Trying to buy a condo could get messy -- so be prepared

Many people in New York City may be looking for a new place to live as the winter approaches. Instead of looking at an apartment or trying to buy a home, many New Yorkers may consider applying for a place in a co-operative or a condominium. Each of these residences comes with its own set of challenges when applying. For a co-op, the process is very difficult. The background check is extensive, and you may even feel it borders on inappropriate. But, co-ops are entitled to perform such a thorough vetting process for potential residents. Even if you pass, the co-op board can reject you.

Applying for a condominium is different in a lot of ways; primarily because you are actually purchasing real estate when you obtain a condo. However, you can be rejected for an open condominium spot if the condo board upholds their right of first refusal, thus matching your offer on the condo.

This is a rare move by condo boards, though. They have a small timeframe to complete such a move after an open condo has an offer on it; and even then, the board's bylaws may make it very difficult for the potential condo owner to be rejected.

For those applying for a new condo, remember to organize yourself and have a lot of paperwork ready just in case the condo board seeks a serious background check. Meanwhile, for condo boards: you may want to seek an experienced real estate attorney to help you navigate your bylaws or to give you advice in regards to the legal consequences of invoking provisions in your bylaws.

Source: New York Times, "Hurdles for Condo Buyers," Lisa Prevost, Oct. 3, 2013