Q: We live in Alexandria, VA. We found a townhouse we were interested in purchasing at about $720,000 (it was listed for 775,000).
We talked to broker who said we qualified and had a good credit score but he found out the developer still owned either 4 of the 12 or 4 of the 20 units. As a result he didn’t think we could get a lender to finance us unless we put 20 percent or more down and still it would likely be at a high rate. The Realtor strongly advised against pursuing the purchase.
We understand lending has tightened considerably but have never heard of this. Can you help confirm if this is true or offer some advice.
The townhouse has been on the market for a while. it is now listed with a different Realtor. The couple that owns the home is trying to relocate and before this came up, the Realtor thought it was great place that we could likely get good deal on.
We’re told the listing agent’s contract is about to expire and the couple may then have to turn the property over to their employer’s relocation department. This all sounded suspicious to us.
A: If you read my new book, BUY, CLOSE, MOVE IN!, you’ll see I spend 60 pages talking about how tight lending has become – even for people who have good credit. Buildings have to be approved by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA or you cannot get financing for your purchase. And even then, there are rules that prohibit a building from gaining lender approval.
For example, the rules say that if more than 15 percent of homeowners in a condo are behind in their monthly payments, the building won’t be approved for new financing if that financing is relying on Fannie or Freddie. You can have financing difficulties if one unit owner or the developer owns multiple units in the condominium building.
If your Realtor and broker are strongly urging you not to purchase this property, you should listen to them. There are plenty of other homes for sale. Go find one where the financing will not be an issue – or where you’ll have trouble reselling the unit should you need to down the road.
But if you want more information that can address the specific issue on the building you are interested in, go talk to a mortgage lender or mortgage broker and have him or her walk you through the numbers. Explain to that person the situation with the building and see if the lender can explain to you the problem and your options. Once you have that information, you can decide how to move forward in buying a home.