So after many months, the end is almost in sight. You’ve gone through the viewing and negotiations. The mortgage application has been approved and you’ve painstakingly put together your co-op board package. Now one final thing stands between you and the closing day on your NYC co-op apartment. The board interview. This part causes the most anxiety. Get it wrong and the deal will be scuttled. Despite the anxiety they cause in buyers, most co-op board interviews are pretty casual. The board has probably already approved your board package and now just wants to meet you as a formality and to see what you’re like in person.
But it’s still possible to muck it up. There’s plenty of advice out there on what to do during a board interview but not much on what not to do. Apart from the obvious like not showering for a week before the interview or introducing them to your pet monkey, there are other less dramatic ways you can torpedo the interview. Here are four surefire ways to fail your co-op board interview.
1. Asking too many or the wrong questions
We’re usually told that it’s better to ask and know then to not ask and never know. Well, not in this case. When the interview comes to an end, you’ll be invited to ask any questions of your own. If you’ve chosen a buyer’s agent that’s worth their salt, they’ll have advised you not to accept this invite. The reason is that asking questions can naturally lead to raising sensitive subjects like renovations or subletting.
Asking questions can also make you come across as arrogant or entitled. Many co-op board members take their job very seriously and may not take it kindly if you ask questions like “when can I close?” or “Can I move in on the weekend?” Such questions make you look as though you’re taking it for granted that you’ve already been granted approval. Some co-ops allow subletting and renovations to a degree. But it’s a bad idea to ask about them in the interview.
2. Revealing too much information
Like asking too many questions, revealing too much information is just as bad. The board interview is the final part in the approval process so there is no point in prolonging it needlessly. When you make it drag on for longer you increase the chances of going into sensitive subjects or telling them more than you should. For instance, if they ask whether you have family in NYC, just answer no if you don’t. But if you go on to say that you have three nephews from outa town that will stay every weekend then you could make them worried that you’ll be a noisy neighbor.
3. Being evasive or dishonest
Even when it comes to sensitive topics like renovations it’s better to be honest if they do ask you about it. Being dishonest, either on the board package or during the interview, is one of the most surefire ways toward rejection. Still, there’s nothing wrong with saying something along the lines of “As we discussed earlier, the apartment hasn’t been occupied in a while so I’m thinking of some minor way’s I can make it more comfortable, but so far I don’t have any certain plan.” Compare this with saying that you’ve already talked with a renovator who says that the work will require a gut renovation that will take six months.
4. Being unfamiliar with the board application
Before walking into the interview, you should know your board package like the back of your hand. If they mention something that you genuinely can’t recall, then they may take this as an indication that you are being dishonest or are totally unprepared. Go through the entire board application before the interview with your buyer’s agent. Pay special attention to any areas that are confusing.