Three Tips For Faster VA Condo Approvals

By
Mortgage and Lending with San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751
http://actvra.in/4wCx

san diego condosI've probably funded 40 VA home loans in 2009, many of them for unapproved condominium complexes.  In Southern California, it's quite common along the coastal communities for buyers to look at condos, townhomes, or PUDs as lower-cost alternatives to single-family homes.  Declining prices, along with higher VA loan limits have afforded many active duty and former service members the opportunity to scoop up a piece of the California coastal lifestyle by purchasing one of those properties.

Sellers often cringe when they receive an offer using VA home loan financing.  The general thought is that the VA condominum complex approval process is time-consuming, onerous, and difficult...

Nothing could be further from the truth.

All loan types, including FHA and conventional vet the condominium association's organizational documents, finances, and residency mix.  In fact, the VA guidelines tend to be the least restrictive of all three loan types.

Three tips for real estate agents when presenting an offer, on an unapproved complex, with a VA mortgage:

1- Use a VA lender who has been through the VA approval process MANY times.

2-Review the required documents' checklist:

The document checklist is available in Chapter 16 of the VA Lender’s Handbook.  Specifically, the table of required documents is available on page 16A.03.    I suggest that the loan originator AND both real estate agents AND the escrow officer review this table as soon as an agreement of sale is executed.  At first glance, the list appears to be ominous (lots of dead trees).  Upon more careful scrutiny, it is plain to see that only 5-6 documents are required; the other 20 or so are only required IF AVAILABLE.

3- Consider the time saved by using an attorney's opinion letter:

The key component to the VA condominium complex approval is the Attorney’s Opinion Letter.  Essentially, the VA relies on the expertise of an independent attorney to evaluate the condominium documents and offer an opinion as to whether or not those documents comply with the VA regulations.  An attorney opinion letter is NOT a requirement for the submission package but attempting this without one is not recommended.  While it adds another layer of cost to the approval process, the result is a greatly reduced examination time at the VA.

VA condo approvals are quite easy if you know what to do.  Follow these three tips to guarantee a smooth transaction or contact me with any questions you might have.

 

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Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Jason Kardos 12/21/2009 03:31 AM
  2. Dana Devine 12/23/2009 08:57 AM
  3. Rosemary Brooks 01/03/2010 11:19 AM
  4. Maya Thomas LLC, Broker 01/30/2010 12:24 PM
  5. Vic Steele 01/30/2010 02:41 PM
Topic:
Mortgage / Finance
Groups:
All About Mortgages/Mortgage Networking
Southern California Real Estate Forum
Long Beach Real Estate
San Diego Mortgage Network
SAN DIEGO Real Estate Agents & Loan Officers
Tags:
va condo complex approvals
san diego va home loan lender

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Rainer
135,765
Karen Luke
South Metro Property Management, LLC - McDonough, GA
Henry County Real Estate

Glad to hear someone is having an easy time with the VA.

Dec 19, 2009 09:03 AM #1
Rainmaker
308,429
John Occhi
Mason Real Estate - Temecula, CA
SRES,CPRES.ePRO - Temecula-Murrieta CA Real Estate

Good Info - I know the FHA has new guidlines for condos - do these apply to VA?

I'll look for your reply, as I have a REO Condo for sale - very little attention these dys.

Merry Christmas,

John

Dec 19, 2009 10:38 PM #2
Rainmaker
656,418
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

Definitely bookmarking this one. And I hope you enjoy your California lifestyle - I'm a little jealous! Merry Christmas.

Dec 21, 2009 12:44 AM #3
Rainmaker
72,258
Nancy McNamee
Keller Williams Realty - Roseville, CA

Thanks for the tips!

Dec 21, 2009 12:47 AM #4
Anonymous
Marilyn Bell

What a great, concise and easy to understand explanation of the process!  I wish you were in my market!

Dec 21, 2009 01:16 AM #5
Rainmaker
310,322
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA
858-777-9751

The FHA condo guidelimes are becoming more like VA (easier) but VA remains to be the simplest, John.

Dec 21, 2009 01:38 AM #6
Rainer
63,168
Doug Patterson
Park Place Real Estate, Broker-In-Charge - Winston-Salem, NC
CRS, ABR, Broker-In-Charge

Brian,

Thanks for sharing your experience with the VA.  I've never asked for an Attorney's Opinion Letter and am going to forward this info to a couple of loan folks I work with, for their reference.   Great Idea. 

