I was recently presented with the following question from one of my clients. I am publishing it here, along with my answer, in hopes of sharing the knowledge. It is a common question that all of us within the HOA lending field should be able to answer.
What are some differences between a construction loan or line of credit from a “normal” bank and an HOA loan or line of credit as a specialized lending option? I’m having trouble understanding the pros and cons between them.
The differences are very stark. A construction loan handled by a traditional bank reflects that there is real estate involved. The financing provided might be to construct a building, expand a building or recondition a building. In all cases, the real estate has different degrees of value during the build out period. The bank’s collateral is the value of the real estate. Depending on the bank’s loan policy, the borrower will need to provide 20% to 30% cash into the project in advance. Consequently, the bank has a vested interest in the value of the property during its various stages of change. Therefore, the bank will monitor the project in some way and they will release money from the credit line once stages of build-out have been achieved based on a budget submitted in the beginning of the project.
A construction line of credit to a community association from a bank that is skilled at providing such financing operates on an entirely different logic. There is no real estate interest in a community association. The community association has common elements that are not separable from the association and the property owners have an indivisible interest in the common elements. Consequently there is no real estate value. The financing does not rely on the value of real estate as does a traditional construction loan discussed above. What is being financed is the lack of reserves. In essence, the association should have accumulated cash reserves over time in order to pay cash for any project that needs to be done. The collateral for such a loan is the Assignment of the Association’s right to levy and collection regular and special assessments. It is a cash flow based loan. The bank looks to the level of budget increase that needs to occur to support the loan in order to make a credit worthiness judgment. It is typical for a community association specialized bank to provide 100% financing of the project. Depending on the loan policy of the bank, the bank might simply provide the funding to the association as a lump some and want to have any interest in the construction activity of the project. Other banks might provide a line of credit that is available to be drawn on at the sole discretion of the association. In other cases, the bank might want to see evidence that the project is being performed before they release funds from the credit line. Not because they have a value concern but only to be sure a project is being done at all.
Many traditional banks are ill-equipped to even accept a loan application from a community association, timeshare, homeowner’s association, or any other commonly owned interest group. While there are a variety of reasons that this is true, the reality is that lending to a well-qualified community association, timeshare, homeowner’s association, or any other commonly owned interest group is a sound business practice that led to the creation of HOALendingXchange.
Qualifying for a community association, timeshare, homeowner’s association, or any other commonly owned interest group loan is really not so different from the way in which a business qualifies for a business loan. The community association, timeshare, homeowner’s association, or any other commonly owned interest group needs to show an ability to repay the loan and demonstrate that it has the credentials to seek the loan on behalf of its members. Other factors, such as creditworthiness, length of time incorporated, size and value of property, etc. go into the final determination but, for the most part, there is a lending solution for every community association, timeshare, homeowner’s association, or any other commonly owned interest group.
Are you ready to secure your community association, timeshare, homeowner’s association, or any other commonly owned interest group loan? Simply fill out our inquiry form and get started today.
Many condominiums and HOAs are filled with units and homes that are financed with bank-held mortgages. Reverse Mortgages are available to home and condo unit owners over the age of 62 who would prefer to draw money from the equity in their home or condo unit. These mortgage owners can either take a lump sum or periodic payments from the equity in their home. The mortgage holder gets paid back when the home is sold or liquidated upon the death of the mortgage owner.
The Federal Housing Administration, better known as FHA, is the leading insurer of these mortgages. Banks prefer to offer mortgages to borrowers and real estate that is FHA approved as it means FHA is willing to guarantee some of the risk associated with making the loan. For this reason, FHA approval of the property being mortgaged is very important.
Condominium associations and HOAs are not required to apply for FHA certification. In fact, many voluntarily choose not to undergo FHA certification. There are many reasons for this but FHA certification requires a 10% minimum contribution to the association Reserve Fund and also has percentage of rental unit caps and other restrictions. Associations that forego FHA certification are effectively limiting their unit owners from receiving an FHA-backed Reverse Mortgage. Many unit owners are surprised when they learn that their condominium or HOA unit is not eligible for such a mortgage, especially when their units are paid off and they wish to access their equity. This can lead to outcry from unit owners that the association seek FHA certification.
