Condo Unit Financing Almost Killed Due to Reserve Contribution

gstockstudioLast week a loan officer contacted me regarding a loan he had in  process.  At the 11th hour, the lender was rejecting the conventional (Fannie Mae) loan based on the association’s contribution to the reserve account.  According to the underwriter, the association was contributing less than 10% to the reserve account; the contribution was $6,400 short by their calculations.

He asked for my input.

After reviewing a copy of the budget, I wrote down some points for my friend to bring to the attention of the underwriter.

The first of which was that the underwriter was calculating the percentage using the total amount of annual income.  This included a line item called “Rollover from 2014”.  This is not actual income to the association; it is a transfer of equity funds from the operating account consisting of accumulated funds from previous years.  Thus, it should be removed from the calculation.

In addition, there was income listed from the rental of an office space and of storage units.  These are not common charges and should also be removed from the calculation.

There is a special assessment called a “Garage Fee” listed as income and an expense of the same amount labeled as “Garage Reserves”.  The underwriter was using the income in the calculation but was not including the expense towards Garage Reserves citing that those funds “spoken for”.

I posed that special assessment funds are not to be included in the calculation unless they are charges to specific unit owners that are common every year.  And, if the income is to be included, so should the Garage Reserves contribution because it is going into a fund that will pay for the replacement/repairs of the garages, aka, common elements.

After forwarding my rebuttal to the underwriter, my friend replied that the lender had done an “about-face” and approved the condo’s budget.

This loan almost didn’t happen because the underwriter was not completely familiar with Fannie Mae’s guidelines.  How many other loans have been errantly rejected for this same reason?

Top Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo / gstockstudio