House Hunt Update: The Saga Continues and Advice for Other FHA Homebuyers

Okay, so where were we?

Third time’s the charm: Last Saturday, I pulled the offer on the MurderHaus and put an offer on a newly-renovated unit in the condo community next door (asking price: $242,900, offer: $240,000 plus $5,000 in closing costs). This latest condo I looked at seemed like a much better deal, despite the higher price tag, so I was supremely confident that this place was going to be my new home.

On Sunday, the seller accepted my offer and countered a $2,500 concession in closing costs, which I accepted. So I’m getting the condo for $237,500. Fantastic. Break out the bubbly and have bacon fried rice for dinner.

Or not.

At least, not yet.

I came to find out on Monday that the condo property isn’t FHA-approved. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), allows for buyers to put down less than a 10% down payment. This is somewhat critical for me, since all my cash is somehow non-existent. Thankfully, not being an FHA-approved condo community isn’t a complete problem, since a lender can apply for “spot approval,” which is the fancy schmancy term for approval on a case-by-case basis. The rub is that this process can take a few weeks, given that paperwork needs to be collected from the condo and then submitted to HUD.

Lesson learned: I was so focused on finding a property that wasn’t a short sale that I didn’t even bother to check whether the ones I was looking at were FHA-approved. It’s not a tremendously big deal, but it does add more steps to an already complicated process. Just as an FYI to other FHA homebuyers out there.

The silver lining: I’m still proceeding as scheduled on my ratified contract on the condo. Here’s to hoping the spot approval process gets done sooner rather than later.

Next stop: Inspection!


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