One concern many HOAs and condominium associations have about Reverse Mortgages is how they can affect the association’s ability to collect delinquent common fees. Once the Reverse Mortgage is issued, it behaves like any other mortgage. The association’s lien on the unit can be superseded by the mortgage holder’s lien in the event of a foreclosure. This can lead to a prolonged foreclosure process in the event of a default. For this reason alone, some associations prefer to keep their association’s free of FHA certification, thus preventing the mortgage holder’s lien from ever getting in the way of the association’s right to foreclose on a delinquent unit owner.
The bottom line is that the decision to seek FHA approval lies strictly with the Board of Directors. Unit owners seeking Reverse Mortgages will not be successful without an FHA approval for the community association. Depending on the number of unit owners aged 62 and greater, the demand for Reverse Mortgages could increase at any HOA. Boards should be aware of the needs of the unit owners and take appropriate steps to meet those needs or be prepared to explain why they chose to ignore them. Reverse Mortgages have grown greatly in popularity over the past few years. If your community association isn’t already approved for such loans, there will likely be a need in the not too distant future.
The decision to seek or not seek FHA certification does not impact an association’s ability to borrow money on behalf of the association should the need arise. HOALendingXchange.com is the ultimate resource for community associations and HOAs seeking money. Get started with your own HOA loan by simply filling out the HOALendingXchange inquiry form and HOA loan experts will get busy preparing their very best HOA loan concepts for your consideration.
That’s a question we get a lot. Believe it or not, lending to Condominium Associations and other common interest communities is our ONLY business. In the United States alone, Condominium Associations and other commonly owned properties make up more than 20% of the value of all residential real estate. There is more than 40 billion dollars spent annually on operating revenue. And the numbers are actually increasing. We think that is a market worth selling and servicing to.
The largest challenge facing this evolving industry is the lack of dedicated and specialized financial service professionals to service the growing demand for lending to Condominium Associations and other common interest communities. That is where HOALendingXchange comes in. We have seen the future of Condominium Associations like yours and we know that you will need lending solutions that are as unique as your community. Simply fill out our inquiry form and our HOA lending experts will submit their best concepts for your Condominium Association’s Lending needs.
As a banker specialized in the community association industry, I have paid close attention to the shifts of the banking industry since the beginning of the 2007 recession. The 2007 recession! Hmmmm… Has it ended yet?
One very significant point that the “man-on-the street” does not appreciate is the hyper level of new regulatory control that has been heaped upon banks since the beginning of the recession. As much of the “man-on-the-street” perspectives coalesce to; “a lot of Wall Street Bankers should have gone to jail”. The reality is that they did not. The government responded with enhanced bank regulations, which had the unintended consequence to restrict ease of access of capital to every-day people and businesses. Where does that leave you as a community association leader?
The bank regulators are formula driven versus being common sense driven. They, as individuals, also are nearly impossible to discharge from their positions so they are not worried about making business mistakes. For efficiency reasons the regulators perceive to be accurate, the regulators are focusing on the bigger banks. The bigger the bank, the more intense the regulatory oversight. A common perspective within the financial services industry is that the large banks have been privatized by the Federal government. Business decisions are being guided.
Enough of my whining and on to the answer for your community association. The point is that the platform for how banks operate has changed from how you have understood how they operate. Large banks have been interrupted due to regulatory inflexibility to operate in what one would consider as a “consumer service methodology”. I define a large bank as any bank over $5.0 Billion. A bank under that amount has been impacted by the regulatory environment but they still retain the “desire” to service the consumer. It has been my experience that banks over that level have largely capitulated to governmental demands.
So what is the best loan for your Community Association? It is likely a loan that is negotiated with a bank that is less than $5.0 Billion in Assets. It is a bank that is a member of Community Associations Institute (CAI) because they have decided to specialize in providing financing to this industry. The last and most important qualifier is skills. The first question that you need to ask the banker is: “How many years have you been a Community Association Specialized Lender?” If their answer is 7 years or less, keep shopping…
Why is the year 2008 an important pivot point? The regulatory impact is the key. A banker entering any business activity guided by the hyperactive pressure of the government’s regulatory pressure since the recession does not actually understand the community association industry. They understand government control.
If you find a banker that has been active in the market more than 7 years, you have a community association lending hero. A person that has many years of skills honed by the growth years, survived the recession and been managing against the regulatory environment.
