Are you currently working with a condo buyer who only qualifies for an FHA loan? If so, you may be finding it difficult to find buildings that are FHA approved. A few years ago, the FHA changed it’s rules regarding approving single condos in what was called a “spot approval.” In short, they did away with them. Now, the entire building has to meet FHA approval, which has really limited the amount of options for FHA condo buyers.
But don’t fret – it’s not too difficult to get your seller client’s building approved! The cost for the approval is usually minimal (between $200 and $500), and the benefits are abundant. There are certain mortgage consultants who specialize in this approval and do most of the work for you. Here’s how they help you do it:
1. Preliminary Qualification Review – The lender will ask for a completed FHA Condo Project Approval Questionnaire (provided by the lender) and the current budget. He or she will then review those documents, at no charge, to see if the project will qualify. If there are issues, they can offer suggestions to the developer or association as to how they can bring the project into compliance.
2. Required Documentation – If the project appears eligible, the lender will then ask for a list of required documents, such as recorded declaration and by-laws, plat of survey, etc. This list will be provided to the condo association to help facilitate the gathering of documents.
3. Final Approval – All of the required documents are reviewed and the final approval should be ready in two to four weeks. This time frame all depends on how quickly the documents are gathered.
It’s just that easy. The hardest part is the waiting, which is why it is best to start the approval process before the condo is listed. I have actually had to work backwards with a past client and get the building approved as the buyer’s agent. We were able to get it approved and the buyers were able to close but it would have gone much quicker had the work already been done.
If you’re trying to convince your sellers on whether to get the building approved, here are some benefits of the FHA approval:
- More buyers can buy your client’s condo!
- The buyer can put down less than 5
- There can be 25 percent commercial space in the building, opposed to 20 percent
- If the building is already FHA approved, a VA approval is much easier
- The cost for the approval is minimal
- Did I mention that more buyers can buy your client’s condo?
Good luck with your FHA buyers, and please reach out to me if you need a lender recommendation who specializes in these approvals.
Anna Mayer-Huls is a broker associate with @properties in Chicago. She can be reached at:
1875 North Damen
Chicago, IL 60647