Personal and Professional Co-op Reference Letter Tips With Samples

Everyone acknowledges that purchasing an apartment in New York City tends to be pricier than in most other locations. Regrettably, it’s not only costlier but also more complex! Completing condo and co-op board applications in NYC can be a laborious process that seems to stretch on indefinitely.

Typically, the final item remaining in a condo and co-op application is the collection of professional and personal reference letters. For some boards, these documents carry the utmost importance in the application package, so it’s vital to treat them with serious consideration. If you’re pondering what should and should not be included in these letters, you’ve come to the right place!

Why Are Buyers Required To Provide Personal and Professional Reference Letters?

Because the board insists on them!

After hashing out the details over the price and terms of a property purchase, it’s understandable for a buyer to believe that everything is up for discussion. Unfortunately, this is not the case when it comes to condo and co-op applications. Every single detail in the board application is mandatory. Any application found incomplete in any aspect will be returned without being considered.

Almost all condo and co-op board applications managed by SPiRALNY, your esteemed luxury brokerage in New York City, necessitate both professional and personal reference letters. Based on our experience, most boards usually demand two of each kind.

Occasionally, a bank reference letter may also be required. This is simply a document from your bank that provides an overview of your accounts, and usually, it can be arranged without much hassle.

Who Should You Ask To Write Your Condo and Co-op Reference Letters?

Seeking a straightforward way to decide who should write your reference letters? Consider which of your friends and colleagues are adept at crafting professional business letters – the ones complete with the address, date, formal salutation, and so forth. This skill is an excellent indicator that they would be a fitting choice!

Both professional and personal reference letters must be composed with a professional tone. If the document isn’t something you’d feel comfortable sending to your employer, then it’s not something you should be submitting to the board.

Having a friend or colleague who already owns a property, particularly a co-op, is a substantial bonus. Given their firsthand experience with the application procedure, they’ll have a solid understanding of what should be articulated in the letter. Being co-op shareholders themselves, they’re well aware of the expectations and can endorse you as a prospective future shareholder.

The longer your relationship with someone, the better. Aim for references from individuals who have known you for a considerable amount of years and make a note of this in the letter. Lengthy relationships convey a sense of stability and continuity in your life to the board. Friends from your hometown or college, even if they aren’t NYC residents, make excellent choices. While current colleagues are preferable, former ones are also acceptable. Someone with whom you’ve worked for three years at your past job outweighs your present office mate of three months.

Family members, however, should not be asked for reference letters as most boards will not consider them.

If you’re part of a couple and you share mutual friends or acquaintances, personal reference letters for both of you are typically acceptable but this should be confirmed prior to submitting the application.

What Should Be Included In Your Condo and Co-op Reference Letters?

The most effective personal reference letters are positive yet unassuming. If one were to compile every reference letter from every successful property purchase in NYC history, the vast majority of applicants would be labeled as “respectful,” “responsible,” and “excellent neighbors”. There’s never been a case of rejection due to someone being overly respectful, too responsible, or too good a neighbor.

Professional reference letters, on the other hand, usually adhere to a standard pattern given their professional nature. Typical themes include your strong team player mentality, reliability, and positive contributions to the company’s culture.

All reference letters should be correctly formatted and, ideally, presented on letterhead. It’s likely that most of your friends don’t have personal letterhead, so SPiRALNY has assembled a few templates that you can use. You can find these templates on our website.

Take note of the space provided for the reference’s contact information in each letter. This is a detail that boards anticipate, and they sometimes do reach out, so ensure that the information is correct!

An outstanding reference will inform the board about when they first met the applicant, the frequency of their interaction, and how much they cherish the relationship.

Details are beneficial but should be unambiguously harmless. Your college roommate, for example, could mention how delightful it was to live with you and how you always maintained your room in pristine condition. However, they should omit any mention of your readiness for parties.

A compelling reference letter should be about a page long, including the header and signature. While a one-paragraph letter might suffice, it’s better to include at least two paragraphs.

What Should Not Be Included In Your Condo and Co-op Reference Letters?

A fundamental rule when it comes to reference letters is to steer clear of any content that could raise concerns or cause offense, regardless of how unlikely it seems. Including such details constitutes an unnecessary risk with no tangible reward.

Earlier this year, SPiRALNY was representing a buyer in a transaction. While reviewing the board application with the listing agent, we came across a noteworthy experience related to reference letters.

