Rent vs Buy in New York>Question Details

Kim, Home Buyer in Jersey City, NJ

Are down payments for co-ops negotiable?

Asked by Kim, Jersey City, NJ Wed Mar 28, 2012

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Mitchell Hall’s answer
Hi Kim,

A buyer negotiates with the seller usually through their broker and a listing broker. A buyer does not negotiate with a coop board. Any negotiating with a coop board would have to be through the seller/shareholder.

There are some coops that will allow a lower down payment from what is stated in the listing data. Most coops require a minimum 20% down and allow a maximum of 80% financing. However some coops will allow 90% financing for very qualified high income buyers. They may also allow a shareholder already living in the building that is upgrading or combining apartments. The apartment combination may require extensive renovations. The coop may prefer the purchaser to have a larger mortgage leaving them more liquid so they will have more or enough cash to complete the work.

Even if they do allow a lower down payment ( maximum 90% financing) under certain circumstances that is not a guarantee that they will approve the purchase.


Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 30, 2012
Mitchell Hall, Real Estate Pro in New York, NY
Hi Kim,

The only time that Down payments are Negotiable is when you are purchasing a sponsor unit (and sometimes not even then), Ask your RE Agent to help you find some sponsor units if the Down payment is an issue. One thing to realize though is that banks will require you to put down a minimum of 10% on a co-op whether it is a sponsor unit or not.

If you are unsure what a Sponsor unit is you can see answers here -…

Let me know if you have any more questions,


609 Kappock Street
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Bronx, NY 10463
(718) 432-5000 (Office)
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1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 28, 2012
No, they are never negotiable. Also, keep in mind you need to have 1 to 2 years worth of maintenance and mortgage payments in the bank as well. This would include all "liquid" cash in banks, Stocks and Bonds. Your debt to income (see how to get that below) if you're downtown needs to be 24-27% and if you're purchasing uptown (i.e. Washington Hts) your debt to income needs to be at 31% or lower. "Some" buildings up there allow 33%.

DEBT TO INCOME Rule of Thumb for a Coop: Take what your montly mortgage payments would be and the monthly maintenance x 12 months.IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER MONTHLY DEBT you have to add it to that calculation as well. Then take your gross salary and divide it into that total. This is what your Debt to Income is.

Nick Rafello
Senior Vice President
Associate Broker
The Corcoran Group
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 28, 2012
Keep in mind that when purchasing co-ops each building is different, and each has their own financial requirements that must be met in order to be approved; generally required downpayments are not negotiable; if you are not working with an agent of your own, consider the idea, he/she can best inform you about specific buildings of interest, their rules, requirements, etc.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 28, 2012
Hi, No they aren't and when you make the down payment the board is going to want to make sure you have at least 6 months of reserves left in the bank. This is also after you pay your closing costs. Financials of a buyer are very important to the board because they don't want to take on any financial liabilities.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 29, 2012
Hi Kim, unfortunately, I have never come across a coop that will negotiate the down payment, even though your bank may approve you for a low down payment FHA maybe, you will need to find a coop that will allow. If you are working with a low down payment, that should be your 1st question to ask when you make a call to an agent Meanwhile keep saving while you look-it will add up. Terry K 718-614-3167 or email
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Mar 28, 2012
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