications, can understand where the issues lie, and has the skill and the knowledge to answer any potential questions in the application itself in advance of submission of the application," says Deanna Kory, a broker with Corcoran. "Most sellers wouldn't have the same knowledge and experience of a really good agent, nor the skill set to create the proper presentation." 

A good agent, Kory says, has spent years going before boards, answering questions, and putting board members' minds at ease about buyers, including ones who might have complicated financial histories. 

"Anything is possible with the right presentation and a knowledgeable and skilled agent," she says. 


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