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NYCMatt, I understand that a MA may have less of an interest (i.e- it is not a shareholder and doesn't have to live/pay for a deadbeat or a "crazy" neighnot) in keeping out questionable candidates but I presume that they review the financial documentation fairly close, do DTI calculations and generally follow some sort of approval model that has been adopted by the Board. Further, from what I read on here, unless you are drooling or insult someone pretty badly, if you are brought in for an interview, you are generally good. I understand that 5 minds are usually better than 1 but do you think there is a real statistical difference between co-op defaults for shareholders who gain entry in non-alternative means such as MA approval only or purchasers of Sponsor units? And again, from what I was told, all other issues, capital improvements, finances, etc. are decided by the Board. Anyone else have any thoughts?
Lz, the fact that you're even asking that question frightens me. Stick with buying in New Jersey.
NYCMatt, given your experience, what can a MA miss on reviewing applicants that could negatively affect the building? My thought is that if they don't do their job then they will be ripe to get sued by the Co-op Corp and that such a lawsuit could negatively affect their business/reputation.
"the building is in great fiscal shape"
For NOW. Don't expect that to last.
NYCMatt, my attorney has reviewed the financials and the building is in great fiscal shape. Local 11 work was recently done, mortgage was refinanced last year at a great rate and they converted from oil to gas in 2012. from my broker's discussions with the seller's broker, whom has sold several units in the building, it seems that they delegate many decisions to their MA (like reviewing a buyer's qualifications and approving them) but for capital projects, they get and need Board Approval. That may seem odd (and it is) but it appears to be working.
There is no standard behavior for all boards.
On my closing, I went to contract @ 1st week of January
Submitted my board package @ 1st week of february.
Was interviewed by the 1st week of march and closed around the 3rd week.
I could have probably submitted my board package faster but I committed to my rental through april anticipating it would take 90 days for any emergencies. Once things looked smooth I actually slow played it and ended up with only a week of an empty rental apt.
I would be sitting on your broker.
I shouldnt judge your broker based on him/her not assembling/making copies of your board package, but if your broker is not from a boutique agency counting all it's pencils and staples, Im guessing they are not a good one.
A buyer's broker should be proactive on the package, it's the major part of the real work they'll do for the transaction.
Once on a unit I almost bought with a crappy broker, I went to an open house of another unit they were hosting.
When they saw I was still looking at other apts, that lit the fire under their azz.
(My board def goes darker in summer, we have foregone July and August meetings. But we are a small co-op)
Just wanted to comment that I have never heard of a buyer's broker not assembling or at least substantially assisting his/her client with the Board Package. Crazy. Keeping my fingers crossed for you! Keep us updated!
"This idea that Boards go dark for the summer is exaggerated." I'm the Treasurer of my board, and I agree. General life intervenes, that's all.
Once your package is submitted to the broker(s), the broker(s) is/are the one(s) who should put it all together and submit it to the management company. Then the management company generally gets it set up for the board to review, with all the "math" on the front page (income to debt ratio, financing percentage, etc.). Then the package is submitted to to board (or sent back to the brokers if incomplete). Then the individuals on the board review the package as their own time permits. Could be a day, could be a month. Most have full-time jobs (and many have families), and none get paid for being on the board, so review to them is not as pressing as it is to you.
A majority of the board need to approve for financials, and except in rare circumstances, if you're invited to an interview, you're in (unless you really blow the interview, which is difficult to do.)
So time-wise, depending on whether you're financing, depending on a host of other things, it could be a GOOD two to three months before you hear back from the board that you're invited to interview. The length generally means nothing, other than the board members have regular lives like everybody else.
Hope this helps, and I wish you the best of luck!!
Someone previously suggested on this board somewhere that you look at time from contract to closing for previous relatively recent transactions in the building to get an idea of pace at which building's board works. That was right on the money in our recent closing. (Side note - We did not use a buyer's broker; seller's broker acted as dual agent; she did all construction of board package and gave us regular updates. Coophopeful's agent sounds awful!)
This idea that Boards go dark for the summer is exaggerated. a) it's more likely in August than July, b) lots of Boards do their business on email- they don't wait for a meeting which often has a set agenda not to be interrupted by unpredictable sale matters.
