Purchasing a condo/townhouse/loft in today's lending climate can get a bit complicated. Not only does the lender look at your financial picture, they also look at the financial health of the development. In the long run, this offers you greater protection. HOA's who have problems collecting their dues can later run into problems in meeting their financial obligations, and this might result in a large assessment on the individual homeowners in the development. This is a concern to your lender.
Regarding your obligation to your lender, there is no obligation, especially if he is unable to get you the loan you need. Regarding the appraisal, since you paid for it, you own it. If the appraiser is on the accepted list of the next lender you work with, they will be able to transfer the appraisal.
Two final notes. (1) Since you are using CalFHA and HiCap, it sounds like you are a first time homebuyer. These programs are extremely strict on making sure you, the homeowner to be, does not get themselves into a development were the HOA could go bankrupt or need to make special assessments. If the HOA does indeed have significant reserves, perhaps your lender can try to get the deal manually underwritten. Unfortunately, there are not many lenders who know how to do that. I would be happy to refer one to you. I specialize in working with 1st Time Homebuyers and know a lender who has successfully closed loans no one else could. Contact me if you would like this referral.
(2) You might want to look into lofts that are still being sold by the developer. Many of these developers are currently offering big incentives (I know of one giving a $50,000 buyer incentive at this time) and have their own deals cut with lenders so they do not have to worry about the FHA guidelines on occupancy and HOA collections. I would be happy to give you more information on this pathway, if it is of interest to you.
Best of luck in finding your perfect home at the perfect price and Dare to Dream.
Real Estate Consultant
RE/MAX Palos Verdes Realty
I'm not sure if your loan has closed yet but many lender will share there appraisals if they are unable to close the loan. Other lenders do not have to go through Fannie Mae so you may have better luck elsewhere.
The Reavis Group
Keller Williams Wilshire