Once unthinkable, the virtual interview between apartment buyers and co-op boards has become almost routine due to the stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic. The question now becomes: will the virtual interview endure after the pandemic recedes? Brick Underground lists the reasons why the answer might very well be yes.
Convenience. New Yorkers are typically busy, and to align their schedules – even for an hour – can be tricky, says Alexis Carpinello, an agent at Elegran. She’s had several boards arrange successful virtual interviews recently, and she says it’s a convenience that would be beneficial even when social distancing isn't keeping people at home. “You're much more apt to be able to dip into a spare office on your lunch break than you are able to get across town for an interview,” she says.
A glimpse into the buyer’s world. One board member who conducted an interview on the Upper West Side recently says seeing the buyer’s surf board propped up against the wall of her living room brought the buyer to life in a way that could never have happened at a conference room table. The surfboard was also consistent with the hobbies she listed in her board package, which “added authenticity,” says the board member.
Another advantage for a board is that they might get to see other members of the buyer’s household, whether that’s children or the dog. Gerard Splendore, a broker at Warburg Realty, says that in a recent remote co-op board interview, the buyer’s pet made an appearance. “Seeing the dog in the apartment and having the dog behave was beneficial to both sides,” Splendore says.
Cheat sheets and text messages. The advantages aren't exclusively for board members. Buyers have the benefit of being able to have a cheat sheet for their finances. It’s not something you’d be advised to take to an in-person interview.
For board members, another perk is that they can text each other while the interview is taking place, either to keep the questions on track or share thoughts about the candidate.
Less stress. “I think it's safe to say that once boards have gotten a flavor for the amount of stress that is alleviated by taking advantage of virtual meetings, they'll be more inclined to embrace it in the future," says Carpinello.
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