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How to Buy

A New York City Apartment

Whether you’re buying a co-op or a condo resale, your purchase usually must be approved by the building's board. This involves submitting a 45-page-long, invasive, much bemoaned application package assembled by you and your broker that includes tax returns, recommendation letters, financial statements and much, much more.  Some applications only reach back a couple of years; others go all the way back to the day you graduated from college.

As explained earlier, condos may make you work just as hard as a co-op, but basically have to accept you, unless they exercise their right of first refusal and buy the apartment out from under you. This almost never happens. And in new construction, there is not even an application package.

There are also a couple of situations in which a co-op cannot reject you:

  • “Cond-ops” A few buildings (sometimes referred to as “cond-ops” for their condo-like approvals power) are actually forbidden by their own bylaws from turning down a buyer who satisfies basic conditions for buying .
  • Sponsor sales  (See discussion of sponsor apartments in the section entitled 'Shopping for the perfect apartment' as well as this article)

If your application is approved by a co-op board, you proceed onto the final step: The board interview.  But first….