top of page

Guide to Getting a Condo Mortgage: Warrantable and Non Warrantable

Updated: Mar 20

Guide to Getting a Condo Mortgage: Warrantable and Non Warrantable

Are you considering buying a condo but are unsure about how condo mortgages work? Unlike traditional home loans, condo mortgages come with their own unique set of rules and requirements.


This article is designed to demystify the process of acquiring a condo mortgage, explaining everything from definition and workings to pros and cons, giving you practical tips along the way.


Ready to unlock your pathway towards successful homeownership? Let's dive in!


Key Takeaways


✅ A condo mortgage is a type of loan specifically designed for individuals who want to purchase a condominium. It differs from traditional mortgages in terms of ownership responsibilities and eligibility criteria.


✅ To qualify for a condo mortgage, borrowers need to have a good credit score, make a down payment, and maintain an appropriate debt-to-income ratio.


✅ Common problems when financing for a condo include limited lender options, non-warrantable condos, condo association restrictions, high association fees, and inadequate reserves. These challenges can be overcome by researching alternative financing options and working with the condo association.


Pros of getting a condo mortgage include low - maintenance living, access to communal amenities, affordability, and shared responsibility for building maintenance. Cons include being part of a homeowners association (HOA), individual unit maintenance responsibilities and costs, common area maintenance fees, and potentially more challenging approval process compared to traditional mortgages.



Quick Navigation - Click the link below to jump to that section..






Getting Condo Loans in Specific Regions (like Florida)

Getting Condo Loans in Specific Regions (like Florida)

Florida offers various options for obtaining condo loans. These include conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, non-QM, jumbo, private money, or hard money loans. Conventional loans are popular and may require down payments as low as 3-5%. In Miamis Booming Condo Market most people have to put down larger down payments to outcompete other offers for the same unit.


25% Down Payment Requirement


Florida is unique in requiring a 25% down payment for condo purchases under the limited review process. This is in contrast to other states, where the down payment can be as low as 10%. The rationale behind this is to mitigate the lender's risk. Florida's real estate market has seen significant volatility, and the higher down payment is seen as a protective measure.

Why is Florida Different?


📌 Market Volatility: Florida has a history of real estate market volatility, including high foreclosure rates. The higher down payment acts as a cushion against market downturns.


📌 Investor Activity: Florida attracts a lot of real estate investors, both domestic and international. The higher down payment requirement helps ensure that buyers have a significant financial stake in the property, reducing the likelihood of default.


📌 Regulatory Environment: Florida has its own set of real estate regulations and guidelines, which are often more stringent compared to other states.


📌 Risk Mitigation: The 25% down payment is seen as a way to mitigate the financial risks associated with lending in a condo environment, where the financial health of the entire project can impact individual unit owners.


Transactions Eligible for a Limited Review (Excluding Florida)


The following table describes the transactions that are eligible for a Limited Review. In almost all stated you only need a 10% down payment for a limited review.

Transactions Eligible for a Limited Review (Excluding Florida)

Attached units in established projects located in Florida are subject to more restrictive LTV ratio requirements under the Limited Review process. See B4-2.2-04, Geographic-Specific Condo Project Considerations, for additional information.



Project Review Maximum LTV Requirements for Attached Units in Established Projects (Only Florida)


Below is from the Fannie Mae Selling guide outlining the downpayment requirements for condos in the state of florida. In section: B4-2.2-04, Geographic-Specific Condo Project Considerations (03/01/2023)


According to the matrix below, condo borrowers must put down at least 25% to qualify for a limited review. One way to circumvent the 25% rule is by obtaining a 15% second mortgage, making the transaction a Combo 75/15 Limited Review.


Bennett Capital Partners offers excellent combo programs that are ideal for most condos in Florida that would not pass a full review.

Estabished Projects


🎯 Give us a call today 1-305-407-0747


Non-Warrantable Condo Programs with Bennett Capital Partners


Non-QM Programs: Financing Up to 85% of Property Value


Non-QM programs offer the flexibility to finance up to 85% of the property value for non-warrantable condos. A full review is essential to determine the condo's non-warrantable status. Guidelines can vary greatly across lenders, making it crucial to work with an experienced partner like Bennett Capital Partners.


Portfolio Programs: No Condo Questionnaire Required


These are specialized programs that do not require a condo questionnaire, allowing for a 20% down payment. These programs are particularly useful for condo projects that may not pass traditional financing requirements. However, there are restrictions on loan size and project types.


Why Choose Bennett Capital Partners?


