I'm shopping for a co-op, and I have two young children. Will they have to do anything as part of my application for an apartment, like come to the board interview or get reference letters? Will I get turned down if they don't like my kids?
It’s a curious feature of the co-op application process in New York City: board members will scrutinize your dog’s behavior and breeding, with some going so far as to “interview” Rover or review his training certificates, but won’t do the same for a buyer's kids. For you, that means your little ones get a pass, our experts say.
“When I first read this, I had to look at the calendar but alas it is not April 1. I have never in my 22 years [of working in real estate] heard of a board asking to interview children nor asking for reference letters for children,” says Douglas Heddings, the executive vice president of sales at the brokerage CORE?. “Oh, and I would be stunned to hear that someone was turned down over their kids. But with a co-op, no one ever knows as they do not have to provide a reason for denial.”
Likewise, Deanna Kory, a broker at the Corcoran Group, has never heard of a board interviewing children, especially if they’re on the younger side. “It's one thing if there were older children that were going to be part of the family and they were using [the co-op] on a periodic basis, but even then I haven't had that happen.”
That said, it doesn’t hurt to have your own references gush about your children in their recommendation letters, notes Heddings. (For more on putting together reference letters, click here.) “If your children are ‘challenging,’ you can tell your friends to skip that,” he says.
It's also worth keeping in mind that boards increasingly check Google, Facebook and Twitter for clues to a buyer's worthiness, and they'll check your kids' pages too. If Junior has some questionable content up there -- one Upper East Side co-op found ties to a hate group on the Facebook page of a potential buyer's child -- the prospect of a board application might provide the perfect excuse to delete it.
Leigh Kamping-Carder is a senior editor at BrickUnderground.com, the online survival guide to finding a NYC apartment and living happily ever after. To see more expert answers or to ask a real estate question, click here.