Why haven't you tried the buyer agent bugs listing agent to bug Seller (who wants this done with also) to inquire in the hallway with a Board member about the status? I'd be trying something if it has been over a month since they received the background info.
Is this building self managed? This could be the problem. Hire a managing agent and offload the work to a super and managing agent. The board should be over-seeing the process and not turning unit owners into porters and engineers.
The board should be accessible by email or in person at reasonable hours.
"Would a NYC apartment president/super even take these calls?" ... NO!
"are going to have to be small and incremental" ... NO!
Who has leverage if you decide to change the rules and do something shocking like telling people to communicate complaints via email - Them because they can say you've violated some weird by-law or you because you can just say there is no written rule and you can cite market convention as justification. I suspect it's the latter.
@Alan - To *some* extent they expect non-conformity. But what they *want* is for me to do things exactly as they have previously been done. (Exhibit A: the 2003-vintage phones that we carry around.) So any changes I want to make, either for just my term or for future presidents, are going to have to be small and incremental.
I've already set up a web-based e-mail address for the building (which I will pass down to the future president) so that I can answer e-mail using a proper PC and keyboard rather than the outdated telephone number pad. I've got the monthly meetings moved from 1 PM to 4 PM. I've eliminated the need to physically greet the cleaning staff when they arrive at 7:10 AM each morning, and am having them place their daily report copy in the mailbox.
Really it's just the phone calls at arbitrary times from other residents who expect me to always be at the ready. Would a NYC apartment president/super even take these calls? A paid super probably would. But an unpaid board president?
>I should add that this isn't in NYC.
What city is this in?
I am about to place a bid on what my broker has termed a "liberal coop" (20% down, unlimited subletting) on the UWS. My housing DTI is 22% and total DTI is 28% (no CC debt, just student loans). Credit score is over 800, I have been employed at the same job for 11 years and have been consistently promoted so I believe all that is solid. However, I have a question about post-closing liquidity requirements: is there a rule of thumb for "liberal coops"? I ask b/c after down payment/closing costs, I will only have about 20 months of "liquid assets", cash/stocks (401K adds almost 250K but I know that doesn't count as liquid). Is that generally sufficient?
Matsonjones: in another thread, someone mentioned that the building has had large maintenance increases the last couple years. Is this true? And can you please explain why the maintenance has been increasing? In general, is the building financially sound, with big reserve fund? Thank you very much for any insight.
I (somewhat) recently moved into 225 East 57th Street.
I like the fact that the hallways are clean and clear, and doorways are not surrounded/cluttered with personal ephemera. It's common space, not an extension of your unit. I've lived in other co-op/condos in the past where it felt like an bootcamp obstacle course just to navigate the hallways.
Now I hope my building board and Wallack Management will look kindly upon the renovation plans I'll be submitting soon (*fingers crossed*)...
Board prez here (but not Mr Paget)... The placement of boots, umbrellas, doormats, bicycles, etc is the common hallways and fire stairs is not only against board rules but moreover against the NYC fire code. It is the same reason that these items are not permitted in rental buildings of well managed buildings. If management is aware of these issues and does not remedy, it creates potential liability to the building if someone were to be injured. This is NOT a co-op issue! This is an issue for all multiple dwellings with shared common areas.
The board president should probably keep his yap shut:
"[...]the Midtown East co-op where Dennis Paget is the president of the board, and where the `no umbrellas and boots in the hallways' rule is also in place. `I tell the staff people to confiscate them,' Mr. Paget said."
that question is more dependent on the submission timeline of the package and the speed of management companies turnaround/review.
Coop hopeful, Good luck. Most people do not carpet their foyer unless the floor isin poor shape. It's excluded from the coverage requirements likely in part because it's not a typical area to cover. It's also not as though anyone below is trying to sleep in their foyer. It's a pretty high traffic area for everyone and as such also a place easier to clean absent carpeting. Not sure why I would cover the foyer. On the other hand we have rugs in every room other than the baths and kitchen and fully covered and padded the hallway,notwithstanding the new hardwood floors.
