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How to Write A Great Co-Op Reference Letter

Having the money to buy in Brooklyn is often just the first hurdle of the road toward home ownership here. You’ll also want to be pre-approved by a lender (read more here). All of these steps are tough enough but the one many people dread most is the co-op board review process. 

Requirements vary from building to building, but  there are a few common types of reference letters you may be asked to provide along with your board application:

  • Personal Reference Letter
  • Employer Reference Letter
  • Professional Reference Letter
  • Landlord Reference Letter 

Realty Collective Tip: Did you know that when you work with us, we’ll help you solicit and polish those reference letters?

Ask for letters from:

  • three professional contacts
  • three personal contacts
  • your current landlord or property manager
  • your employer 

To make it easier, ask them to include the following information:

  • The length of time the writer has known you
  • How they met you
  • What they think of you (with a focus on personal details that illustrate your suitability as a neighbor). 

A Little Inspiration: If your letter writers need help, ask them to write about what they would say if someone asked if you would make a good babysitter or house sitter, so words like responsible, caring, loyal, trustworthy, and thoughtful are words that read well. 

A Little Humility: But don’t shy away from humanizing and real traits, too. “Lisa is a terrible cook but an amazing host for pizza and movie nights.” “Maybe David has told you about the volunteering he does at the shelter, but he might not have told you he does it even though he’s allergic to dogs; he thinks it’s that important.” Basically, any traits or hobbies should be backed up by what that means for the community they’re applying to. Will they be a good addition?

Keep in mind the source: If your boss says that you’re a hard-worker, it’ll carry more weight than if your friend says it. Know someone who lives in the building? Ask if they will vouch for you. That kind of “in” can put you over the top.

Length and Formatting: Don’t agonize over length; the message is what’s most important. Just generally look for letters that look like the writer put in some effort. Think in-depth Yelp review and not short story. Ideally, no more than 1.5 pages so you can keep your reader’s attention.

If you’d like to see some samples, the internet can show you plenty but this piece from HauseIt offers a few good options.

Remember, we’re happy to help you out with your co-op reference letters. Get in touch if you have any co-op anxiety and we’ll help you prepare. 

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