Our team has extensive experience in navigating the complex guidelines of non-warrantable condo financing. We offer personalized service and innovative solutions to meet your unique financing needs.



What is a Condo Mortgage?

What is a Condo Mortgage?

A condo mortgage is a type of loan specifically designed for individuals who want to purchase a condominium.


Definition of a condo mortgage


A condo mortgage is a specific type of loan that allows you to buy an individual unit in a larger building. This differs from homes or apartments, where the property purchased often includes both the land and structure.


Instead, a condo mortgage only covers the interior space of your personal unit while shared spaces are governed by homeowners association (HOA) rules and fees. You share ownership responsibilities for common areas like hallways or gardens with other owners in your building. This is not to be confused with a condotel mortgage which are on units in a hotel condo building.



Unlike regular home loans, factors such as minimum credit score, down payment size and your ratio of debt-to-income can impact eligibility criteria for this form of financing.


How it differs from a traditional mortgage


A condo mortgage differs from a traditional mortgage in its unique stipulations and considerations. This specific type of loan is used primarily for the purchase of individual units within larger residential buildings, contrasting with traditional mortgages that cover standalone properties or single-family homes.


The ownership responsibilities are also unique in condo mortgages. Unlike homeowners with a traditional mortgage, condo owners only bear responsibility for maintenance and repairs within their own unit, not for external areas or communal spaces.


The terms and conditions tied to your condo loan can fluctuate depending on the lender's policies and your credit score. For instance, lenders may impose stricter underwriting criteria due to risks associated with shared walls or higher default rates among condominiums compared to detached homes.


Additionally, before approving your application for a condo mortgage work, many lenders will need verification that the entire condominium project complies with established requirements regarding occupancy rate and HOA finances as well as structure insurance coverage levels.




How a Condo Mortgage Works

How a Condo Mortgage Works

A condo mortgage works by considering the debt service ratio calculations specific to condos and potential additional fees, while also requiring borrowers to meet certain qualifications for approval.


Debt service ratio calculations for condos


Lenders use debt service ratio calculations to determine whether or not you can afford the condo mortgage. It's calculated by comparing your monthly income to your total housing payments, including potential HOA fees and property taxes.


Banks typically prefer a debt ratio lower than 36%, but this number may vary between lenders. If you exceed this percentage, it could indicate that you are overextended financially, jeopardizing your ability to make consistent mortgage payments.


Therefore, paying attention to your debt service ratio is an essential part of the condo buying process.


Potential additional fees


Condo ownership comes with potential additional fees that borrowers should be aware of. Along with your mortgage payments, you may also be responsible for paying monthly condo association fees.


These fees cover the costs of maintaining common areas and amenities, such as landscaping, pool maintenance, and security services. Additionally, condos may be subject to special assessments for unexpected repairs or improvements to the building or complex.


It's important to factor these potential additional expenses into your budget when considering a condo mortgage.


Qualifying for a condo mortgage


To qualify for a condo mortgage, there are a few requirements you need to meet. First, you'll need to have a minimum credit score that meets the lender's criteria. This is important because it demonstrates your ability to manage debt responsibly.


Second, you'll typically need to make a down payment on the condo. The exact amount will vary depending on factors like your credit history and the type of loan you're applying for.


Lastly, lenders will consider your debt-to-income ratio, which compares how much debt you have to how much income you earn. It's important to have a suitable ratio in order to show that you can afford the monthly mortgage payments.


Overall, qualifying for a condo mortgage involves having a good credit score, making a down payment,and maintaining an appropriate debt-to-income ratio. Meeting these requirements will put you in a strong position when seeking approval from lenders.



Understanding Condo Mortgage Loans

Understanding Condo Mortgage Loans

Condo mortgage loans are a crucial aspect to understand for anyone looking to buy a condominium. When it comes to financing a condo, there are different loan options and requirements that vary among lenders.


It's important to research and compare these options in order to find the best fit for your needs.


One key factor when it comes to condo ownership is being part of a homeowners association (HOA). This means that as a condo owner, you will be responsible for paying monthly HOA fees.


These fees go towards maintaining common areas and amenities within the condominium complex.


In addition, condo owners are also responsible for maintaining and repairing their individual units. This can include things like plumbing issues or appliance repairs, which can add additional costs on top of your mortgage payments.


When it comes to obtaining a condo mortgage loan, there are various types available such as conventional loans, FHA loans, VA loans, USDA loans, non-QM loans, jumbo loans, private money loans or hard money loans.


The type of loan you qualify for largely depends on factors such as your credit score and the type of condo you want to purchase.