A lot of this conversation does not seem to address the article’s title. The point is that there is much more to a community association loan than the interest rate. It is my experience that Community Associations are notorious for gravitating to everything that is cheap for the exclusive reason that it is cheap. The reality is that “value” is what is important, not “cheapness”. Getting good service and good quality products at a fair price is Value. If you deal with banks with bankers that have not been in the industry prior to 2008, chances are that you not getting a proper value. The banker may not understand your business (Association). The bank will not likely be the lower cost. The bank will most importantly be the providing the best Terms & Conditions because they have “Lawyered –Up” per their regulator’s requirements. Negotiating the Terms & Conditions of loan is far more important than negotiating a ¼ % interest rate difference between one bank and another. Terms & Conditions can cost the Association far more than a minor interest rate deferential.
The advance of technology and social media have allowed technology-based entities such as Lending Tree, Prosper, Lending Club and other so-called “Fin-Tech” companies to all but destroy the traditional bank lending model. These high-tech bank alternatives often give borrowers more affordable, desirable, and easy to obtain methods to borrow money, pay off debt, and more. They further add the element of convenience by putting their resources at the fingertips of anyone with access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
Meanwhile, condominium associations, cooperatives, timeshares, and other HOAs seeking loans have had to rely on the “old-fashioned” bank lending model to obtain HOA loans. It no longer makes sense to simply rely on the bank where you deposit association funds. It is irresponsible to seek a loan by simply working with a single sales representative just because you are familiar with him or her. Why not let technology remove the cumbersome burden of searching for an HOA loan? Why not avoid the mistake of poor results from conducting far too narrow a loan search?
The future of HOA lending is here! HOALendingXchange (https://hoalendingxchange.com) is bringing all of the power of technology to streamline the HOA loan inquiry process for all HOA borrowers. Using our system, borrowers complete one simple loan inquiry and then relax while lenders compete for their business. They receive the best loan concepts for them to evaluate and decide which lender to pursue for their HOA loan. Best of all, HOALendingXchange is FREE of charge to the borrower. It costs NOTHING for a borrower to use the system.
Here’s how it works. HOALendingXchange invites HOA lenders to review all loan inquiries that fit their lending parameters. In other words, lenders have told us what types of borrowers and loans they are interested in. Borrowers submit their HOA loan inquiry anonymously. All of the banks that match the borrowers request are alerted and then, anonymously, put forth their most competitive lending concept for the borrower to review. It all happens quickly because of the power of technology. Borrowers can expect to have lending concepts to review in just three business days!
Ready to get your next HOA loan? Want to learn more? Head over to https://hoalendingxchange.com and get started today. You’ll have the best HOA loan concepts ready to review in just three business days. Welcome to the future! Welcome to HOALendingXchange!
I recently was processing a loan application for $2.8 million for a Washington State condominium association of 66 units. The loan repayment was going to cause the Association’s regular monthly level income to triple. Not surprisingly, the Association responded that they could not afford such an increase. I appreciated that perspective and agreed. The sad part of the negotiation was that they still needed the funds in order to keep the property in a habitable condition. They were effectively looking for me to be a Genie and turn the Loan application into a Grant request. They were frantic because they were out of options.
I have been specialized in lending to community associations nationally for over 20 years. I have, in recent years, noted a concerning trend with loan applications. The loan requests have gone from funding the replacement of a single component such as a roof to becoming wholesale renovations of the respective buildings. The per-unit project costs have gone from an average of $2,500 to $25,000. The core issue is the underfunding of the Reserve Fund for easily determined future capital maintenance upgrades.
There are States that require, by law, community associations to have professionally prepared Reserve Studies and even require that the studies be updated periodically. The irony is that those proactive States do not require that Reserve funding indicated by the required Reserve Studies be fully funded. One of the States with the most rigorous set of regulations related to reserve studies is California. However, contradictory to logic, it is my most prolific market for loans due to excessive deferred maintenance of associations with inadequate reserves. The state wants the associations to know they are underfunded but they do not require that they solve the problem. What exactly is the point?
