By Bob Gourley
Did your condominium make the list? Take a minute right now and find out!
Enter the following web address into your computer’s web browser:
The web page you see before you allows you to sort through the thousands of FHA-approved condominium communities across the nation. You can leave most of the fields blank except for Zip Code. Enter your zip code and click on the Send button. The list you are now looking at is the list of FHA-approved condominiums within your zip code. Is your condominium on the list? You can breathe a little easier if it is. If it isn’t, it may be time for you to take action. Either way, I have some ideas on how to explain the impact of FHA approval on your condominium’s economic viability and the ability of unit buyers, sellers, and owners who choose to refinance to obtain future mortgages.
I can’t imagine anyone not being aware of our nation’s banking crisis. How could anyone have missed the headlines about questionable lending processes that lead to risky mortgages that ultimately failed and threatened to take down our country’s largest financial institutions? Fallout from these failures and bailouts continue to be front page news. But there is a local element to this story that can be easily overlooked. Forgetting to tell this story can mean big trouble for your condominium association. Here’s why.
Congress created the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) in 1934. The FHA became a part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Housing in 1965. The best source of FHA information is the official HUD website which you will find at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD. This is an official government site and, after spending an hour or so on the site, I can report it is a typical government website with lots of facts and statistics. It is a good resource, albeit a not very exciting one.
So, where should you go for useful information for your condominium association? I may be bit partial to the Community Association Institution as I am a member but I find their “Mortgage Matters” section of their website particularly useful in keeping up with the changes and how they affect my community. The website address is http://www.caionline.org/govt/MortgageMatters/FHA/Pages/default.aspx. Here you will find an array of useful articles that can help you explain the importance of making and keeping your condominium association eligible for FHA-approved mortgages as well as other relevant and timely articles on FHA and its impact on condominiums. Be the first to know important news that affects your community!
Like it or not, FHA approval for mortgages to buyers and owners of condominium units is likely here to stay. What’s worse is that the rules of qualification are likely to get tougher for condominium associations. Should you decide to dismiss this important information, don’t be surprised when you find unit owners asking why FHA approval was never sought. You can imagine the anger that will be caused when mortgages are denied based on the property’s lack of qualification, not the person seeking the mortgage.
This story will be told in your community, one way or the other. My advice is to get in front of it and get your condominium on the FHA approval list now, before you find yourself defending your lack of approval, or worse, defending the fact that the condominium never even sought approval.