Just because you have good credit, low debt-to-income ratios and a good size down payment, don’t think that qualifying for a purchase mortgage on a condominium will be a breeze. It may not be you that the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) is concerned about. Since FNMA is the likely buyer of the mortgage advanced by your lender, they are fastidious about how the condo homeowners association (HOA) or property management company is managing the affairs of the building.
There are some rules you should know before making an offer:
It is not easy for the HOA to monitor the number of rental units – in which case the appraiser will need to make what is often an unreliable estimate. If this estimate is high, it triggers a red flag in the eyes of the lender. Letters of explanation and verbal confirmations will be required, thereby causing substantial delays and increasing the odds that your loan may not close.
If you own title to a residential rental property via an LLC (“limited liability company”), then you better have owned this asset for at least 24 months and reported it on Schedule E of your 1040 tax return – otherwise you will have a tough time utilizing the income from this property to qualify for a loan. Without the 24-month seasoning period, there is a good chance the net rental income cannot be used in calculating your Debt-to-Income ratio (DTI) unless you elect to transfer title from the LLC to your individual name.
Now don’t rush out and transfer the ownership from the LLC to yourself personally without first consulting with your accountant and lawyer – especially because of the potential tax ramifications and liability risks. But you won’t get conventional residential financing for your LLC rental property, because the lender will treat it as if it were a commercial property (which means lower LTV requirements and higher pricing – even if you personally guarantee the loan).
On the other hand, if title is in your name, then typically 100% of the income and expenses on Schedule E can be used to calculate your DTI – without having to comply with the 24-month rule. In addition, if the property is so new that it has not yet been reported on your previous tax return, then some lenders will allow you to use 75% of the revenue (confirmed via the lease) less PITI, with only 75% used to account for other standard expenses you will incur.