Reaffirming my anecdotal experience of excessive deferred maintenance is the number of loan applications that are due to a property being “Red Tagged”. This is something have I only been exposed to in the most recent five years. It is municipalities stepping forward and giving community associations formal notice that they have a specific date to get required repairs completed or the property will be condemned and must be immediately vacated. These types of circumstances do not come about overnight. Typically, there are warning notices issued over extended time periods. Yet, the Associations do not take the steps required. The dialog that ensues with me once these notices occur is that the unit owners cannot afford the repairs. Which is also to say that they could not afford the little bit of extra added to the monthly dues that would allow for building of cash reserves. Effectively, the unit owners never could afford to live in the particular property that it is about to be taken from them.
In theory, loans for capital maintenance upgrades are not a product that should exist. There is no valid reason for a community association to be significantly under reserved. There is a very accurate and sophisticated system practiced by skilled and licensed professionals to generate life cycle analysis of community association components. The report generated is able to determine the estimated level of cash reserve needed at any point in time for the association to self-fund improvements. Special assessments should be limited to the potential differences in those estimates when actual repairs occur. The additional reality is that most people cannot afford to live in the units they currently occupy because they “claim” they cannot afford the projected future capital maintenance need that should be added to their monthly association dues.
There are 3 realities to living in a community association:
- The property will wear out.
- The improvement projects will not go away or become less expensive.
- The only place the funds to support the improvement projects will come from is the unit owners whether by building reserves, special assessments or loan payments.
It is my perception based on the ever-expanding problem. In the near future, regulatory agencies such as FHA, the insurance industry or the mortgage industry are going to inject themselves into the problem and require proper levels of reserves. Community associations are not likely to solve this pervasive problem themselves.
We are in an age of dramatically more devastating natural events: frequent and expansive wild fires, intense hurricanes, stronger tornadoes and historic rains/snowfall resulting in record flooding. As never before, establishing catastrophe planning strategies supported by adequate insurance coverage is a critical element to restoring the facilities impacted.
There is a banking program specific to community associations that is particularly valuable for the environmental changes being experienced. The program has traditionally been referred to as a “Standby Line of Credit for Named Storm Damage”. The reason such a bank facility becomes valuable has largely to do with expediency and unforeseen dilemmas with insurance coverage. The general description of such a program is that it is an existing availability of cash specific to the occurrence of a particular catastrophe. The funds may be needed to protect damaged property from further deterioration, restore the property while waiting for insurance proceeds or to restore uninsured portions of a property. For instance, many communities have landscaping and ground cover features worth thousands if not millions that are not insurable. There may be unanticipated loopholes in coverage such as damage to a swimming pool from a flood not being covered.
An emergency Line of credit for named storm damage typically is structured as follows. The association applies with a community association specialized bank. The loan amount is determined based on what level of restoration the association may want to accomplish in an immediate time period versus waiting for insurance proceeds. For instance, NOAA identifies the East Coast hurricane season as being from June through November. Consequently, a bank would establish an annually renewable line of credit for the time period of May 1st through April 30th. This allows for a community association to experience the catastrophe, draw on the credit line and hopefully have enough time to repay the amount advanced before the next hurricane season starts. A properly structured credit facility will have a term loan function built into the loan documents. Meaning, if the credit line is not paid off by the April 30th expiration date of the credit line, the principal amount outstanding will automatically convert to being an amortizing transaction. The term of this amortization period may be 3, 5, or 7 years. It is likely that if such a conversion occurs, the renewal of the credit line may not occur. Although this is the traditional product structure based on Named Storm Damage, the concept can be adjusted to accommodate regions susceptible to wild fires, flooding or tornadoes.
Approval for such a bank program may have some unique credit review criteria. As insurance coverage is the anticipated appropriate payout resource, a bank may require review of the Association’s insurance coverage by a licensed public insurance adjusted to be sure the property is adequately covered. It is likely the association will need to have reserve balances that are sufficient to support the level of insurance policy deductibles. Other standard community association loan approval criteria will likely apply: delinquency level within an appropriate range; investor/owner ratio with an appropriate range; collateral being a first position assignment of assessments.
The timely collection of fees and assessments is the lifeblood of any HOA, condominium association, co-operative, or timeshare. However, unit owners are not always able to pay their fees and assessments on time. Depending on the state you live in and the penalties for late payments ascribed in the governing documents, delinquency is handled in one a few different methods. This article describes some of the best practices common interest community associations can use to keep their delinquencies to a minimum and their collection efforts on track to keep the revenue flowing while the delinquency is remedied.
