My Choices for the First Property Purchase

I was married and pregnant at the time of the first purchase. My ex-husband already owned a property by that time, however, he didn't help much and I had to learn all ins and outs myself for this condo purchase. We both worked hard and didn't want to deal with big ticket item issues such as a roof, exterior painting, pools etc. We were looking for a minimal maintenance option that condos provide.

When we were looking to buy our first condominium, we had the option of choosing between a pre-existing unit or a new construction. We ultimately decided on a new construction from a builder, and here are some reasons why it was a better option for us.

A photo of my first condo building

Condominiums come with HOA Boards and Association Rules

One of the main reasons we chose a new construction condominium was because of the HOA board and association rules. We both were new to the area and didn't know many people, so we viewed the HOA board and neighbors as a valuable addition to our new support system. Additionally, the HOA board and association rules provided us with a sense of security and stability, as we knew that the community was governed by a set of rules that everyone had to follow.

Monthly HOA Fees Remove Some Maintenance Headache

Another reason we chose a new construction condominium was because of the monthly HOA fees. While some may view these fees as an added expense, we saw them as a way to remove some of the maintenance headaches that come with owning a property. With the HOA fees, we knew that the exterior maintenance, landscaping, and other common areas would be taken care of, leaving us with more time to focus on other things.

Builders vs Homeowners: who is easier to deal with

We also found that dealing with a builder was easier than dealing with individual homeowners. With a new construction, we knew that the builder was responsible for any issues that arose during the warranty period. On the other hand, with a pre-existing unit, we would have had to deal with individual homeowners if any issues arose, which could have been more difficult and time-consuming. Individual homeowners might be less patient with us and we expected hurdles since we barely meet all the requirements known to us at that time.

More opportunities to enter home ownership during economic downturns

Finally, we found that buying a new construction condominium was a better option during economic downturns. Since builders are always looking to sell their units, they often offer incentives and discounts during tough economic times. This allowed us to enter the world of home ownership at a time when it may have been more difficult to do so otherwise.

Overall, we found that buying a new construction condominium from a builder was the best option for us. The HOA board and association rules provided us with a sense of security and stability, the monthly HOA fees removed some maintenance headaches, dealing with a builder was easier than dealing with individual homeowners, and we had more opportunities to enter home ownership during economic downturns.

Understanding FHA Loans

When we were looking to buy our first condominium, we wanted to explore all the options available to us. One of the options we considered was an FHA loan. Here is what we learned about FHA loans.

Eligibility Criteria for FHA Loans

To be eligible for an FHA loan, we had to meet certain criteria. First, we had to have a credit score of at least 580. Second, we had to have a debt-to-income ratio of no more than 43%. Third, we had to have a steady income and employment history. Finally, the property we wanted to buy had to meet certain requirements, including being in good condition and being our primary residence.

Benefits of Using an FHA Loan for Immigrants

As immigrants, we were pleased to learn that FHA loans are available to us. In fact, FHA loans are a great option for immigrants who are looking to buy their first home. One of the benefits of using an FHA loan is that the down payment can be as low as 3.5%. This is especially helpful for immigrants who may not have a lot of savings. Additionally, FHA loans have more flexible credit requirements, which can make it easier for immigrants to qualify for a loan.

Are FHA Loans Less Preferred Among Sellers?

One concern we had about using an FHA loan was whether sellers would be less likely to accept our offer. However, we learned that this is not necessarily the case. While some sellers may prefer buyers who are using conventional loans, many sellers are open to accepting offers from buyers who are using FHA loans. Additionally, we found that working with a knowledgeable real estate agent can help us navigate the home buying process and increase our chances of having our offer accepted.

Overall, we found that FHA loans are a great option for immigrants to become a home owner. By understanding the eligibility criteria, the benefits of using an FHA loan for immigrants, and how sellers view FHA loans, we were able to make an informed decision about our home buying options.

A photo of the flowers on the patio at my first condo

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the requirements for a condo to be FHA-approved?

To be approved for an FHA loan, the condo must meet specific requirements set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Some of the requirements include having at least 50% of the units owner-occupied, having no more than 25% of the total floor area used for commercial purposes, and having a budget for reserves and replacement. Borrowers can check if a condo is FHA-approved by searching for it on the HUD website.

Can an FHA loan be used to purchase a home in 'as-is' condition?

Yes, an FHA loan can be used to purchase a home in 'as-is' condition. However, the home must still meet certain minimum property standards, such as having a functioning heating and cooling system, no major safety hazards, and no structural damage. If the home does not meet these standards, the borrower may need to make repairs before closing on the loan.

What is the FHA single-unit approval process?

The FHA single-unit approval process allows individual units within a non-FHA-approved condominium project to be eligible for FHA financing. This process involves the submission of a document package to the lender for review, which includes information about the condominium association, the unit being financed, and the borrower. If approved, the unit can be financed with an FHA loan.

What items are included in the FHA spot approval checklist?

The FHA spot approval checklist includes items such as the property's location, the borrower's credit score and debt-to-income ratio, and the property's condition. The checklist is used to determine if the property meets the requirements for FHA financing.

What are common reasons a seller might reject an FHA loan offer?

Sellers may reject an FHA loan offer for a variety of reasons, such as concerns about the property meeting FHA standards, the longer processing time for FHA loans, or the perception that FHA borrowers are less financially stable. However, it is important to note that rejecting an FHA loan offer based solely on the type of loan may be a violation of fair housing laws.

What drawbacks should sellers consider when accepting an FHA loan?

Sellers should be aware that FHA loans may require more time for processing and may have stricter property standards than other types of loans. Additionally, FHA loans may have lower loan limits than other types of loans, which could limit the pool of potential buyers. However, FHA loans can be a good option for borrowers who may not qualify for conventional loans due to lower credit scores or smaller down payments.