WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA-FHA Pros LLC, a national Federal HousingAdministration condominium approval service, will be soon launchingan online resource for buyers, sellers, lenders, real estateagents, property managers and appraisers that provides full reportson FHA approval status for condos across the country. According tothe company, this is the first comprehensive platform of its kindfor condos that streamlines the process of identifying FHA-approvedproperties and comes at a time when demand for such properties isat an all-time high.

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“With FHA loans making up almost half of new residentialmortgages, real estate professionals, buyers and sellers face thechallenge of quickly identifying and obtaining information onFHA-approved properties,” explains Chris Gardner, founder andpresident of FHA Pros LLC.

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Due to the elimination of “spot approval” in February 2010, anentire condominium development must now apply to US Department ofHousing and Urban Development and be granted FHA approval beforesomeone can purchase or refinance a unit using an FHA loan.

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The company created its www.checkfhaapproval.com platform “afterwitnessing existing FHA Pros clients’ increasing frustrations withthe process of identifying which condo properties were approved,”says Gardner. “In some cases FHA transactions even in approvedcondo developments ultimately fell apart due to eligibilityconcerns and we knew there had to be a better way.”

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FHA approval is required in order for an FHA loan to be possiblein a given condo development, but it is eligibility that ultimatelydetermines whether an FHA loan will be funded by a lender andinsured by FHA. “We have invested countless hours designing andbuilding a cutting edge technology platform from the ground upwhich provides users with a detailed report for a given condoaddress, showing FHA approval status as well as eligibilitystatistics,” says Eric Diamond, CEO of the company. “In essence, wewanted to make life significantly easier for everyone involved inthe search for and sale of an FHA-approved condo.”

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Resources for identifying and obtaining information aboutFHA-approved condominiums have traditionally been scarce anddifficult to navigate, requiring paper trails, legal names ofproperties and significant investments of time, according to thecompany. With a street address, the new online tool can immediatelyidentify whether a property has the FHA approval status. It alsoprovides users with a wealth of eligibility information. The reportincludes: approval status—indicating whether the address searchedis located in a condo on HUD’s approved roster and thereforewhether an FHA loan is possible; eligibility status—noting whethercertain criteria have been satisfied and therefore whether an FHAloan will likely be funded by a lender and insured by FHA; FHAconcentration percentage—the percentage of mortgages in adevelopment that are FHA insured. Concentration is relevant becausecurrent HUD rules allow only up to 50% of a development’s mortgagesto be FHA; owner occupancy percentage—reflecting whether a condoproject has the minimum 50% owner occupancy rate (a requiredeligibility criterion); investor Ownership (10% Rule)—indicatingwhether one investor owns more than 10% of the units within anassociation; if such is the case, an FHA loan will not be funded orinsured; maximum FHA loan amount for the area; number of units inthe association; decertification date; and pending litigationinformation.

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“The FHA Pros platform is an especially useful resource intoday’s real estate market where an increasing number ofprospective homebuyers are faced with challenges in obtainingfinancing,” says Richard Swerdlow, CEO of Condo.com. “The new toolremoves the frustrations from the opaque FHA approval hunt, whichwill allow our users to direct their attention to finding theproperty that’s right for them through the seamless searchexperience provided on Condo.com,” adds Swerdlow.

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The website launches on Monday, with FHA search capabilitiesavailable in 11 states including Alaska, Arizona, California,Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, New York, Texas, Washington, WestVirginia and Wyoming. FHA Pros will be adding additional states ona regular basis, with full national search capabilities expectedwithin six months.

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Natalie Dolce

Natalie Dolce, editor-in-chief of GlobeSt.com and GlobeSt. Real Estate Forum, is responsible for working with editorial staff, freelancers and senior management to help plan the overarching vision that encompasses GlobeSt.com, including short-term and long-term goals for the website, how content integrates through the company’s other product lines and the overall quality of content. Previously she served as national executive editor and editor of the West Coast region for GlobeSt.com and Real Estate Forum, and was responsible for coverage of news and information pertaining to that vital real estate region. Prior to moving out to the Southern California office, she was Northeast bureau chief, covering New York City for GlobeSt.com. Her background includes a stint at InStyle Magazine, and as managing editor with New York Press, an alternative weekly New York City paper. In her career, she has also covered a variety of beats for M magazine, Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, FashionLedge.com, and Co-Ed magazine. Dolce has also freelanced for a number of publications, including MSNBC.com and Museums New York magazine.