The Headaches of Going Co-op via

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(Photo: Gene Krasko/tibidabobcn/Flickr CC)

(Photo: Gene Krasko/tibidabobcn/Flickr CC)

New York is one of the few U.S. cities that has co-ops, so it’s no surprise that many people know nothing of them. So what is a co-op? And why is it so unique? And is it better than a condo?

Let’s start with a definition of a co-op. In New York, when you buy an apartment in a co-op you own shares of the building — just like the stock market. This, however, comes with a few rules and regulations. You’ll need to be comfortable with the co-op board as they need to approve you before you can buy your co-op.

For instance, I had customers that wanted to buy in a highly selective Fifth Avenue co-op. I put their offer in, and the owner accepted the offer. It took us two months to get all the papers together for the board package, which was the thickest I’ve ever seen. Among other laws from this board included in the package was a rule prohibiting guests staying over for more than a week and a rule requiring the owners to hire their own doorman when having 10 people or more over for dinner. None of this mattered as the board rejected the packages (sans interview), and we never found out why because boards don’t have to stipulate the reasons for their rejection.