Orange County FHA, VA & First Time Buyer Loan Information: January 2018

My goal is to provide valuable information for home buyers, both First Time Buyers and Move Up Buyers. This information will be about loan programs such as FHA ,VA, Conventional Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Reverse Mortgages, and even Portfolio Jumbo programs. I will also touch on tax advantages of homeownership, Rent vs. Own analysis, and any other aspect of loans and home ownership that will be of interest to Orange County home buyers and homeowners.

How to Find VA Approved Condos in Orange County, CA

Finding VA approved condos in Orange County, CA can be tricky.
But if you are a Veteran looking to purchase a condo in Orange County, you will most likely want to restrict your home search to only those condos that are located within a VA approved condo project if you plan on using VA financing. Similar to FHA, VA has condo lookup website. However, it's not very easy to use.


Why Does the Condo Project Need to be VA Approved?

VA wants to make sure the condo project meets certain criteria before allowing financing within the project. Unlike FHA, which requires a review of condo documentation and financial statements every 2 years, VA is fairly loose and does not do periodic reviews. That makes it easier and is also why there are many more VA approved condo projects that FHA approved condo projects in Orange County. 

Can I get a Condo Project Approved?

It is possible to get a condo project approved, but it may not be easy. It can take anywhere from 45 to 90 days to get a condo project VA approved, which makes it difficult to do while in the middle of trying to buy a condo on a 30 to 45 day escrow period. And this is why, in most cases, you will want to restrict your search to only those condos that are already VA approved.





How do I know if a Condo Project is VA Approved?

Determining whether a condo in Orange County, CA is VA approved is not easy. In many cases, the condo management company has no clue whether a project is VA approved. I have run into situations where the condo management company insists a project is not VA approved even when the project is approved and has been for years. And this is why it is important to work with someone who knows how to determine whether a project is approved.


The VA condo Lookup site is not super easy to use. When doing a search, it's best to make the search criteria as broad as possible. For example, if you found a condo you like in Irvine and know the name of the project, don't limit your search by entering the name of the project. Do a search for all of Irvine and see if the condo is on the list. But don't stop there. Many VA approved condo projects are only listed by Tract Number, not name.


For example, if you were interested in a condo within Northwood Square Townhomes, you will not find the name listed. But the Tract Number for Northwood Square Townhomes, which is #11592, is listed as approved.  In many cases knowing the Tract Number is more important than knowing the actual project name.


While the VA is doing their best to update how approved condo projects are shown on the VA Loopup site, there are still many tricks you need to be aware of. For example, back in the old days (I'm really not sure how far back, but I've been closing VA loans since 1990), the VA Condo Lookup could only handle 15 characters in the city name. So even now this affects the search results. If you type in "Rancho Santa Margarita" you will only find 17 VA approved condo projects. But if you type in only the first 15 characters, "Rancho Santa Ma", you will find there are 48 VA approved condo projects. And they are a different 48 projects. So actually there are 65 VA approved condo projects in Rancho Santa Margarita.  


Huntington Beach is the same story. If you type in "Huntington Beach" you will find 34 VA approved condo projects. But if you type in "Huntington Beac" you will find another 42 VA approved condo projects. There are a total of 76 VA approved condo projects in Huntington Beach.

The Easy Way to Look for VA Approved Condos for Sale

Most Veterans and the agents they work with will start the home search by looking at ALL Condos. Then, the Veteran will narrow down which condos they are most interested in. Then the real estate agent will go through the tedious process of trying to figure out which condos are VA approved and which are not. This can be a frustrating process when it is determined that many of the favored condos are not VA approved. Then its back to the drawing board.  There is an easier way.


Work with a local Orange County VA Loan specialist who can provide a list of the VA approved Tract Numbers for the city you are interested in. Your real estate agent can then drop those Tract Numbers into their MLS search and provide you, the Veteran, with a list of condos that are located within VA approved condo projects. Doing it this way saves time and frustration. 


Authored by Tim Storm, a California Mortgage Loan Officer MLO 223456 – Please contact my office at the Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation. Direct line at 949-640-3102. I will prepare custom FHA and Conventional loan scenarios which will be matched up to your financial goals, both long and short term. I also prepare a Video Explanation of your scenarios so that you are able to fully understand the numbers BEFORE you have started the loan process.


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Comment balloon 1 commentTim Storm • January 23 2018 05:39PM
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