Licensed New York City real estate broker

Bond New York in the press

For all press inquiries please contact Kelly Kreth, Kreth Communications, 201 417 8691,

9 Curve Ball Coop Board Interview Questions

01/28/2013, By


9 curveball co-op board interview questions (and how to answer them)

The vast majority of co-op rejections are based on application packages, with the bad news delivered before a co-op board interview is even scheduled.

So once you've proceeded to the in-person inquistion conducted by a duly elected body of your potential neighbors, your chances of approval are actually excellent....provided you don't screw it up.

We've already walked you through some questions that co-op boards should ask, as well as what they should not. BrickUnderground's Big Fat Board Interview series--a collection of firsthand accounts of real-life board interviews--provides an even fuller sense of the predictably unpredicable terrain you may encounter. 

For our latest foray behind closed doors, BrickUnderground asked a handful of real estate brokers for some recent stumpers and their suggestions for hitting your answers out of the park:

1. Why are you downsizing? 

This question is a common one, though not one that applicants necessarily expect. While the typical reason may be due to a change in family size—or to trim expenses—you should keep the latter to yourself, says real estate broker Michael Signet of Bond New York Properties.

Put the focus on space -- not money.

“Co-op [board members] don’t want to hear you say that you want to move to save money. It's better to say that you’re empty nesters," says Signet.

2. How do you like your job?

While this may just be an innocuous part of your conversation, board members may be trying to get a sense of your overall job security.

“This is not the time to have a candid discussion about any existential crisis you might be experiencing at work,” says Therese Bateman of Town Residential, “so no need to cause unnecessary alarm with throwaway lines.”

Instead she recommends being upbeat and not disclosing any details. 

3. Are you interested in serving on the board? 

“I recommend neutrality in your response, should you be asked if you’re interested in serving,” says real estate agent Mindy Diane Feldman of Halstead Property. 

Lately, she says, some applicaiton ackages even ask applicants directly if they have any background or skills that may be useful to the board, which is new.

"It’s best to be neutral," she says. "For example, say, ‘If the board or the building thought that I could make an important contribution, I would certainly be open to discussing it.’:

But it's a bit of a balancing act. "You never want the board to think that you are aiming for a position," she warns.

4. Are you planning a renovation? 

Revealing the details of any renovation plans can be potentially concerning to board members.  For one thing, you never know who may live adjacent to your apartment and dread the disturbance of a renovation.

“It is best to omit details of your proposed renovation until after closing,” says Bateman

While you want to be truthful—obviously an estate purchase will require upgrading—it is best to instead say, "We are taking one step at a time and have no immediate renovation plans."

5. What are your political beliefs or with which political party are you affiliated? 

While this question is completely legal, it might be unexpected and throw you off your game.

According to Neil Binder of the Bellmarc Group, it’s best to remain neutral whenever possible, especially if you’re asked about a specific issue. “I suggest that buyers attempt to take a very neutral position on political matters by saying that it’s an important issue and you’re still considering the facts," he says.

“I actually guide my clients when I am [instructing them about] getting their reference letters not to get anything that has a political bent to it,” says Feldman. 

6. Do you have parties or entertain often? 

This question is quite common--and it's not a popularity test. It's a disturbance of the peace predictor.

Tom Stuart of Bond New York suggests saying, “We enjoy having occasional dinners with close friends” and leaving it at that. 

7. What do you do in your spare time? 

While it seems innocent enough, this question can literally hang you if you give yourself enough rope.

Bateman has three easy suggestions when fielding this one: “Keep it clean, keep it simple, and keep it quiet,” meaning now is not the time to tell the board about your plans for learning the clarinet. 

8. Why did you choose this apartment/neighborhood? 

“This is an opportunity to be complimentary,” offers Bateman. “Don’t bog down your response with a blow-by-blow description of the 30 apartments that you saw before this one, or that it is the only one you could afford.” 

Generally speaking, Feldman agrees. "Don’t let this one encourage you to overshare. In fact, there are times when boards don’t phrase a question as a question, and that can take people off guard. That’s why we always advise clients to be cordial and not chatty,” she explains. 

9. Do you have any questions? 

While in other forums it is often useful to have questions at the ready as a demonstration of your interest, you really shouldn’t raise them during a co-op interview.

“Boring is good,” says Feldman. “A co-op interview is not a job interview—people do not have to fall in love with you. For instance, when the board asks you if you have any questions, say, ‘None that I can think of right now, but I’ll be sure to get back to you if any should occur.’ It is never about keeping the conversation going, as it often is at a job interview.”

Finally, never ask about the board’s decision at the time of your interview. Instead say something like "We look forward to hearing from you."

Union Square
853 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10003
Columbus Circle
1776 Broadway, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10019
Upper East Side
1500 Second Avenue
New York, NY 10075
64 West 21st Street
New York, NY 10010
Corporate HQ
1776 Broadway, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10019
Like BOND New York on Facebook Follow BOND New York on Twitter Read BOND New York's Blog Plus One BOND New York on Google Join BOND New York on LinkedIn View BOND New York's photos on Instagram View BOND New York's photos on Pinterest
- Equal Housing Oppurtunity -
Real Estate Website by RealtyMX™

Know your New York City neighborhoods.

Part of choosing a new NYC apartment, condo, coop, or house is to choose the right location that suits you best. Every NYC neighborhood is like its own world with each having its own particular features and peculiarities. In New York City, you have a tremendously broad choice of these individually unique areas to live in, so we suggest that you pay attention to the details of each NYC neighborhood. Use our New York neighborhood guide for location information, area descriptions, and more.

Bond New York is the bond between you and your next home.

Get to know us -- and we'll get you to know the best deals for Manhattan & NYC apartments, the New York City real estate market, and most importantly, your new home. Read about us, our agent and management profiles, and press articles to understand how professionally committed and dedicated we are to the industry and to our clients and customers.

All information presented on this site regarding real property, for sale, purchase, rental and/or financing is from sources deemed reliable. No warranty or representation is made as to the accuracy thereof and same is submitted subject to errors, omissions, change of price, rentals or other conditions, prior sale, lease or financing or withdrawal without notice. Note: All dimensions and square footage are approximate for the most exact dimensions and square footage please hire your own architect or engineer.