If you've ever explored real estate Web sites, you know there are ways to refine your search -- dogs or no dogs, smoking or nonsmoking, for example. The same should be true when you're first exploring co-op options. Simply, it's not worth applying with the idea of fighting the board for a one-time exemption for your 120-pound pit bull in a building that doesn't even allow cats.
Check out all the rules, starting with the required level of financing. Are you allowed a mortgage for 25 percent, 50 percent or none of the purchase price? How much cash in liquid assets must you prove, and if you're on the cusp, are you likely to be required to put a certain number of years of maintenance fees into an escrow account to ensure your ability to pay? Does the building allow subletting? If applicable, check specific pet restrictions, including species, breeds and sizes. If needed, are you allowed a guarantor? Are you allowed to use the unit as a pied-a-terre or is full-time habitation a must? Can you work from home?
The co-op board interview isn't the place to discover that you're incompatible with the building rules.