Some of the more common road blocks that make any given condominium difficult to finance:
1. Owner-Occupancy Ratio must be at least 50% - If more tenants/investors than owner-occupants, the unit may not be able to be financed with just 10% down. This is probably the most common reason a lender will not finance any given condo building, says Jason Griesser of Trident Mortgage. Owner-Occupancy ratios are key to financing a condo.
2. One entity owns more than 10% of building- like the original developer or a single investor. This will generally signal to a lender that the project may be more rental based than owner-occupant based, and loans for such properties are often rejected by underwriters for lenders.
3. Commercial Space - There is more than 25% of the building space that is zoned or used as commercial space many lenders will balk at loaning on such condo buildings. I see this issue on many low rise styled condo building conversion projects here in Philadelphia, particularly in the Brownstone styled condos, says Zachary Skidmore a Realtor based in the Center City area of downtown Philadelphia.
4. Lawsuits - If ongoing lawsuits either against the building, the
association, or the association has initiated a lawsuit against say the developer, such actions can hamper the lending process on these associations or the condo building. Lawsuits raise an immediate red flag to lenders.
5. FHA Mortgages- One Third of the building must be sold or under contract, and if the building has not secured prior FHA approved, no spot approval allowed- the building must go through the FHA approval process in it's entirety, according to the Fannie Mae website.
6-7. Association Reserves and Insurance- Generally, lenders will scrutinize the Association to assure that there is10% of the annual budget in reserves, and the Master Insurance Policy must have a Fidelity Bond rider, which protects the association against any Condominium Board member has sticky fingers and decides to run off with the reserves the building has accumulated.
Almost all of these requirements are not applicable when a buyer looks to purchase a single family residential home. As the default rate on condominiums has accelerated, lenders are placing restrictions on lending to those looking towards a condominium purchase, and have been putting standards in place in an effort to reduce the possibility that a loan default may occur.
Mark Wade is a realtor with Prudential Fox and Roach who specializes in the sale of Center City Condos in the downtown Philadelphia area. See his web site at http://www.CenterCityCondos.com, his blog at http://www.Blog.CenterCityCondos.com or call him at 215.521.1523.