If I ever get approved for the co-op I'm trying to buy, I plan on getting wall to wall carpeting, and that will include the foyer area. It will include everything except the kitchen and bathroom. Why would you not cover your foyer?
front_porch: The regulations of the building specifically said that they did not require floor coverings in the hallways, bathrooms, and kitchen. The noisy neighbors said they followed the "letter of the law" and refused to do anything more since they had spent a lot of money on carpeting. You can buy all sorts of hallway carpeting on Overstock.com for very little money.
This is just common sense. You put floor coverings down in highly used areas of the apartment. The 80% rule really is only enforced if there are noise complaints. Why would you want to set yourself up to have a dispute with a neighbor?
>>The managing agent suggested they split the cost of putting down rugs in the hallway.<<
Unbelievable. People can be such jerks. Why indeed would you not cover your hallway if your kids are going to tromp all over it and disturb the neighbors? And to suggest the neighbor should have to help carry the cost of putting down a cheap runner is mind-boggling.
Why wouldn't you cover your foyer?
Garden Realty. 718-836-9724. Far and away the best and most
knowledgeable and conscientious management company that
I have ever dealt with. It is located in Bay Ridge.
Wow... I am perplexed with the lack of quality property management companies in this city. I am the Vice President of a 28 unit condo in Williamsburg and I really need a good solid recommendation. Please list your experiences and comments with said companies. Any info at this point is much appreciated. Thanks!
You should sell now and buy back in when you're ready to move back.
We used to rent in a coop with 2 year limit (at least on paper) but they have made exceptions over the years as coop management/shareholders gets 20% of the total yearly rent and we were good tenats. We rented close to 4.5 years.
Not much you can do, most boards are very strict on these types of rules, Maybe this is a gift, its a great time to sell now unlike 2 years ago when you rented it out
Ask them for a waiver due to extenuating circumstances and keep your fingers crossed. Occasionally a building will do that for you. However, many people in a coop buy in just because they don't want renters.
I just moved into a coop just because they are very strict about subletting. After many years in a condo, I just got fed up with increasing number of owners who used them as rental properties. The tone of the building changed with the increase of renters.
You need to invite the Board President to Daniel or Per Se and discuss your need to pay a consulting fee for advice on dealing with boards in general.
Sorry, I must not have been clear. I'll use numbers. Let's say that, looking at the past two years, one-bedroom apts in my building sell on average for $800,000 to $1,000,000. And let's say that the price in my contract is $975,000, putting me in the top 10% of that range. In this scenario, my board's attorney said the transfer was rejected because that price was too low and suggested that an acceptable price would be a minimum of $1,200,000. But last month they approved the sale of a slightly smaller one-bedroom apt for $900,000. See what I mean?
I am simply hoping that someone has experience in this department.
>top 10% of prices for similar apartments in the last two years
Prices are up over the past 2 years.
>It is impossible that the board can legally insist that my sale be a record-breaker by 20%, right?
Not sure your math works. You say it is in the top 10% over the last 2 years. Then you compare to being 20% above all others.
>Please please advise!
You've come to the right place, this anonymous message board.
I recently went to contract to sell my apartment. The board interviewed the lovely and financially overqualified purchasers (whom I happen to know well), and we all got phone calls approving the transaction, so we started packing! Five days later, we got calls saying the approval was a mistake, and the board actually rejected the transaction. The explanation we were given (after lots of pressure from us, given their unprofessional back-and-forth) is that the sale price was too low.
HOWEVER, the agreed-upon price is in the top 10% of prices for similar apartments in the last two years. So it is rather high, given the building's history, not low. And the sale price that the coop's attorney suggested would be acceptable to the board is about 20% higher than the record price for a similarly-sized apartment in the coop!
What, if any, power do I have in this situation? It is impossible that the board can legally insist that my sale be a record-breaker by 20%, right? Please please advise!
I wouldn't tell the board about your compulsive searching the internet to see if you've been sued. That's a little OCD. Also if the charge for your appraisal (max $750?) moves the needle on your credit, I'm a bit concerned you shouldn't be buying an apartment!
^ Completely agree with bramstar on all points. Board member here as well, and "the package" is most definitely thoroughly reviewed and discussed by all members of the board. The management company pulls the credit report, and includes it in "the package". And your score falls within a relevant range, so a few points won't make a difference, *especially* if you pay your cards on time.
