Take heed: the rich don’t always have it easy. One would think if a buyer could saunter into a co-op and plunk down all sorts of mad cash for the property of his dreams, he’d be in like Flynn. Not so, say many in the New York City real estate world. If cash is king, social status is queen, and seemingly in the world of co-op purchases you can’t have one without the other.
“It has to do with what clubs you belong to, what philanthropies you have, what school you went to, where you spend your weekends, who wrote your letters,” explains Warburg broker Claire Groome to the Observer.
For those hoping that the influx of “new” money in the city would have a relaxing effect on strict co-op boards, think again. There seems to be a disagreement among brokers about whether rigidity abounds.
For instance, A. Laurance Kaiser IV of Key Ventures Realty suggests that they have become more lenient: “Having been in the business 48 to 50 years, I think boards are much more relaxed about the purchase process. Religious, racial and sexual orientation, discrimination against those things really doesn’t exist in most buildings anymore.” But other agents disagree, saying that snobbishness abounds.
“Have they loosened up? I don’t think so,” Barbara Fox of Fox Residential told the Observer. “I have not dealt with any that have been particularly looser than they used to be. And after the financial collapse of 2007 to 2008, they got even worse.”
And because boards do not have to give reasons for a turn-down — although legislature has recently been introduced that would mandate co-op boards to put into writing why they had rejected an applicant — this leaves real estate agents scrambling to best assist their monied, but un-pedigreed clients. Those in the know implore such tactics as advising interviewees to tone down ostentatious status symbols such as bags and jewelry, as well as submitting letters from socially acceptable friends to help the cause.