Hey there, I am looking at buying a condo in the downtown Denver area, but am told that coventional loans only loan up to 90%, is that true?

Asked by Austin, Denver, CO Thu Apr 12, 2012

Do conventional loans loan over 90% for high rise projects? If so, are the DTI ratios affected at all? I know the question is pretty open ended, so feel free to add anything you feel is relevant.

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Julie Montgo…, , 80238
Fri Jun 7, 2013
Hi -- that's no true. You can get a conventional loan at 3% or 5% if your credit is 700+. DTI comes into play on every loan, regardless of down payment. One of my lenders offers a 5% down program that you can use to pay the upfront MI, which will lower your monthly payment around $200 per month. Lots of opportunities out there. Julie Montgomery, Elite Denver Home Sales, LLC. 303-906-3150
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Christine Ni…, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu Jun 6, 2013
I think it is more of an individual lender by lender decision, and the building itself factors in as well. I have two that I believe could help you with a 95% loan. Shoot me an email if you'd like their info. Thanks!
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Stuart Dobson, , Broomfield, CO
Thu Jun 6, 2013
There seems to be a lot of confusion over the lending on this type of property. One of the key misconceptions is Fannie or Freddie lending guidelines vs independent mortgage bankers or lenders overlays on what they will lend on.

for example, Fannie Mae may back a 97.5% loan on such a property with a 680 credit score, whereas your local mortgage broker cannot do the loan for less than 90% LTV and a 720 credit score.

I would recommend you check with at least three different lenders, national and local at least, to see what can actually be accomplished.

A good place to start may be eLoanRates.org, our clients have had decent success with them recently.

good luck!
Web Reference:  http://eloanrates.org/
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Brenda Meyers, Agent, Boulder, CO
Wed May 22, 2013
So much misinformation out there.

Gavin Ekstrom is one of the finest - his info and team info can be found here:

Much luck in your search!
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Christine Ni…, Agent, Denver, CO
Mon May 20, 2013
You will benefit from using a very active lender. I highly recommend Pamela Todd of Megastar Financial, 720-891-1267, ptodd@megastarfinancial.com. One issue that has become much trickier is whether or not a project is "warrantable." The FHA and VA both have protocols to approve projects, and those approvals last for two years. It is up to the HOA in each project to ensure that the approval is renewed. Unfortunately, it costs a relatively small amount of money to renew, but it will limit the types of loans that can be used in these projects. Some HOAs are short-sighted and dont realize how this will impact the resale opportunities within their buildings. A good lender will check this out for you on the early side (as will a good Realtor). Best wishes!
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Robert McGui…, Agent, Denver, CO
Fri Feb 22, 2013

There are many types of conventional programs available for purchases. Consult with a good lender to get that question answered. You may be able to get a loan with 5% down or less. I recommend Joe Massey at Castle and Cook Mtg. - 303-809-7769.

Robert McGuire ASR
Your Castle Real Estate
Direct - 303-669-1246
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Yolanda Vare…, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu Feb 21, 2013
You can get a 5% down conventional loan, let me know if you need a lender that does those.
Yoli Varela - yolivarela@gmail.com - 303.748.6559
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Julie Montgo…, , 80238
Thu Feb 21, 2013
Hi Austin -- absolutely not true. You can go as low as 3% down with conventional if your credit scores are over 700. Also, money is so cheap right now, my advice is to put down as little as possible.

Here's why: let's say on a $300,000 house a 10% down payment is $30,000. That's a lot of money. Let's use 5% down conventional, which takes that amount down to $15,000 and you get to keep $15,000 liquid in your savings account.

I don't know why lenders don't tell people this, but the difference in your monthly mortgage payment ($30,000 down vs $15,000 down) will only be around $150.00 more per month.

Julie Montgomery, RE/MAX Masters, Inc., Greenwood Village, CO http://www.jmontgomery.com or 303-771-9400.
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Rick Janson, Agent, Denver, CO
Wed Feb 20, 2013
Check in with
Kenneth P. Caiani
Loan Officer / Team Lead
Direct: 888-327-6199
Cell: 720-936-7617
Fax: 888-363-8986
Email: thekencaianigroup@gmail.com
Team Site: http://www.about.me/kencaianigroup

He's an outstanding lender who will treat you well. If there is a niche product out there, he'll know about it.

