How to tell if a condo or townhome is FHA Loan Approved

FHA Condo Association Approval Web siteWhen buying a condo, there is an extra step many home buyers may not understand that can effect the loan.

Lenders will credit qualify the home buyer, and of course do an appraisal review of the property.  But with any condo, the lender also needs to review the association.  This is done on all loans, including conventional, FHA, and VA.

If the buyer is using an FHA Loan, the condo or townhouse will need to have prior FHA Approval. If a condo association is  not FHA approved, it could indicate a problem with the association that could make getting financing in that complex hard or even impossible.

How do I verify a condo association is FHA approved?

It is actually rather simple.  Simply go to the FHA condo website at https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm.

I find it best to search by city or zip code rather than association name. It is the easiest way to get a positive search result.

If the complex is not listed, then it is not approved. If the association not approved, the association needs to get the approval. There is nothing the buyer can do on their own to get the association FHA Approved.

Many times, this forces the potential buy to switch to a conventional loan.  Conventional loans also need condo association approval, but on conventional loans, there is also a pre-approval process. But is the complex is not pre-approved, there IS case-by-case process on conventional loans.

A townhouse may actually be a condo

It looks like a town home, it acts like a town home, but it may legally be a condominium. Don’t assume. Be sure to check with your Realtor or the Association itself. A good rule, but not always is hidden in the legal description.  If it says “Lot and Block”, it is most likely a town home.  If is says “CIC” or Common Interest Community, then it is likely a condo.

Do you already live in a condo that is not FHA Approved?

If you already live in a condo and the association is NOT approved, you should attend the next association meeting to talk about getting the complex approved. Frankly, the lack of an FHA approval means less buyers can buy in your complex, therefore significantly reducing the value of your unit.  It doesn’t cost very much, and is not very difficult for the association to get FHA approval.


Buying a Condo and need financing, beware of some extra steps

Many buyers in the Minneapolis St Paul, along with Duluth, Rochester, and throughout all of MN qualify for FHA financing. FHA is the government backed loan program that allows for just 3.5% down payment. With the changes in the mortgage industry, if you are buying a CONDO, there are extra step and rules you need to be aware of.

When buying a home, lenders approve the buyer, and approve the home. When buying a town home or condo, lenders also have to approve the Association.

Without bothering you with the details, the purpose of this post is to simply make you aware of the extra approval process, and to let you know this additional step can potentially cause a loan denial, but usually just involves a much longer loan approval process.

Everyone using FHA financing to buy a condo should check to see if the condo project is on the FHA-approved (HUD-approved) list. This is an absolute must-read for you! If you want an FHA loan, you can only buy in condo projects that are approved by HUD (the Department of Housing and Urban Development).

HUD has recently made available online a list of the condo projects that are already approved. Before I show you how to access the list, know two things:

(1) If a condo project is on the list, it must still be checked by your lender to make sure it still meets HUD’s requirements (for owner/occupancy ratios, etc.)

(2) If a condo project is not on the list, your lender needs to go through a long process to get it approved. This potentially could delay your closing, or even result in a loan denial if the condo project isn’t ultimately approved. At the least, you should check to see if the project is approved before making any offer on a condo, then ask questions as to why it is not approved.

Condo’s in unapproved projects typically are offered at below market prices because of the inability to get financing. Many of these units are only able to be bought with cash.

Here’s how you check FHA approved Condo list:

(1) Go to HUD’s website at this link: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm.

(2) Fill in the blanks as they pertain to your condo search, and click the ‘send’ button at the bottom of the screen.

Finally, understand with the additional burden on FHA condo financing, you need to make sure you are working with an NMLS Licensed Loan Officer who understand the additional complexities to make your purchase smooth and stress free.