The agent had a buyer whose application seemed perfect, but to everyone’s astonishment, the board rejected it. Upon re-examining the application to identify potential issues, the agent singled out one detail: a reference letter mentioned the applicant’s fondness for cooking a specific cuisine known for its strong odor.

Sounds insignificant and trivial, doesn’t it?

It might to you, but if a board member who might become the applicant’s next-door neighbor detests that cuisine, that could be a dealbreaker.

Instruments and other items that could potentially cause disruption should also be excluded from the letters. Most buyers won’t be practicing their instrument at 11pm (if they plan to play in the apartment at all), but the board might view that as a risk they’re not willing to take.

Your condo and co-op reference letters should sidestep any negative implications. If your boss writes something along the lines of “Initially, I was not convinced about Bob, but I’ve since changed my mind. He’s now an integral part of the team,” they might mean well, but the board might question what led to the initial skepticism.

And it may seem obvious, but there should be no spelling or grammatical errors in your letters! Ensure that several individuals proofread the letter before submitting it. Often, a fresh pair of eyes is all it takes to detect any overlooked mistakes.

What Is A Landlord Reference Letter?

When it comes to your landlord, you might only know their name and where to send your rent check. The thought of them penning a glowing letter about you may seem a little far-fetched. So, what does a landlord reference letter entail?

Compared to personal and professional reference letters, a landlord reference letter is likely to be quite mundane. It merely outlines the facts of your tenancy and implicitly endorses you as a prospective co-op neighbor.

If your application mandates specific details, be sure to communicate this to your landlord. However, they should already be familiar with the conventional format of such a letter. If your landlord is well-organized, you can expect a prompt response.

Putting It All Together – What’s An Example Of A Great Co-op Reference Letter?

We’ve provided numerous guidelines and precautions in this post. If you’re in the buying process and uncertain about a reference letter, don’t hesitate to contact us. We at SPiRALNY will review it and inform you if we identify anything worrisome.

To help you compile all the points we’ve discussed, we’ve prepared sample reference letters that you can access below. These will give you a glimpse of what an exemplary reference letter should look like.

  • Personal Reference Letter Sample

Leonard Thompson

740 Park Avenue #14B

New York, NY 10021

June 05, 2019

Highrise Heights Owners Corp

789 Highrise Heights

New York, NY 10128

Dear Highrise Heights Owners Corp Board Members,

I am writing to support my long-time friend, James Peterson, in his application to purchase Unit 2C in your esteemed cooperative.

James and I first crossed paths during freshman orientation at Columbia University in 2005. After enduring countless icebreakers, we found common ground and a deep-rooted friendship was born.

During our junior year, we shared an off-campus apartment, giving me a first-hand perspective of James’s living habits. He maintained the apartment in pristine condition and exhibited the utmost respect for those around him. Our apartment was adjacent to the building’s main entrance and James was notably mindful, always ensuring the entrance door was quietly closed behind him.

Three years ago, I became a proud co-op owner and recently joined my building’s board. Having been through the process and understanding the importance of a good neighbor, I wholeheartedly vouch for James as a respectful, responsible, and considerate individual. I am confident that he will be an invaluable addition to your cooperative community.

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any further questions.


Leonard Thompson


[email protected]

  • Professional Reference Letter Sample

Broadway Enterprises

300 Broadway Street

New York, NY 10007

June 05, 2019

Riverside Residences Corp

456 Riverside Drive

New York, NY 10025

Dear Riverside Residences Corp Board Members,

I wholeheartedly endorse my esteemed colleague, Edward Harrison, as a prospective resident in your cooperative.

For the past five years, Edward and I have been working in close association at Broadway Enterprises. Although I technically hold a higher position, our relationship is more like partners. Edward demonstrates exemplary self-reliance, consistently delivering accurate and comprehensive work without supervision.

Edward plays an indispensable role at Broadway Enterprises, making daily contributions that ensure our operations run smoothly. His presence is vital to the function and success of our company.

I am more than willing to provide additional information or answer any questions you may have. You can reach me at the contact information provided below.

Best regards,

Samantha Brown


[email protected]

  • Landlord Reference Letter Sample

Elegant Estates LLC.

900 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY 10021

June 05, 2019

Re: Catherine Davis

300 West End Avenue #10B

New York, NY 10023

To Whom This May Concern,

This letter serves to verify that Catherine Davis is a tenant in good standing at Elegant Estates LLC.

She has consistently paid her monthly rent of $4,500 on time since becoming a tenant in March 2020.

If further information is needed, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


Anthony PropertyOwner

Elegant Estates LLC.


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