Tips for selling your share of a co-op

Not just anybody can buy your share of a co-op. Housing cooperatives are quite common in New York, but the ownership interest in a co-op works very differently than owning an individual home. Taxes and repairs are shared, and there are a lot of advantages to pooling your resources -- but reselling often requires finding someone that the co-op will accept as a buyer.

That may be harder than you think. Even famous, well-connected people can be rejected from a co-op for one reason or another. Pop icon Madonna, for example, was rejected over fears that the co-op she wanted to join would be stalked forever after by paparazzi and fans. President Richard Nixon was also declined membership in a co-op.

You need the co-op board's approval to make your deal, so here are the steps you need to take:

Find out the rules

Your co-op board has done this before, so they will have information on the right application forms, the approval process, the rules surrounding any down payments and more. Find out exactly what issues might prove problematic to buyers in advance.

In addition, talk to a couple of co-op board members personally. It's okay to tell them that you're planning to sell and get their take on what sort of red flags in a buyer should alarm you.

Always check the financials

Most of the time, it's financial issues that make a buyer unattractive to the board. If your buyer doesn't have totally impeccable financial records, you may have a problem getting the board to sign off.

This is a totally practical concern for the board; They want to know that your buyer has enough money to afford maintenance issues, closing costs and a down payment and still have funds in reserve in case of an emergency or temporary job loss.

If you need help with the sale or acquisition of a co-op, find out how an attorney may be able to assist you.