Most HOAs have rules about when payments are late and what steps the association should take to collect delinquent funds. Consult with your association’s governance documents to see how delinquencies are handled at your HOA. If the documents are silent or the penalties are not strong enough to encourage compliance, it may be time for new rules and a document revision to help ensure that there are adequate penalties and remedies in place for late payments. Generally speaking, a fine ($25 or so) is imposed for payments that are 10 days or more in arrears. Additionally, there are collection efforts at 30, 60, and/or 90 day intervals when payments are missed.
At 30 days, a letter of demand is usually issued. This letter details the delinquency, reaffirms the fine that went out 10 days after the payment was missed and details what further collection activities await if the payment is not made in timely fashion. At 60 days, the matter is generally turned over to the association’s attorney or collection agent for legal proceedings. The legal costs are generally paid by the association and assessed to the delinquent unit owner as outlined in the association’s governing documents. The simple desire to avoid all of these additional costs is usually enough incentive for the unit owner to make good on the debt at this time. The addition of the attorney’s fees on top of the unpaid common fees and fine really drive up the debt. It is not uncommon for these fees to top $500 or more depending on the part of the country you live.
Finally, if the delinquent unit owner is unable or unwilling to pay the delinquent fees, the association can begin foreclosure proceedings against the unit owner. Again, laws vary from state to state but, generally speaking, delinquency can be remedied via foreclosure action, although unit owners have very specific rights from state to state. That is why it is best for associations to work closely with legal counsel during this phase of collection procedures. Laws also vary from state to state about the right of priority (who gets paid first) when foreclosure occurs as there are usually multiple claimants in the foreclosure proceeding. It is a drastic and final measure for just this reason.
There are times when HOAs, condominiums, timeshares, and cooperatives simply need more money than they have collected for capital improvement projects that are needed. HOALendingXchange.com is the easy choice for community associations and HOAs seeking money. Getting started with your own HOA loan is easy. Simply fill out the HOALendingXchange inquiry form and HOA loan experts will get busy preparing their very best HOA loan concepts for your consideration.
Capital maintenance loans are available to condominium and homeowner’s associations to fund projects when there is a lack of adequate financial reserves. Whether you are a Property Manager, Board President or a service provider to a common interest community, there will likely come a time when there just isn’t enough money to fund the next big project. Inflation, failure to plan, unforeseen expenses and more can create a cash drain on even an otherwise successful community association. In the past, special assessments seemed to be the only way a community could quickly raise capital to fund these projects. Today’s savvy community association leader knows that a capital maintenance loan is almost always a better choice to fund such projects for so many reasons. HOALendingXchange can help!
Upfront benefits include the ability to act on behalf of the association as a whole rather than relying on the special assessment process of levying and collecting assessments. Owners within the association will be asked to increase their monthly payments instead of having to come up with a lump sum all at one time. This is more in line with how they pay for other expenses in the association and will not, typically, create an undue burden, unlike the special assessment which brings with it an ominous “pay now or else” collection approach. Once the capital maintenance loan is secured, the association can get on with the business of evaluating bids, hiring contractors, purchasing materials, and spending their efforts where it is most needed in bringing the capital maintenance project to successful completion. They can do so with the confidence that they have the ability to pay their vendors and suppliers, which savvy negotiators can even use to their advantage to get a better price.
The types of projects that are eligible for capital maintenance loans are extensive. They range from everyday items such as roof replacement to far more complicated projects like marina restoration. Capital maintenance loans could be used for sidewalks and walkways that need repair or a complete parking lot installation. The one thing all of these projects have in common is a large price tag. Even communities with healthy reserves should consider the value of financing their capital maintenance projects with a loan instead of draining the reserve fund. It allows the community to remain fiscally strong and complete its capital maintenance projects.
HOALendingXchange was designed with community associations in need of capital maintenance loans in mind. Our community association lenders are experts at working with community association leaders and designing capital maintenance loan programs that are right for them. Every community association loan we arrange is as unique as the community our banks loan to. We make it easy for communities to apply. To learn more and see if your community association qualifies for a capital improvement loan, get in touch with HOALendingXchange today!