Condo mortgages come with slightly higher rates than single-family homes
Some condos are “Warrantable” and some are “Non-Warrantable”
*as defined by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the two Government Sponsored Enterprises who purchase and sell mortgages on the secondary market)
*A high number of vacancies can also negatively affect the condo’s status
When buying a condo, ask your real estate agent to inquire about the building’s warrantability before you go any further.
On January 1, 2022, the updated Fannie Mae condominium lending guidelines went into effect. Fannie Mae Lender Letter (LL-2021-14) specifically states that new guidelines are necessary to combat aging infrastructure and significant deferred maintenance in condominiums in the wake of the tragic collapse of the Champlain South Tower in Surfside, Florida. The new condominium requirements, as outlined below, will apply to all loans in attached condominiums with 5 or more units. Specifically, condominium associations must be aware of the following changes:
Loans secured by units in a condominium with significant deferred maintenance or that have received a directive from a regulatory authority or inspection agency to make repairs due to unsafe conditions will no longer be eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae. Significant deferred maintenance is defined as any one of the following:
In order to determine whether significant deferred maintenance exists, Fannie Mae has indicated that its best practice for lenders is to review the past six months of a condominium association’s meeting minutes and obtain information about any maintenance or construction that may have significant safety, soundness, structural integrity, or habitability impacts on the unit or the project. References to items such as improvements, renovations, inadequate reserve funding, budget deficits, and negative cash-flows should be researched to determine if these items are related to deferred maintenance or other conditions that impact the safety, soundness, structural integrity, or habitability. Fannie Mae has also recommended that lenders review any available inspection, engineering, or other certification reports completed within the past five years to identify deferred maintenance that may need to be addressed.
Fannie Mae will now require all condo lenders to determine whether the condominium association has imposed any special assessments. The lender must document the loan file with the following:
If the special assessment is related to safety, soundness, structural integrity, or habitability, all related repairs must be fully completed, or the project is not eligible. Additionally, if the lender or appraiser is unable to determine that there is no adverse impact, the project is ineligible.
In Fannie Mae Lender Letter (LL-2021-14), Fannie Mae clarified that not every defect in a condominium will prevent a potential purchaser from obtaining a loan. Specifically, the following types of issues will not make a condominium project ineligible:
On December 15, 2021, Freddie Mac issued Bulletin 2021-38: Temporary Condominium and Cooperative Project Requirements and Topic 5600 Reorganization – CRC – Single Family – Freddie Mac. The requirements contained in Bulletin 2021-31 will become effective on February 28, 2022. Similar to the Fannie Mae Bulletin, Bulletin 2021-31 states that the purposes of tightening the lending requirements is due to increased risk after the Champlain Towers South collapse in Surfside, Florida. The Freddie Mac requirements apply to all condominium loans in in projects with five or more attached units.
Bulletin 2021-38 is similar to the Fannie Mae lending guidelines, but speaks in terms of not lending in condominiums that have “significant critical repairs”, which are defined as follows:
Repairs and replacements that significantly impact the safety, soundness, structural integrity or habitability of the project’s building(s) and/or that impact unit values, financial viability or marketability of the project. These repairs and replacements include:
Freddie Mac has indicated the following forms of documentation are acceptable in determining that a condominium does not have any significant critical repairs:
Similar to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac will now require all condo lenders to determine whether the condominium association has imposed any special assessments. The lender must review the following with respect to each special assessment: