When it comes to buying apartments, in some areas you have to contend with the co-op before you can even be allowed to buy and live in an apartment! That’s right, there’s a review process and everything. It can be a little stressful to have this huge prospective apartment that you want to buy, but don’t worry. It can be done!

Since co-ops really do have the last say on who can own an apartment in certain buildings, why not prep for the process? It’s totally possible to survive the process and not only that– conquer it too.

If you want to move into a high-end building but aren’t sure you’ll get in, don’t worry! The important thing is to give it your best shot. One thing that is important to keep in mind– you’re more likely to get approved for buildings that more or less believe you can meet your expenses and be a responsible apartment owner or renter. After all, they are going to have to live with you! Usually, a co-op board just wants to be certain that you will be able to pay your expenses on time and be a considerate neighbor to the other tenants and shareholders. If you get in, this will be a process that in turn benefits you!

You may want to use a broker that knows the areas and the buildings well. Co-ops will usually use a process that takes into account your reference letters, financial records, and finally an interview with the board. The in-person screening is the best way to make sure that you and the building are the right fit. The process goes both ways; if you don’t particularly like the board or the general feel of a building, you can be approved but turn down the offer.

In your interview, you’re going to basically be under a microscope. They’ll likely ask you questions about everyday things and most likely your assets, finances, financial lifestyle. Anything of concern in your financial past they’ll likely bring up as well. You’ll need to bring pay stubs, bank statements, brokerage statements, a commitment letter from the bank, tax returns, and more.

They’ll likely ask about a lot of things, such as student loan repayments, and check your credit report. Essentially, they’re making sure that when you make the commitment and say you can pay your bills that you’re going to be able to follow up on that. They really don’t want to sell you a co-op and have to deal with kicking you out– easier to just screen beforehand. That’s because forcing someone to leave a building is a huge pain and it’s often expensive, too.

Assure the board of your character with letters of reference from people in your life or business associates. They want references from someone who knows you well and can attest to who you are. Any business references should come from someone who is in a supervisory position. It’s not the most fun in the world to ask people you know to do this for you, but anyone in your life that cares will do it for you. (A muffin basket never hurts either.)

Were you on social media in your wilder years? Make sure those photos aren’t going to come back to haunt you. Condos and co-ops are getting savvier than ever.

Lastly, the interview. You’ll be invited to the apartment of a board member for a visit with family members. There will likely be other board members there that will talk to you about your apartment plans. This is most often a formality and you have been approved– dress and prepare accordingly!

Going through this process with organization, precision and grace will serve you well! Be sure to check on their pet policies as some buildings have guidelines or restrictions. Lastly, be the tenant you were in your interview! People will appreciate your good etiquette and when it comes time to sell your co-op, it will be easy as pie. Thanks for reading and good luck!