Confused About Co-ops? Here’s A Checklist To Buying A Co-Op In NYC

Buying a co-op in NYC is no easy feat. It takes organization, persistence, a clean financial history, and a little bit of luck. But considering about 85% of New York City’s apartments are co-ops, don’t sell yourself short. You can do this.

But because no one is born knowing how to buy into a co-op, we’ve put together a checklist for finding a co-op in New York.  

  1. Polish up your credit

Your credit is going to be a main factor in whether you get approved for a co-op. So take the time to get copies of your credit reports and review them. If there are delinquencies or issues, act now. Pay off anything overdue and improve your debt to income ratio. Depending on your current credit score, this could be the toughest part of the co-op buying process.

  1. Get pre-approved

Ready to talk to the bank? Even though you won’t be applying for a traditional mortgage, you’ll still need to be approved for a loan. Once you’re approved, make sure you have a copy of the letter stating the amount you qualify for.

Keep in mind that co-ops have the final say on income requirements. They could ask for a higher down payment percentage or require an all-cash purchase. So in the land of co-op buying, an approval letter doesn’t guarantee an accepted offer, but it is still a necessary step for most when buying a co-op.

  1. Find your dream real estate agent

Working with a real estate agent or broker who knows the ins and outs of purchasing co-ops will be critical. This will ensure you get the best deal and in record time. Ask for referrals and take your time exploring your options. Look at reviews and don’t be afraid to ask contenders plenty of questions.

  1. Dream big and discuss your ideal building, neighborhood, and unit

Once you have an agent you mesh well with, discuss your wish list with them. They’ll be honest with you and let you know what’s possible in your price range and what you’ll most likely have to compromise on. Discuss square footage, your ideal neighborhood, and any amenities or features you’re after.

  1. Start shopping around

Now it’s time for the fun part. Start touring available co-op units. Keep in mind that they go fast, which is why you’ll want to know exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t settle but don’t let something minor deter you from an otherwise great unit.

6. Submit an offer

Once you find a unit you’re interested in, it’s time to submit an offer. Your agent will handle the paperwork. All you’ll have to do is read it over and sign. Then sit back and wait while your offer is reviewed by the seller. Take this time to explore other options though in case your offer is rejected.

  1. Negotiate

While some offers are accepted as-is, chances are you’ll have to negotiate a bit. The unit owner’s agent will contact your agent and they’ll battle it out. While you can envision an old western dual, this will most likely be over the phone. This is where it helps to have an experienced agent who understands your interests.

  1. Prepare for the board

If a price and terms are agreed upon, it’s time for your agent to start working on a presentation called a “Board Package”. This is what will be submitted to the co-op board. If yours is approved, an interview will be scheduled.

  1. Interview with the co-op board

Here’s another tough step. Your board interview will be strict and borderline invasive. They’ll want to know just about everything about you, including what you ate for breakfast on your first day of kindergarten.

In all seriousness, they’ll closely look at your financial history, employment history, any criminal records, and miscellaneous public data they see fit. They’ll also ask you plenty of questions to see if you’re the type of tenant that will mesh well with the rest of the co-op community.

  1. Final walk through

If the co-op board falls in love with you (and why wouldn’t they) you’re almost at the finish line. Once you get the word, it’s time to schedule a final walk through where you’ll check for any issues or defects that need to be addressed before the closing.

  1. Close

If you’re happy with the state of the unit, the final selling price, and terms of the co-op board, it’s time to close. This is a time-consuming process, usually lasting several hours, but it’s not complicated. You’ll be reading over plenty of paperwork and signing your life away. But once it’s done, you’re an official co-op owner!

  1. Get insurance

Think your work is done? Not quite yet! One of the first major steps you’ll want to take is securing co-op insurance. This will protect your items in your new home from fire, theft, water damage (besides flooding), and more. You’ll also be financially protected should someone injure themselves in your residence.

Feel free to reach out to us anytime with questions. Co-op Insurance is our bread ‘n’ butter, so much so, we named our business after it. We’re happy to help in your search of complete coverage.

  1. Pack

It’s finally time to pack! Stay organized by grouping related items together and sift through them as you go. There’s no sense in bringing items into your new co-op unit that you’ll never use. Label accordingly and leave one box open for the items you’ll still need up until moving day.

  1. Move

The big day is finally here! Whether you’ve hired a moving company or rounded up a few of your friends, it’s going to be a long day. Stay hydrated, stay organized, and stay motivated.

  1. Enjoy

Congratulations! Enjoy your first moments in your new co-op. Savor them. Make a few plans, pat yourself on the back, and dream about the future a little. You’ve earned it!

There you have it, folks. There are plenty of steps involved when buying into a co-op. That’s why it’s best to start sooner than later, especially if your credit needs a little work. After all, your dream unit could be sitting empty right now.

How long does it take to close on a co-op? After the initial contracts are signed, you can expect the final closing to take place 2-3 months later. If you’re able to make an all cash purchase, the closing can be expedited by at least a month.

Ready to find your piece of NYC? It’s out there and we hope our checklist for finding a co-op in New York helps you find your way to it.       

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