Thanks for the good reference links, too!

Dec 21, 2009 01:41 AM #7
Rainer
273,119
Coral Gundlach
Century 21 Redwood Realty, Arlington Virginia - Arlington, VA

Brian - Thank you for a great article!  Do you know FHA as well as VA?  Didn't FHA eliminate the spot approval process as of early December?  I was under the impression that FHA condo guidelines were becoming stricter, not easier.  Any insight you could offer would be great.  Thanks.

Dec 21, 2009 01:44 AM #8
Rainmaker
139,718
David Krushinsky
Skyline Home Loans - NMLS 202115 - Phoenix, AZ

Great info Brian.... have you used number 3 much in Arizona?

Dec 21, 2009 02:07 AM #9
Rainer
113,894
Debbie Rumsey
HomeSmart Realty West, Carlsbad, CA - Encinitas, CA
Realtor, Green, SFR

Thanks Brian!  I have bookmarked this for a place to refer back to when using VA loans.  The hardest part so far seems to be able to get sellers to accept them!  Glad to hear it is easy once you have received acceptance!

Dec 21, 2009 02:40 AM #10
Rainmaker
310,322
Brian Brady
San Diego VA Home Loans/858-777-9751 - San Diego, CA
858-777-9751

I know FHA very well, Coral.  I'll write some tips about how to get make FHA complex approvals move much more quickly, later this week.

Debbie, we should talk about how to improve your chances with VA offers.  My agents get them accepted because I help them prepare the VA approval letter so that there is no doubt that the seller understands that there is no cost to him.

Dec 21, 2009 03:19 AM #12
Anonymous
Delia Wallace

Brian,

Thanks for the information!  It very nice of you to share it with us!

Happy Holidays!

Dec 21, 2009 04:23 AM #13
Rainer
53,538
Jayne Williamson, REALTOR, Broker, GRI
Keller Williams Realty Mountain Partners, Hendersonville, NC - Hendersonville, NC

Thanks for the great information.  Sellers here still cringe whenever they hear VA Loan or even FHA loan mentioned.  Bookmarking for the future!!

Dec 21, 2009 05:31 AM #15
Rainmaker
571,362
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Brian,  Your advice to get an attorney opinion letter makes a lot of sense.   Hope your Holiday Season is the best ever !!!

Dec 21, 2009 05:46 AM #16
Rainmaker
139,718
David Krushinsky
Skyline Home Loans - NMLS 202115 - Phoenix, AZ

Terrific!  Thanks for the referral too.

Dec 22, 2009 12:18 AM #17
Rainmaker
1,246,264
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Area Real Estate

Sounds like a savy strategy with the attorneys opinion letter.  Thanks for the info.

Dec 22, 2009 03:22 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,427,346
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Good points.  I did a VA sale recently and it went through pretty good, but there were some hiccups.

Dec 22, 2009 03:50 AM #20
Anonymous
Nancy Hill

Thanks for the great information.  The attorney letter is a good piece.

Dec 22, 2009 09:59 AM #21
Rainmaker
232,694
Vic Steele
Vic Steele, Broker CA BRE 01349863 - Anaheim Hills, CA
Broker/Consultant

Great points Brian, there is NO REASON to fear a VA buyer, instead we should all be working together to help them succeed.  They served our country with loyalty and courage and many sellers and listing agents openly discriminate against VA borrowers.

It's a great loan for great people.  I represented several VA buyers in 2009 and we did not have a bit of trouble on any of those loans...not one bit.

Brian, with your clear understanding of the SoCal market for VA buyers, please feel free to contact me so I can introduce my next Veteran client to you!

Vic Steele, U.S. Army, 1984-1990, Sergeant, Honorably Discharged

Valet Real Estate Services

Concierge Man Serves a Home

 

Vic Steele, Broker, CA DRE License No. 01349863

Valet Real Estate Services

571 N. Poplar, Suite H, Orange, CA  92868

Jan 30, 2010 02:40 PM #22
Rainmaker
1,072,712
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Brian, I was searching for VA Condo Guidelines and your blog came up on page one of Google - congrats! I have someone who wants a condo and most of them are not VA approved. This is encouraging to think that we could actually convince a condo to get VA approval just for our transaction! Wow, thanks!!

Sep 28, 2014 01:40 PM #23
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