How to Make an Offer on a Co-op

How to Make an Offer on a Co-op
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When buying a co-op, you're actually buying shares in a corporation that owns the building. Regardless of the owner's decision, potential buyers need the approval of the co-op board to close on the property. Structuring a written offer for a co-op unit can be a bit more complex than a traditional residential property offer. Sellers consider the offering price but also look for a buyer who can make it past the board to the closing table.

Hire a qualified real estate agent who has experience in your local co-op market. She can research comparable sales in the building and surrounding area and help you arrive at an appropriate offering price. She also can help you meet the financial requirements necessary to buy a co-op by connecting you with lenders who finance such sales.

Get preapproved for a mortgage. You can bolster your offer by including a preapproval letter from your lender stating you're in good financial standing and can afford the sale price and down payment. Like other real estate offers, co-op boards won't consider an offer without a mortgage preapproval letter.

Draw up a sales contract to buy the co-op unit. Real estate agents use boilerplate sales contract forms that comply with state and local laws, so you don't need to draft one on your own. The sales contract -- which serves as the offer -- should include the address of the property, an offering price and the terms and conditions of the purchase. Though not essential, including a financial statement may substantiate your offer and show the owners -- and the board -- that you meet the co-op's financial requirements to purchase.

Present any contingencies. For example, if your ability to purchase the co-op is contingent on selling another property, this should be presented in the offer. Most commonly, offers include a mortgage contingency, meaning the offer is contingent upon the buyer gaining the loan underwriter's final approval.

Submit your offer. Each time either party makes a change to the written offer, the other party has the option to accept it, reject it, or counter again. The document only becomes binding when both parties agree to the price and all contract terms.