>As a board, we rely on the brokers and managing agents to ensure a buyer is qualified before the interview. The interview is to make sure you aren't a psycho or something - i highly doubt any board member (except for the very bored ones - no pun intended) will actually read through and make decisions based on your mountain of paperwork called "the package". <
Then you are being negligent. As a board member I read the entire package, as do the other members. We then discuss any concerns and request additional clarification through our managing agent if need be. We schedule an interview ONLY after we are satisfied with the elements in the package. Relying on your managing agent or a broker to fully vet potential shareholders in YOUR corporation is just a dumb way to do business.
And re: OP's question--no need to worry about a couple of points if your allover score is in the 'very good' to 'excellent' zone.
How is the back round check done? A couple years back I had been sued for cc (this was disclosed in our package) and I got in the habit of checking Ecourts for lawsuits filed against me. I am debt free, but I don't trust debt collectors. Hear to many stories of them suing on a previously settled debt, thus the reason why I keep checking Ecourts.
In 2012 I settled both of those and my credit scores are all above 700 now and the wife has 800's and we both have very little debt.
However, a lawsuit under someone with the same name as me is now showing up in Ecourts. I called the creditor, law firm, and court and verified it wasn't me. Plus, it's in a court upstate, where I have never lived. However, I just hope the co-op board does not come across it and think it's me.
Do they normally do back round checks?
Board member here.
My board (myself particularly) reviews the entire pile.
And credit score is monumental as it reflects that you pay your bills on time.
In fact, the higher the credit score, the less that giant pile is heavily scrutinized.
On the flip side, I recently reviewed a package where I thought the score should have been higher considering the salary and cash in bank. It lead me to further investigate the pile and realize the score was low because the heavy purchasing was being done with a debit card and not credit cards.
As annoying as it was for me to prepare my giant pile when I purchased, I understand it's necessity.
But worrying about a couple points is not something to lose sleep over.
We found little benefit to contemplating a condo. More expensive, nearly as much paperwork, but possibly actually less effective at keeping out the unwanted.
>I've visited office buildings in Manhattan and while the employees have badges, nothing is demanded of invited visitors.
Challenge you to find many Class A office buildings in Manhattan where there is no ID requirement.
And even so, so what?
And Americans do carry identification as a routine.
Matt, the "free country" point is that Americans are not required to carry government papers as a matter of daily routine. The residents' apartments are their private property, but somehow they aren't allowed to let people who aren't carrying government ID papers in to visit them? I don't think even the Soviet Union was that bad.
I've visited office buildings in Manhattan and while the employees have badges, nothing is demanded of invited visitors. I was met by the people I was visiting, and was given a badge marked "GUEST". A hassle, but still reasonable. I'm assuming that in Jelj13's building, this ID thing is for unannounced and unexpected people, and that the residents can still bring guests in with them when coming in together off the street, and come down to meet invited guests in the lobby. If they're really turning away _accompanied guests_ who didn't have the foresight to bring ID, then I don't know what to say because that's just outrageous.
"The Muslims who were the distraction, or the white Christian men who really masterminded the whole operation?"
Oh, boy. I'm not even stepping into this.
This is why you shouldn't live in a condo or co-op in NYC, you might get a nut like Triple_Zero on the board:
>Jelj, I'm glad you were able to handle your difficult tenant, but if I had been on your board, I would have been 100% against this discriminatory policy. Signing in is fine, but you're basically denying entry to anyone who isn't carrying photo identification -- something that is not required in the USA, still nominally a free country.
Did you actually deny entry to guests who weren't carrying "their papers", or did you have the tenant come down to sign them in, as office buildings do?
As everyone knows, all the 9-11 villains had photo IDs. Using this disaster as a backdoor way to oust an uncooperative tenant is despicable.
"As everyone knows, all the 9-11 villains had photo IDs."
To which "villains" are you referring?
The Muslims who were the distraction, or the white Christian men who really masterminded the whole operation?
How large is the building? Would combining the two apartments bring your total share allotment out of proportion with other tenants' shares? I've heard of this happening but it seems odd that it would be the case with a combo of two relatively small apartments unless it's already a very small building...
Bnash: when was the last combo approved? Look through the DOB records, pretty straightforward to figure out. Is there anyone on the board with whom you have at least a smiley-elevator relationship? Leave them a note with your phone number and ask them to call or ask the staff who the most approachable member is, and maybe make a house call. Be very, very obsequious - it can't hurt.
