[Associate David Silver conducted research and assisted me with this post–thanks, Dave!.]
In recent months, I have posted several articles discussing various aspects of condominium and HOA mortgage lending in the wake of the present housing and financial crisis. In early April, I blogged about Congress’ attempts to pass a mortgage modification bill, and, later that month, discussed the effect Fannie Mae’s rules regarding pre-sale of condominium units have had on local markets. Lately, we have received a number of questions on a related topic: condominium projects and FHA-approved status.
Although only a hunch, we attribute this heightened interest in FHA-approved status to the fact that until mid- to late-2008, there were a wide variety of non-FHA, non-conforming mortgage alternatives available (e.g. Alt-A, Non-Income Verified, No-Doc, 100% purchase-money second loans, etc.) to condominium unit buyers. Plus, following the evaporation of those creative mortgage products, the housing market has been generally slow. Consequently, when there were a slew of other mortgage options, potential purchasers did not have to rely so heavily on mortgages underwritten and approved by FHA. Now, however, with most of the “portfolio,” or “non-conforming” mortgage programs discontinued (and transactions picking up, if ever so slightly), FHA underwritten financing has become increasingly attractive—and may be a purchaser’s only option.
If a condominium is not on the FHA-approved list, or has lost its approval because it underwent repairs or litigation, or for some other reason, the board of directors should consider applying for approval (or re-approval, whatever the case may be). You can look to see whether a condominium is approved on the HUD Homes & Communities website located here.
Keep in mind that in some situations, limited “spot-approval” may be obtained by certain buyers for condominiums not otherwise approved.
Currently, HUD is backlogged a month or more in reviewing submitted applications. Thus, should your condominium need to be submitted for approval, keep in mind the process may take some time. Moreover, the work to compile and complete the application package itself can take weeks, and require the board, its manager, and legal counsel to gather data, documents, and expert opinions required for FHA approval. The package of materials that must be submitted can vary from condominium to condominium, and often requires an updated reserve study and certain legal opinions.
For further information on FHA approval requirements, or other issues related to condominium associations, feel free to contact Barker Martin, P.S. by selecting the “Contact” tab at the top of this blog page.