11 Tips to Ace Your Upcoming Board Interview
Nov 08, 2022 brooklyn,Brooklyn Buyers,Brooklyn Buyers Agent,brooklyn cooperative,brooklyn real estate,brooklyn realty,Buying in Brooklyn,buying into brooklyn,cooperative living,coops,realty collective
Congratulations! You’ve been invited to a board interview for your dream home. A standard part of the board application process, this is a way for them to to learn more about you —and your family if applicable— to make sure you’d be a good fit in their building.
Even though the interview is a step in the right direction, you still need to be prepared. You’ll want to ace your questions, showing you know the building rules, you’re comfortable with the mortgage and maintenance payments, and that you’ll fit in as a respectful member of their already-established community.
Below, we’ll share some of our best advice, questions to ponder, and more before your interview takes place.
1. Dress nicely and arrive on time (virtually or physically)
When it comes to apparel and timeliness, a board interview should be treated no differently than a professional job interview. Sport coat or suit and tie for men, suit and minimal jewelry for women. Most interviews are conducted via Zoom now, which means you only need to worry about the waist up – but be sure to follow proper Zoom etiquette (i.e. have a clean background, make sure you’re in a quiet space, etc). Be on time—let them be late. Often, you are a part of a larger agenda of the whole board, and the interview is delayed. Be patient.
2. Be ready to get personal
The board has great latitude in the kinds of questions it can ask. Be prepared for this and do not avoid answers to personal questions, or answer defensively. They just want to feel confident that you’ll be a great neighbor.
3. Know your application
You should be able to quickly and concisely answer any questions asked regarding your application. It’s best to memorize responses, but if necessary, bring a copy along. Specifically, know the details of your financial statement and be prepared to answer questions about your finances.
4. Decide in advance who will answer which questions
For example, if you’re interviewing as a couple, you may agree to answer all financial questions and your spouse will answer all other questions. Avoid discussing answers to questions with your spouse in front of the board. Do not interrupt or contradict one another.
5. Don’t sell yourself
This isn’t a job interview. Only answer questions asked and let the board run the show. Boring is good when it comes to board meetings!
6. Never volunteer personal information or engage in unsolicited conversations except for basic cordial remarks and greetings, unless there is a specific question from the board.
7. Keep reno plans on the down low
Don’t discuss renovations at all, unless asked. Even then, do your best to downplay the extent of the work you intend to do.
8. Avoid asking questions
Questions can often unintentionally convey negative information to the board. For example, bringing up building maintenance and renovation requests could come off as offensive. Your broker and attorney are the best people to ask questions to.
At the end, they may ask if you have any questions. Keep them short and sweet, and be prepared with something. Maybe see if they have recommendations for lunch or favorite places to walk their dogs nearby.
9. Less is more
A short interview is better than a long one. While there are no hard and fast rules, a short cordial interview with a few board questions and remarks is often the best co-op board interview.
10. No news is good news
Don’t expect an answer at the end of the meeting, as most boards give their decision a day or two afterward. Your real estate broker and attorney will take the necessary steps to determine if you have been approved. Some boards also request additional information or financial steps be taken after the interview.
11. Have fun!
Relax, be yourself, and show respect for the people interviewing you. Who knows — they may soon be the people you call “neighbors.”
Frequently Asked Questions by the Board:
No two board interviews are alike, so we can’t tell you the exact questions to prepare for. However, if you want to ponder some frequently covered topics before the big day, begin with these:
- If a Board has questions relating to financials, they will often ask them before the interview. Bring a copy of these responses with you.
- You may be asked for detailed explanations of financials, especially if self-employed.
- Do you feel confident that you can comfortably carry the mortgage and maintenance?
- Why did you choose this building?
- What made you choose this apartment?
- Why do you want to live in this neighborhood?
- How long have you been looking?
- How many apartments did you preview?
House Rules, etc.
(You may be asked questions designed to see if you’ve read and will abide by the house rules.)
- Do you have any questions about this building?
- Do you have any pets?
- What kind of renovations will you be doing? How will you finance projects?
- Are you going to use the apartment for residential purposes only?
- Do you work from home? What kind of traffic will there be? (security issue)
- Would you run for the Board? What skills could you offer?
- Do you play any musical instruments?
- Do you entertain often?
- Do you smoke?
If you’re interested in learning more about the buying process, download our free Buying Into Brooklyn Ebook. We share a ton of valuable resources to demystify the buying process and help you become a Brooklyn home-owner.