Emi has been able to convert customers I've had who initially wanted to do a FHA loan into a conventional loan. By applying the higher up front FHA fees to their down payment and in some cases asking the buyer to wait just a few months to save up a little more, she has been able to turn FHA buyers into conventional buyers which has saved them thousands and enabled them to get the condo unit they wanted. Obviously those folks qualified for both loan types. Just because you're thinking of a 3.5% down payment doesn't mean another idea isn't better for you. This is why you really need to find an excellent licensed mortgage banker who will work with you, one on one, to determine what loan is best for your needs. While I love technology, you can't do that through your computer.
When it comes to financing new developments it can be tricky to gain financing using a lender who has to underwrite according to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, or FHA. I would need to gain a better understanding of The Whitney, but from my search they are not approved with FHA. So you know, you can look up all condos of interest and run them through to see if they're FHA-approved: https://entp.hud.gov/idapp/html/condlook.cfm
I do, however, work with a handful of portfolio lenders (local banks in Bergen & Hudson County) that do offer financing for new developments since they have much more flexibility. If you'd like to run your scenario by me in greater depth I'd be more than happy to further elaborate and give my expertise. Please don't hesitate contacting me directly via phone or email.
Paul F. Marzolla
Sr. Mortgage Consultant