FHA-Approved Condos in Pennsylvania

Two - story condos on a residential streetWhether you're searching for your first home or to downsize, buying a condominium is an exciting milestone. It's crucial to understand the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) requirements for approval if you're considering purchasing a condo in Pennsylvania. For many prospective purchasers, FHA-approved condominiums are a terrific alternative since they provide excellent access to more financing and lending choices than non-FHA-approved condos.

What Are FHA-approved Condos?

An FHA loan is attractive because it allows buyers with a lower credit score and fewer reserves to secure financing and get lower interest rates. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains a list of approved condos that traditional lenders consider eligible for FHA loans.

To be approved by HUD, specific guidelines must be met, including adequate insurance, acceptable levels of owner occupancy, absence of any pending litigation against the Homeowners’ Association (HOA), sufficient reserves held in escrow accounts, and no delinquent fees owed on association dues.

HUD reviews this information on an annual basis to determine approval status. For the condo complex or building you live in to remain in good financial health, HOA dues are needed from all members to pay for its upkeep. Suppose not enough condo owners can qualify for financing from traditional lenders due to credit score or other factors such as debt-to-income ratio. In that case, this puts the complex in dire financial straits—making it necessary for them to consider getting approved as FHA-eligible.

The process is lengthy and requires cooperation from several stakeholders, as detailed above. Still, it can ultimately provide much-needed economic relief by allowing more potential buyers access through lower credit scores while providing better interest rates than traditional lenders usually offer.

The benefits include increased sales which lead to improved association operations due to higher levels of combined fees paid by members and additional fees provided by the lender, making condo ownership more accessible while keeping associations financially stable in up markets or down cycles.

Benefits of an FHA-Approved Condo

FHA-approved condos are designed for buyers who might not otherwise qualify for traditional home loans because credit or income levels are too low.

With an FHA-approved condo, buyers can take advantage of the lower credit and down payment requirements and more flexible qualification criteria than traditional home loans. The buyer is typically required to pay 3.5% of the total property value as a down payment, considerably lower than the 20% requirement of a regular mortgage loan.

In addition, getting an FHA-approved condo means that you can take advantage of lower monthly payments and have access to more loan options when it comes time to apply for financing due to better interest rates, which can result in considerable savings over time.

How to Find FHA-Approved Condos

Before you decide to purchase an FHA-approved condo as your next home, it’s essential to understand how they become approved and how you can find already approved condos.

Getting an FHA-approved condo starts with a condo association submitting documents related to its financial stability, management ability, insurance policy, and more to HUD by filling out the FHA Condominium Project Approval form.

Once complete, it will be reviewed by HUD staff and provided with either FHA approval or disapproval. If approved, lenders can make loans on eligible properties within the area for those who qualify for FHA financing.

If you’re interested in purchasing a condo already approved by FHA, then begin your search with an online search tool such as HUD’s website or talk with your real estate agent, who can find an updated list of local listings that are approved as posted on many multiple listing services (MLS).

To confirm eligibility status, always check and ensure every condo has been assigned a 'Condominium ID' or 'submission number.' This number provides that the unit is eligible for an FHA loan.

If not already assigned a submission number by HUD but looks like it should qualify based on its urban designation and location qualification restrictions, then ask the seller or lender about applying for pre-approval before starting the close escrow process in case the loan goes through during the closing period.

In sum, before purchasing a condo as your next home, make sure that you have done adequate due diligence into whether or not HUD has approved it - this could save time and money in closing costs if you determine early whether the property complies with guidelines necessary for obtaining respectively financing via an FHA loan.

Requirements for FHA-Approved Condos

  • The FHA stipulates that the condominium project must be finished; hence, a currently constructed project will not be eligible.
  • Only half of the apartments may be rented out or owned by investors. You have to buy the apartment and move in as a consequence.
  • The condo association must maintain a cash reserve of at least 10% of the HOA budget in addition to insuring the property.
  • A maximum of 35% of the property may be used for business purposes.

What if a Condo is Not on the FHA-approved Condo List?

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) helps provide mortgage insurance to help make homeownership more affordable. Receiving FHA financing can be the biggest hurdle between you and the dream of owning a home.

The condo must be on the officially approved list for a condominium unit to be eligible for an FHA loan.

Additionally, FHA allows lenders to approve borrowers looking to purchase a single-unit in condo projects that HUD does not support. This is called a “single-unit approval” and requires meeting specific criteria before being eligible for FHA financing.

If you’re interested in this kind of purchase, knowing that the number of condos eligible for FHA loans has decreased in recent years due to new rules and regulations is essential.

