Rejected by the Co-op Board? Weird Reasons Why

Sure, your financial records and letters of reference are important when it comes to getting approved by the co-op board. But the interview is important, too.

And the less you say, the better. Unless you’re squirrely and weird about it. And you should dress nice, but not too nice, because the board knows all about your finances, and you don’t want them to think you’re living beyond your means. Be friendly, but not too friendly, because you don’t want people to think you’d be knocking on their doors at all hours.

Talk about your job, but not too much, because they might think you’ll be working at home a lot and stomping around making too much noise. Compliment the building, but not too much, because you don’t know which improvements were hotly debated by the board, and you might open old wounds.

Yes, it’s tough.

The interview is like a cross between trying to sit at the cool kids’ table in the lunchroom, being on trial in front of a jury of your not-quite peers, and a job interview. And trying to talk your way backstage at a concert, or talk your way out of a traffic ticket. And maybe a parole hearing.

What do all of these things have in common? Sometimes, it’s best to speak only when spoken to, and be careful not to give away too much information. So, why have people been rejected?

  • Though this New York buyer seems to have worked it out with the board, she was asked to allow her child to be interviewed. Can you imagine trying to get your kid to be really, really good for the interview? You might have to promise a pony. And no way would the co-op let you have a pony.

  • Like to treat yourself? One buyer was rejected for having expensive fingernail tips, because a board member didn’t think her financials justified such an extravagance. Might want to leave your Louis Vuitton at home, even if it was a gift from your mom.

  • Your “entire financial portfolio is in some tiny little unknown country.” Counterpoint: Do you really want a neighbor who not only has never heard of Mauritius, but is too lazy to even Google it? It’s not huge, but it’s definitely a country.

  • Your name is Barbra Streisand. Or Mariah Carey. Or Madonna. All three have been rejected by co-op boards. Was it because their shower singing would be more disruptive than most? We’ll never know for sure, but it was probably because some co-op boards don’t want the attention a celebrity resident brings. Google yourself and make sure TMZ didn’t cover your last few parties.

  • Your dog’s name sets off alarm bells with the board. One would-be buyer was rejected because her dog’s name was Scooby Don’t. That dog, sadly, has passed on. Her new dog’s name is Lindsay Lohan.

  • You don’t have as much money as you think you do, and the board doesn’t think you have good long-range prospects. Just because you can get approved for that mortgage, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Hmm... there may be a little truth to that one.

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  • They don’t like your jokes. You thought it was funny when you said you liked to skinny dip and looked forward to doing it in the building pool? They didn’t get it.

  • The board doesn’t like the offer the seller accepted. If they believe the seller underpriced the unit, a board may reject you out of fear that their own property values will drop.

  • They read your kid’s Facebook page. This might be a great time to talk to the kids about what we post online and how it can be perceived.

  • You’re downsizing to save money. You and the other shareholders will be in this together, and it might scare them if they perceive you as a penny-pincher.

  • You failed one of the easy questions. “So, what do you like to do in your spare time?” Host book club, while serving all the wine that goes with it, was not the right answer.

  • Any reason whatsoever.

The most likely way to get approved by the board is to be kind of boring.

Wear the sort of thing you’d wear to a colleague’s funeral. Don’t ask too many questions, and don’t express too many preferences. You can let your freak flag fly after the deal is done and you already live there!