Maybe ask a broker who has sold multiple listings in the building under the current regime. Also re-list with said broker. Sometimes, it's better to go with the flow if you want to be out of there. Don't waste your energy being the neighbor from hell.
bnash - become the neighbor from hell, when you leave the house play the music as loud as you can, borrow a dog that thinks the carpet is street, invite horrible relatives to hang out in your common space. Trust me your next buyer will be approved. Sounds sneaky but the board members probably don't like you already and look forward to making life hard for you.
I have no problem with kids [they're especially good curried]. It's parents what I simply cannot abide.
Do not ignore lovetocook's post.
My ex neighbor (1st year I lived there) in my small co-op building had two kids that used to scream and run up and down the stairs.
If I get neighbors with kids again, I will sell.
OMG let it go already. They don't want you there!! Sometimes "no" really does mean "NO".
What building is this?
Crazy about you too Riccardo
I love fieldschester, but then again, I'm crazy.......................
Streeteasy is the best tool you can use right now for any apartment searches. But, as always contact a knowledgable broker who can assist you with the most up-to-date information. Streeteasy will not let you know about listings that will come on the market soon...
Whatever happened to apt23? Did her husband get freed?
Thanks - I hope you're right.
They should. Just include the letter in the package and make a note of it in the application regardless of whether they have a separate line asking for expected 2014 income.
I've posted here in the past and have gotten great information. To make a long story short, an ex and I purchased a co-op together nine months ago and now it's time for me to try to buy her out. I spoke with management and confirmed that a new application is needed despite my being a current resident.
I am putting together the application and am filling out financial info. My current salary is certainly rather low, however, in two months I will be starting a new job that is more than double my current yearly salary. I have a signed offer letter that dictates my new, much higher salary. With this income, it will be pretty obvious ( in my opinion) that I will be able to afford the apt. I will not have a mortgage, by the way, and will be buying her out fully in cash.
Can / will the board take my new offer letter into consideration? Anyone have experience with this?
(Second attempt to post this, so I'm sorry if this discussion is elsewhere.)
First time poster here, but long-time lurker.
Our board has had a request to allow a non-member shareholder be present at an interview for a potential new shareholder in our co-op. Apparently he's had issues with the shareholders who are moving out. His comment to us, "Some boards allow this."
I don't care what other boards do, I think an interview is a stressful enough situation for an applicant without inviting random shareholders to be present. I won't vote to allow it. And I'm not sure what his goal is. To have veto power over the board vote? To lecture any potential buyer?
I am, however, curious. Has anyone been in a situation where a non-member was allowed to be present at an interview? If so, why did you allow it, and how did it work out?
Our board received a request from a resident shareholder, who is not a member of our board, to be present at the interview for potential buyers of the apartment next to his. Apparently there have been "issues" between the neighbors. The shareholder's comment to us was, "Some boards allow this."
Well, I don't care what "some" boards do, I think an interview is stressful enough for the applicants without bringing in a random shareholder to witness the interview. I'm not comfortable with this and I voted no on this request.
I am, however, curious. I'm sure that somewhere there is a board that allows non members to be present at board interviews. Has anyone ever been involved in such a situation? If so, why did you allow it, and how did it work out?
You likely can find the identity of at least the board president or secretary by looking at building permit applications, which are signed by a representative of the condo.
Crescent - just part of my continuing education.
jelji13 - thank you for sharing; glad your building is now solid.
You really have to check out the recent history of the Board and the managing agent for each building at the time you buy.
I lived through a conversion where the managing agents were "babes in the woods" compared to the corrupt Board members, floating personal loans to each other and hiring incompetent relatives for capital improvements. After 25 years, the Board and managing agent are fine. Things changed as there was a lot of turnover in the building.