The approval process requires certification from an issuing authority with information regarding the project map, assessments, budget financials, pending litigation, and other documentation regarding the developer and owner and from the condominium association.

In some instances, a lender may also require additional transfer documents confirming ownership or management of at least ten units within the condominium development when considering two teams for FHA financing or insuring a mortgage loan within any project containing less than ten units.

What Is a Single-Unit Approval?

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that insures mortgage loans to qualified borrowers, including owners of condominiums who intend to use the loan to finance their unit purchases. 

As a potential condo owner looking for an FHA-insured loan, you should know that not all condominiums are eligible for FHA lending. Some buildings may not meet its requirements, or their homeowners’ association may have difficulties meeting the terms.

Single-unit approval is a process that allows individual units in a condo building to be approved by FHA. In contrast, other teams in the same building remain unapproved and ineligible for HUD-insured loans.

To become eligible, the seller must have owned a unit for at least six months before submitting it for FHA approval and must pass inspection by HUD appraisers. In addition, other conditions, such as financing limitations and loan documentation requirements, must be met before approval can be granted.

Although single-unit approval makes it easier for a borrower to get an FHA loan while purchasing a particular unit, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all other teams in the condo building will begin getting approved as well – this depends on separate evaluation systems that FHA has implemented in different states around the country.

However, some lenders may allow borrowers with single-unit approval to refinance their homes to take advantage of lower interest rates without needing additional inspections or sign-off from HUD officials since they have already assessed the property during its initial single-unit review process. Not every borrower can access this option. If you are interested in refinancing your home through single-unit approval, talk with your lender about the specifics of your situation.

Why Does a Condo Need to Be Approved for an FHA Loan?

When it comes to home financing, there are a variety of different routes you can take. One of the most popular is an FHA loan. An FHA loan is a mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). It allows individuals with lower credit scores and smaller down payment amounts to buy a home that wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a conventional loan.

Before you purchase that dream condo or townhouse, it must be approved for an FHA loan if you plan on taking this route. All condos must meet strict requirements and be certified by the HUD (Department of Housing and Urban Development) before being eligible for an FHA mortgage. Condominiums that don’t meet these requirements cannot receive certification, leaving few options for homeowners looking to move into them with an FHA loan.

Condos need to be approved for an FHA loan because they aren’t subject to the same regulation that other properties like single-family homes are. That means that HUD has more stringent criteria to recertify condos.

Unfortunately, due to their fluctuating value, it can sometimes be challenging to obtain financing through traditional channels making government-insured loans like those backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) even more appealing to condo complexes each year to meet specific criteria before obtaining approval from HUD so that eligible buyers can use government-backed loans such as those backed by the FHA for purchasing them.

The approval process typically takes 1-2 months, depending on any existing issues or potential roadblocks encountered in the verification process, along with fees required upfront when submitting paperwork as part of the application process, so everyone who plans on using this channel should plan accordingly and make sure all paperwork is a complete prior initiating application process through your lender or broker as you don’t want any unexpected delays prior closing your new home purchase.

The Pros and Cons of FHA-approved Condos

For those with a lower credit score, getting an FHA loan could represent the best choice because their eligibility for traditional low-down payment options might be limited otherwise. These loans are also attractive to first-time home buyers because their lower deposits make securing a mortgage easier. 

Additionally, interest rates may be more favorable with an FHA loan than other types requiring more stringent qualifications.

FHA-approved condos must be recertified every two years. Any changes after recertification could cause the conditions of an FHA loan to become less favorable if the complex falls out of compliance with the lenders’ requirements. This can mean higher restrictions on homeowner services, repairs, and developments that must occur within the neighborhood for existing homeowners to remain under specific contracts or preferential obligations.

If your credit is good enough, alternatives may exist with traditional down payments to avoid recurring recertification processes over time.

Real estate agents are invaluable resources when shopping for your first home, particularly when looking at FHA-approved condos since some specific regulations must be followed to obtain this type of mortgage loan, such as meeting a minimum credit score requirement of 580 instead of 620 with most lenders.

Ensure you thoroughly discuss your options with your lender and real estate agent when shopping around for a home purchase – especially if you plan on purchasing an FHA-approved condo.


In conclusion, FHA-approved condos in Pennsylvania offer several benefits to those looking for an affordable, stress-free home. Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or looking to downsize, FHA loans can help you finance your dream property. Just review all the rules and regulations associated with FHA-approved condos before purchasing. Considering all of these factors, investing in a condo in Pennsylvania will be a good decision for many buyers.

Alex Jaffe
FHA Review

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