There are hundreds of articles online about how to ace a co-op board interview. What to say, how to dress, what financials to bring; there's so many answers out there to this that it would be hard to get thrown off guard when it comes to your interview with the Board.
But what about the other side? While you may feel overwhelmed and maybe even intimidated to meet with a Co-Op Board, you need to be informed about whether or not this building will be a good fit for you. Much like a job interview, asking questions will help give you an understanding of how the building operates, and what expectations you can have for your safety, financial health, and make you feel like you're making the best decision for yourself or your family. So before you leave that interview, be sure to ask these 4 questions:
What If I Can't Make a Meeting?
If you plan to be involved in your co-op board but are unable to make regular meetings, be sure to ask how best to stay active in the goings on of the building. The Board may send out regular updates via email or website updates similar to this property management group, or may not be very proactive in updating the members at all. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you can expect from the Board.
What Amount of Units are Owner-Occupied?
The higher the percentage of owner-occupied units, the better the resale value for you, so if you plan to make a quick profit turning over your space, be sure to find out how many renters are in the building and how that will affect your bottom line.
Who Has Access to My Personal Information?
This might feel like a no-brainer, but make sure there are strict rules regarding your personal and financial info, or you might end up finding out that there are gossips amongst the Board, as Stuart Saft found out in this NY Times article.
How Much Does the Co-Op Keep in Reserve?
Remember that the main reason the Co-Op Board exists is to make sure the building runs smoothly and is well maintained, which all costs money. A good Board will have reserves that more than handle the monthly maintenance fees, while a worrisome Board will have little money in reserve, which may put you on the hook for sudden repairs due to weather damage or decay.
The interview process for your potential new home can feel daunting and as nerve wracking as a job interview, but remember that it works both ways and the more information you have, the better. Make sure to ask questions so that you can make an informed decision on if this building will be a place that you want to call home, or if there are signs of impending headaches and financial loss in the future.