It's worth noting that interest rates on condo mortgages can sometimes be higher compared to those for single-family homes due to perceived higher risk from lenders. Additionally, certain types of condos may not meet the eligibility criteria set by some lenders making them non-warrantable condos which might make getting approved more challenging.


To sum up understanding condo mortgage loans requires researching different loan options available from various lenders while considering aspects like HOA fees and maintenance responsibilities associated with owning a condominium unit.


Common Problems When Financing for a Condo and How to Overcome Them

Common Problems When Financing for a Condo and How to Overcome Them

Financing a condo can come with its fair share of challenges. Here are some common problems condo mortgage borrowers may encounter and how to overcome them:


Limited lender options: Condo financing can be more restrictive compared to traditional mortgages, leading to fewer lenders willing to provide loans. Research and connect with lenders experienced in condo financing to expand your options.


Non-warrantable condos: Some condos may not meet the criteria for conventional financing due to factors like investor concentration or pending litigation. Explore alternative financing options such as non-qm, portfolio loans, or private money mortgages to help finance non warrantable condos.


Condo association restrictions: The condo association's rules and regulations can impact mortgage approval. Ensure the association is in good financial standing, has appropriate insurance coverage, and follows best practices for maintenance and governance.


High association fees: Monthly association fees can significantly affect your debt-to-income ratio, making it harder to qualify for a mortgage loan. Consider properties with lower fees or negotiate with the seller to cover a portion of the fees.


Inadequate reserves: Lenders typically require condo associations to have sufficient reserve funds for maintenance and repairs. If the association lacks reserves, work with them to develop a plan for building up the necessary funds.



Pros and Cons of Getting a Condo Mortgage

Pros and Cons of Getting a Condo Mortgage

Getting a condo mortgage has its pros and cons that potential buyers should consider.


Pros of owning a condo


Owning a condo comes with several advantages. Firstly, condos offer low-maintenance living options, making them attractive for those who don't want the hassle of maintaining a single-family home.


Secondly, condos provide a combination of traditional homeownership and communal living spaces, allowing residents to enjoy amenities such as pools or fitness centers without having to maintain them individually.


Additionally, condo ownership offers increased affordability compared to buying a house, as they tend to be more budget-friendly. Lastly, owning a condo means shared responsibility for building maintenance is shouldered by the homeowner's

association (HOA), relieving individual owners from the burden of major repairs and renovations within common areas.


Cons of owning a condo


Owning a condo comes with its fair share of drawbacks. One major disadvantage is the added responsibility of being part of a homeowners association (HOA). This means that you will have to comply with their rules and regulations, which may restrict your freedom as a homeowner.


Additionally, condo owners are responsible for the maintenance and repairs within their individual units, adding an extra cost and workload. Furthermore, there are common area maintenance fees that need to be paid regularly, increasing the monthly expenses of owning a condo.


Lastly, the approval process for condo mortgages can be more challenging compared to traditional mortgages due to stricter criteria set by lenders. It's important to consider these cons before deciding if owning a condo is right for you.


Tips for Getting a Condo Mortgage

Tips for Getting a Condo Mortgage

Shop around for the best rates, get pre-approved, and fully understand all the costs associated with owning a condo.


Shopping around for the best rates


To ensure that you get the best rates for your condo mortgage, it's important to shop around and compare offers from different lenders. By doing so, you can find competitive interest rates that will save you money in the long run.


Keep in mind that different lenders may have varying requirements and loan options for condos, so take the time to explore your choices. Whether it's a conventional loan with a low down payment or an FHA loan with more flexible qualifications, comparing rates will help you make an informed decision and secure the most favorable terms for your condo mortgage.


Getting pre-approved


To increase your chances of securing a condo mortgage, it's important to get pre-approved by a lender. This involves submitting your financial information and having the lender assess your creditworthiness.


Pre-approval gives you an estimate of how much you can borrow, which helps determine what price range of condos you should be looking at. It also shows sellers that you are serious about buying and have the financial means to do so.


By getting pre-approved, you can streamline the homebuying process and make a stronger offer when you find your dream condo.


When applying for pre-approval, lenders will review factors such as your income, employment history, credit score, and debt-to-income ratio. They may require documents like pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and proof of assets.


It's worth noting that being pre-approved does not guarantee final loan approval but puts you in a better position to secure financing for your condo purchase.


By getting pre-approved for a condo mortgage loan before searching for properties or making an offer on a specific unit, borrowers can confidently navigate the market with clear budget constraints in mind.


This allows them to focus their efforts on finding the right fit while avoiding disappointment due to unrealistic expectations later in the process.


