Financing a Condo
Down Payment Requirements to Finance a Condo
The condo association or elected board in some buildings may require larger down payments when financing a condo to hedge against default. They usually require larger equity positions in purchases to protect communal assets. The reasoning is that if a buyer has a substantial amount of equity in the unit, they are less likely to default on their mortgage. Defaults lead to missed payments of association dues which causes financial burdens on the rest of the unitholders and jeopardizes the building’s budget.
Some condo associations require a 20% down payment. If you’re looking to purchase a condo, be sure to check with the Association to see if they have imposed a minimum down payment requirement. They may also have a minimum credit score for purchasing. You don’t want to get under contract to purchase a condo and pay for an appraisal and inspection, just to find out that you can’t purchase in the building. Don’t waste your time and money, find out about down payment and credit score requirements upfront. If you’re struggling to save for a down payment, consider down payment assistance programs.
The Condo Questionnaire
When financing a condo, lenders will require a condo questionnaire to evaluate the budget and any legal action against the association. Government-backed loans like FHA and VA may require budgeted reserves and planned contributions to mitigate their risk. If you plan on purchasing a condo with a government-backed loan, ask your lender for a list of buildings that are already FHA / VA approved. As of August 2019, lenders can perform single-unit approvals which allow you to purchase in a building that has not been FHA /VA approved. Be sure that you have a full understanding of the single unit approval process before committing. This is not an easy task and could require additional time and effort to get to the closing table.
FannieMae’s Condo Questionnaires:
- Condominium Project Questionnaire—Full Form (Form 1076) contains a list of eligibility questions to support a Full Review, and
- Condominium Project Questionnaire—Short Form (Form 1077) contains a shorter list of questions to facilitate a Limited Review.
FreddyMac’s Condo General Project Eligibility Requirements:
- Streamlined Reviews (Guide Section 5701.4)
- Established Condominium Projects (Guide Section 5701.5)
- New Condominium Projects (Guide Section 5701.6)
- Reciprocal Project Reviews (Guide Section 5701.9)