New York City Real Estate Blog

So after a lot of searching you’ve finally found the perfect NYC co-op. You’ve successfully negotiated a price, signed the contract and will soon be facing the infamous co-op board interview. However, there is still the co-op board package to put together and to ensure you get board approval it has to be near perfect. One important part of the board package, which sometimes gets overlooked, is the cover letter. Here’s what you need to know about it and why it’s important.

What is a cover letter and why do you need it?

The co-op board application process is a bit invasive, to say the least. Your entire financial life will be laid bare before people that will be your neighbors for years to come. Few people are comfortable with this, but there’s no way around it. Besides being invasive, the process can also feel a bit dehumanizing as your life is reduced to numbers on a tax return.

But the co-op board isn’t just concerned with your financials. They also want to know if you’ll make a good neighbor. This is where a good cover letter can make a difference. It’s a chance to humanize your application and show that you’re more than just a number. Remember, the board members are volunteers who won’t necessarily have the time or expertise to interpret complex financial statements. That’s usually left to the buildings attorneys who then give the board their opinion. What the board will be more interested in is your cover letter.

How to write a cover letter

Follow these pointers, and you should have the perfect cover letter good to go in no time.

1. Keep it clear, short and simple

Save the technical jargon for the attorneys; your cover letter should be all about putting a face on your board package. There’s no need to go over-the-top with how you present it. It should be printed on regular copy paper in Times New Roman or Calibri and be no more than 3-4 paragraphs long.

2. Strike the tone

It’s essential that you come across the right way and knowing a bit about the board will help with that. Your buyer’s agent may have worked with them before or know people that have. Use what information you can gather to present yourself as their model neighbor but don’t take that as an excuse to present yourself falsely.

Make yourself shine by mentioning why you believe you’d make a great neighbor, that you’re in it for the long-haul and have all the financial requirements. It’s alright to give the board praise and kiss up a little but only so long as it’s genuine. For instance, if there’s something about the architecture that you love you should definitely mention it.

3. Make a connection where you can

Since the board is legally restricted from asking you certain questions, this is a chance to fill in the blanks. This can be something as simple as saying, ‘My name is John Smith, and I am a proud graduate of the University of California in Los Angeles where I majored in Business Law. Recently, my wife gave birth to our first child who I want to see grow up close to my parents who reside in Brooklyn. My wife and I are committed to making New York our home and starting the next chapter in our lives. We look forward to meeting you and hopefully becoming part of the community. Thank for your time in considering our application. If there is any additional information, you require we are happy to cooperate.

Final thoughts

A cover letter does not call for excessive detail. All it needs to do is put a good face on your application. Make sure to run it by your broker before submitting. They can even help you with writing it up. The cover letter is just one of the many things a co-op board package requires. It may seem like a small part of it, but it still deserves the right attention.

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