Learn To Love the Condo

By Stephanie Diana Wilson- Gast

So, I thought I would shake things up with the topic of condos and do more of an opinion post.  Across the industry even with friends in the industry at other companies say how much they don’t like condos as a product to sell or underwrite.  Even strangers in the industry wince at me when I explain what my job title is and what I do. Honestly it makes me feel like a dentist in the fact people look at you like you must be crazy to be in that field but they want to know a bit more and may open their mouth wanting you to take a peek.

Although to those who say they “Don’t like”, or “hate” condos I say to them…”Learn to love the condo”.  The reason for this is Condos are not going anywhere.  In fact with the housing crisis we have been seeing in California, Colorado, and Washington Condos are becoming more and more prevalent.  Even during the economic crisis the SF Gate noted how Condo sales were starting to pick up in the San Francisco bay area market.  http://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/Condo-sales-picking-up-in-Bay-Area-4207185.php.   The Daily News New York notes the increase in condos being built especially for affordable housing purchases. http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/real-estate/wave-new-new-york-city-condos-ranges-affordable-astronomical-article-1.1936804

As Condos grow in popularity among home buyers everyone across the board should learn to love the condo.  Not only in the long run if one learns how to review or at least what documents to get for a lenders condo team and what FNMA and Freddie Mac require condos become easier to love.  Especially since in November of 2014 FNMA over hauled their guidelines making the guidelines more flexible for lenders to lend in condos. Litigation, condo hotel and mismanaged project are still something to watch out for but, they are better defined now and with the help of the internet easier to sniff out.

Using the San Francisco bay area as an example Paragon Real Estate group puts the median housing price in San Francisco as $600,000- $6,500,000.  http://www.paragon-re.com/What_Costs_How_Much_Where_in_the_Bay_Area .  Trulia’s website even confirms this as well http://www.trulia.com/real_estate/San_Francisco-California/market-trends/ with math mathematical trends.  Even naming the most popular neighborhoods. Here in Marin County a 2-3 bedroom Condo is going for $350k to $600k where a falling apart single family home or to those of us in the industry an “SFR” is going for $800k- $1 million.  Even people in Silicon Valley markets are feeling a similar price range as well.  And for a borrower a condo is a good investment if only for less stress regarding the outward upkeep of the property and insurance.  Also condos are not just an urban housing type anymore they are all over the place.  So even getting a detached unit inside of a condo complex sounds like a good financial move for the borrower.
And that is just that a home be it an SFR or a condo is just that a financial move.

As those who work in the mortgage industry we need to learn to love the products we sell just as our borrowers fall in love with the units they want to buy.  In the end even if it is more paper work, and studying on anyone from the broker to the post closer our jobs are to help people reach the aspect of the American dream about home ownership and making that very special financial discussion.   Love it or hate it that’s our job.  So, I again recommend to learn to love the condos.  They are not going anywhere, and as we share the passion of what we do so should we share in a love of a good condo.


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