I lived in another building where the fired three managing agent in a row that were all subsequently named in scandals across the city. The last managing agent was fine for a while until they brought in someone new to handle the building. All of a sudden, the Board was receiving dunning notices for all major utilities, etc. Apparently they were co-mingling funds with other coops/condos and using our money to pay the bills of other buildings, telling us on monthly reports that our bills were paid. The Board had a show down with the principals of the company and implemented safeguards; end of problem. (I subsequently found out from someone who quit that company that this new hire was doing worse in other buildings; he was crediting the sponsor apartments with maintenance payments that did not make and getting a kickback from the sponsor. All sorts of emergency repairs were being padded to cover this up. )
Novice, finally buying?
we received and sent the commitment letter with our board package and decided to just deal with the lack of financial approval after we purchased, since it didn't seem like we would have any answers and didn't want to screw up our interview.
However, the board declined us anyway. I wonder if this is because no one ever told then why our loan was taking so long ( they have only had cash buyers there for quite a while). I was really concerned that none of the brokers or sellers were conveying this info to the coop board and now I think I was right to be concerned and it lead to our rejection?
Ali, I agree that it would be rude if a potential applicant began to explain the "weaknesses" of the building. I wouldn't consider it rude, though, for an applicant to ask a small, self-managed building open-ended questions like:
"I see that the building has $5k in reserves. Can you tell me more about your plans for reserve levels?"
"I learned that Big Bank Lender X and Big Bank Lender Y will not finance in the building due to [reason]. Have you encountered this previously?" That might be enough to get you what you need, depending on how talkative the person is. If not, perhaps a follow-up question like "Do you have plans to make the building more attractive to Big Bank lenders?"
I think there are ways you can ask the question artfully to get the information you need without seeming too rude or pushy.
Just an add on. Coops will require (a) complete purchase application with all itemized document requests, (b) conditional loan committment from lender and (c) 3-sets of original aztec recognition agreements. Items (b) and (c) are bank docs sent over once underwriting provides that conditional approval. There still may be some conditions listed to close, but those are typically finalized after the coop approval comes in. After board approval, the bank's 'clear to close' is one of the last things to happen prior to setting up your actual closing date.
Ali's timeline is correct from brokers' point of view.
With that said, I dont know what ur atty or broker is advising you here? Once the condition loan committment + aztecs arrive, that package should already be complete and ready to turn into mgmt immediately. The contract itself might have verbiage saying the package must be handed in within X days of receipt of conditional loan commitment letter. Usually 5 days, but as Ali said us brokers are not atts so ask ur atty this question.
As for your last question, mgmt should shed color on what is causing ur bldg to be declined by major lenders. When problems like this arise usually the corporation or condo will take steps to reverse the negative issues or provide the lender with updated docs to get back on their "approved" list.
Now we can't ungray front porch - another valued poster gone completeliy to gray!!!
The "usual" process is: Loan Commitment Letter > Board Package Submitted (though, oddly, I have seen buildings that will take a package without an LCL) > Package Reviewed by Managing Agent > Package Reviewed by Board > Applicant Invited to Interview with Board > Board Approval, if Granted > Applicant Clears the Last of the Conditions from the LCL > Attys Schedule Closing > Closing.
HOWEVER, this is all from the POV of a real estate broker. This is simply my experience of how it "traditonally" works.
I am NOT an attorney, and I am not offering legal advice. That said, meeting with the board without being invited to an interview is really an unusual strategy, and I wouldn't attempt it without clearing it with your attorney first.
Also consider: certainly if I were a board member, and a potential applicant began to explain to me the "weaknesses" of my building, I would consider that conduct... rude at best. Remember that these people are also investors in this corporation, and additionally are giving up their free time to consider potential shareholders. Lad is right that small buildings can operate differently, but it does sound like you're pushing for a turndown.
What's wrong with that?
Do realize that if your behavior is at all out of the ordinary -- which to my mind includes an unusual meeting with the board or even a scheduled meeting with the board where the applicant is confrontational --- and if you're turned down, the seller has a pretty good claim to say that you met all the other contract conditions, then threw the interview, and he/she has a right to keep your deposit.
It sounds like you want out of this deal, but keep in mind that that exit, if mishandled, might cost your your escrow money. Again, talk to your attorney before you do ANYTHING.
Hey, everyone. Does anyone have wisdom regarding sublet fees being raised after you've got a tenant in place? That is, when my tenant moved in the fee was $150, but two months later the board changed their policy and it went up to $175 a month. Am I beholden to the tide and I have to go with the changes, or should I remain on the initial contract when the tenant moved in?
Thanks so much,