Owning a home in New York City is a dream come true for many. However, when the time comes to move forward, a cooperative board can turn around selling a NYC home into a nightmare. It happened to me – and here’s my biggest lesson learned: The most crucial step to selling a co-op starts before you even start thinking about selling. Hhere is my story.
I expected the sale of my apartment to go smoothly as real estate runs in my veins. As the daughter of a retired broker, I grew up attending open houses with my mother, helping her compile peers and learning how to stage a home. To this day my idea of fun is to scan real estate. So I knew all the things you needed to do to ensure the best possible offer in your home, which I went on to check out my list.
Prepare a Cooperative Store
Arguably, the most important factor in selling is the condition of the property. And the most critical rooms to grow out of are the kitchen and bathroom. Both should be untouched (think bright clean, fairly up to date, and no leaky faucets). Why? Because if a buyer comes in and thinks they both need a renovation, the value of your home falls immediately. You don’t have to spend a bunch on upgrades. Fresh paint can make a big difference. Luckily, I just renovated both rooms.
I rented storage to ward off excess stuff. This not only cleans homes, but also closets look more spacious. You want every inch of your housing to be Instagram-worthy. So go ahead, hang nice towels and spackle wall cracks. Here’s an advantageous tip: Don’t put things in closets on the day of display, as buyers will look inside.
I researched on how to price my apartment and hired a broker. Sure enough, my agent lined up several buyers who wanted the “superior preview,” a week before my first open house. A bidding war ensued. Luckily, every buyer was a good quality candidate, so I chose the highest bid and canceled the open house. Easy.
Drama With My NYC Cooperative Board
The cooperative board rejected my buyers ’request prior to the interview stage. I didn’t understand. I thought I’d find the perfect buyers. The couple both earned six-figure salaries and had excellent credit, work histories, and DTI – not to mention robust savings. The sale price was also higher than a more greedy one-story upper floor that had just been sold. But because New York laws protect the privacy of a cooperative board, my board had no duty to disclose its reasons.
So my agent reached the second highest bidder and restarted the process. One evening, a real estate agent I saw around the building asked to see my location. Since I shared that same seeming curiosity, I gladly let him in. Shortly afterwards, the board rejected my second buyer.
I lost. I wrote to the cooperative board asking for guidance. I received a letter saying they could not respond.
Mysterious Letter From A Cooperative Board Member
Shortly afterwards, an anonymous note slid under my door to call the newest board member. I rang, and the person confidentially told me that some members disliked my agent. But they did like the agent I had just let into my apartment. And their favorite broker claimed he could sell my site for a higher price after it saw it. I pointed out that my apartment is priced higher than any bedroom in the history of the building, but he said the board believes their a guy could get a lot more.
I lacked options. Almost a year has passed. I had to fire my sweet patient agent and hire the agent who sabotaged me. After that, the process with the third buyer was smooth, although the new agent was able to sell my unit only for a fraction of what he promised to the board because the appraisals did not support it. The board still approved it.
Lessons Learned To Avoid New Delegation Collaborative Drama
Now that I’m serving on the collaborative board of my new building, I can see what I then failed to understand. I unknowingly contributed to the problem. That’s the thing, every member of your cooperative board is a neighbor. And when it’s time to sell, having a history of neighborly behavior with your board can pay off.
I never interacted with anyone on the board before selling my apartment. Sure, I nodded to them in the hallway but didn’t attend any parties. However an disruptive top neighbor, the reason for my sale and which the board refused to investigate, often chatted with the board chairman and vice president, occasionally inviting them for cocktails. Because board members are just people, with their own prejudices and subjective opinions, who don’t take the time to get to know them worked against me. It is no enough to be a “good, quiet shareholder” – always paying maintenance on time and not being a nuisance or a complainant – as I have been for so many years.
Being on the review committee now, I thank the agents familiar with our construction process as they help their clients deliver organized and complete applications. On reflection, I recall that my original agent complained that the board continued to request additional information on the purchase checklist.
An agent who knows the whims (and shortcomings) of your building is an advantage. Approach your co-op board and ask for recommendations, as they may look more favorably on an application delivered by someone they respect. I confess that I moan when I see requests sent by specific agents because I know they will be messed up.
Although the sales process may seem arbitrary, you can check out these key factors: the condition of your home, the quality of your buyer, and – no less – your relationship with some board members. Maximizing these will greatly facilitate the sale of your home.