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The seller of this one-bedroom Union Terrace co-op needed to relocate—quickly. Her attorney referred her to me and we got to work.

The Russian Hill building, almost a city block long, had several phases of construction underway. Of course, we’d rather not go on the market in the midst of chaos, but we had no choice.

Tricky co-op timing and financing
When selling a co-op, we know to allow extra time. The board has to vet and approve the buyer, which means checking their financials, background and professional life. This can tack on several extra weeks.

Getting board acceptance is heavily influenced by loan approval and the loan approval process is tricky. With a limited number of lenders willing to approve a co-op, most boards avoid endless interviews with prospective buyers by simply waiting until the loan is approved, or at least well on its way.

You’re not selling the unit
I’ve sold many co-ops in San Francisco. Buyers are often surprised that they’re not purchasing a specific unit. Instead, they’re buying a share of the building ownership and occupying what is always referred to as apartment #19.

And here, ongoing special assessments and the structural work underway for the City’s soft-story retrofit requirements created wariness among potential buyers.

Of all the circumstances on our side, one was the seller. She was a rock star. Knowing she’d need help to get all the tasks accomplished, she asked for referrals. I introduced service providers from my network, including a painter, stager and mover.

She engaged them all and got everything done, pronto.

A complicated history
Assessments and construction are red flags to both lenders and buyers. And this building had not been well maintained. But they were making up for lost time.

Now the board was collecting funds and putting in good work to bring it up to speed. The board had a plan for assessments over the next several years, with carefully described timing and purposes. We presented this information in a very positive way.

On the bid date the buyer presented an under-asking offer and I consulted with the seller. She was clear that she wanted the asking price, so I negotiated and was able to deliver it. As luck would have it, someone on the co-op board knew the buyer and vouched for him, which smoothed the process of him being accepted.

Selling a co-op is different than a condo or single family home. If you need someone experienced, get in touch.