Understanding the full costs of owning a condo


Owning a condo comes with more than just the purchase price. It's essential to understand all the expenses involved in order to make an informed decision. In addition to your mortgage payments, you'll also need to budget for monthly association fees and potential special assessments for repairs or improvements.


These costs contribute to the overall affordability of the condo and should be factored into your financial calculations before buying. Keep in mind that maintaining shared amenities, such as gyms or pools, may also come with additional fees or membership dues.


Taking a comprehensive view of the expenses will help you plan better and avoid any unexpected financial burdens down the line.



Conclusion

Conclusion

In conclusion, getting a condo mortgage can provide a unique homeownership opportunity for buyers. With the combination of affordability and shared responsibility, condos offer a distinct living experience.


By understanding how condo mortgages work and considering the pros and cons, potential buyers can make informed decisions when it comes to financing their condo purchase. Remember to shop around for the best rates, get pre-approved, and fully understand the costs involved in owning a condo before making your decision.


Additional Resources: Unlocking Creative Strategies with FHA Loans for Investment Properties


Navigating the world of FHA loans can be complex, especially when you're interested in investment properties. While FHA loans are intended primarily for owner-occupied homes, there are creative ways to utilize these government-backed mortgages for investment purposes. Let's delve into some key terms and strategies:


Key Terms and Concepts

  • Mortgage Rate: The mortgage rate for an FHA loan may differ from a conventional mortgage, often offering slightly higher interest rates.

  • Type of Mortgage: FHA loans and conventional mortgage options are available to condo buyers.

  • Private Mortgage Insurance: Required for FHA loans but can be avoided with a conventional mortgage.

  • Condo Mortgage May: Your condo mortgage may require a down payment, depending on the loan program.

  • Best Mortgage: Research condo properties to find the best mortgage options tailored to your needs.

  • Loan Program: Various loan programs are available to condo buyers, including FHA and conventional.

  • Condo Complex: The financial health of the condo complex is crucial when applying for a condo mortgage.

  • Buying a Single-Family Home: FHA loans for single-family homes differ from those for condos.

  • Get a Mortgage: Get preapproved for a mortgage before you start your condo search.

  • Vacation Home: FHA loans are available for primary residences, not vacation homes.

  • Guide to Condo Loans: A mortgage broker can guide you through the condo mortgage process.

  • Condo Mortgage vs: Compare condo mortgage vs. loans available to single-family homes.

  • Condo Doesn’t: Find out if the condo doesn’t meet FHA loan requirements.

  • Condo Building and Community: Review the condo building and community, including the condo association or HOA.

  • Mortgage Options: Condo living offers different mortgage options, including specific condo loans.

  • Loan Requirements: FHA loans have specific loan requirements that differ from conventional loans.

  • Loans Available: Loans available to condo buyers include FHA and conventional.

  • Mortgage and Real Estate: A mortgage broker specialized in mortgage and real estate can help prospective condo buyers.

  • Types of Condo Loans: These include FHA, conventional, and private loans.

  • Behind on Their Condo: Check if the condo association or HOA is behind on their condo fees.

  • Research Condo Properties: Always research condo properties and get preapproved for a mortgage.

  • Prospective Condo: Examine the prospective condo's financials and community.

  • Condo Financing Work: Understand how condo financing works, especially for a non-warrantable condo.

  • Condo Also: The condo also needs to meet specific FHA guidelines.

  • Mortgage Interest: The mortgage interest may vary based on the type of loan for a condo.

  • Specific Condo: Ensure the specific condo is eligible for the mortgage you choose.

  • Warrantable Condo Is One: A warrantable condo is one that meets FHA or conventional guidelines.

  • Financing a Non-Warrantable Condo: This can be challenging and may require a specialized loan program. Warrantable VS Non Warrantable Condos

  • Loans for Single-Family Homes: These are often easier to get than condo loans.

  • Guide You Through the Condo: A mortgage broker can guide you through the condo purchase process.

  • Find Out if the Condo: Is eligible for FHA or conventional loans.

  • Condo or Homeowners Association: Check the rules and financial stability of the condo or homeowners association.

  • Borrowers Can Apply for Condo: Loans if they meet the requirements.

  • Applying for a Condo: Requires a thorough review of the condo project and HOA.

  • Need to Know About Condo: Financing, loan requirements, and condo questionnaire are essential.

  • Financial Health of the Condo: This is crucial for loan approval.

  • Home or Condo: Both have different loan requirements and options.

  • Condo Is Eligible: Make sure the condo is eligible for the type of loan you're considering.