You can search downtown condos via this link: http://tinyurl.com/denvercondos

~ Rick Janson
Denver Lifestyleâ„¢ Real Estate
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Marianne Ban…, Agent, Englewood, CO
Fri May 4, 2012
Our lender, Blair Weed with Meridian Lending does 3% conventional loans. His # is 303-407-0100. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE downtown condos! Great choice for area.
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Jennifer Hud…, Agent, Denver, CO
Sat Apr 14, 2012
Hi Austin,

I see that you did receive lots of answers; however, everyone of them are in regards to FHA loans. My lender does conventional loans that only require 3% down. FHA loans have lots of restrictions including the owner occupancy ratios. I have had many condo listings that had buyers but couldn't get past the owner occupancy ratios, HOA financials, etc. Also, they have mortgage premiums (thousands of dollars up front) and mortgage insurance which can save you approximately $100/month depending on the purchase price. I referred this lender to the buyers for my listings because their lender couldn't get their loan closed. My lender made it happen on every occasion. He's very responsive, ethical and diligent! Call me!
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Jennifer Hud…, Agent, Denver, CO
Sat Apr 14, 2012
Hi there,

I don't know if you found an answer for your question because it was posted a few days ago. Anyways, I have a lender who has a convention loan with 3% down and no mortgage insurance or premiums. Although, there is an income cap it's not too low. Give me a call and I would be happy to set you up with him and also if you are in need of a great buyer's agent, I have a platinum (100%) customer satisfaction rating from Quality Service.

Jennifer Hudson
RE/MAX Southeast
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Newman.scott, Home Buyer,
Fri Apr 13, 2012
I have been the preferred lender for 2 large projects in the downtown for over 4 years and depending on the project and what the project approval looks like, you can get in with a down payment as low as 3.5%. Call me and I will give you the details.

Vickie Newman
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B, , Denver, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012
Hi Austin,
I am a Realtor that keeps his office, home, and recreation nesteld amongst these concrete towers in the sky that you and I both know as LoDo! One of the main home page slideshow photos, of a downtown sunset, will show you the evening view from my office - I share your passion for this type of construction, it is one of my specialties - see http://www.BrianFurer.com

I would take to heart the advice of the last couple Loan Officers that responded, they are very much correct, the answer is: "It depends"...... depends on if the project is on the FHA list, warrantable, etc. For example, The Beauvallon just lost their FHA approval! This changes things for the buyer. Truly, the question should be approached on a case by case basis. The best route to go is for you to see which programs (and subsequently what down payment) is right for you, then we match that with the correct building.

Or, if you have a specific building in mind, we simply run that by your lender.

This "problem" was made more pronounced by the foreclosure boom, whereas the buildings ravaged by foreclosures had most of that inventory reabsorbed by investors, who in turn rent them to a subsequently growing rental market. While good for the HOA to have the units generating operational revenue again, many buildings have lost their certification.

In response, some lending institutions are devising programs for this very situation, non-FHA, non-warrantable condos. I have personally represented a buyer who was able to put 3.5% down on an FHA qualification loan, but it was actually conventional as the project had only sold 50% of the units! This type of portfolio loan can work in specific situations. If the usual methods don't work on a specific building, you can then try those avenues.

I would enjoy this project - if you do not already have a Realtor please do feel free to contact me!

Brian A Furer
Broker Owner, VIP Real Estate Co
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Linda Evans…, Agent, Aurora, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012
Hi Austin, there are 2539 condos in Denver that offer FHA financing. It depends on the community. Each community has to be prior approved by FHA and have 51% owner occupied, among other conditions. The mzximum loan for FHA is $417,000.. Most people choose FHA financing because of the low down payment, but there are other financing options that also have low down payments. FNMA (Fannie Mae) is 3% down, CHFA is $1000, subject to the purchase price, Tell more specifically , what you had in mind to get more light concerning your options. There is even a "no down",government program with a score requirement of 660. If you have not committed to a Broker, I'd be happy to help. My 38 years experience may come in handy.
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Ray, , Denver, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012

If you are saying it is FHA approved, but there are less than 50% owner occupants, then it would not be eligible for FHA financing.

If it has more than 30% renters in it, it is not eligible for traditional FNMA financing. Also, if there are more than 15% delinquencies on the HOA (>30 days) than it is not elgible either. Either one of these would make it non-warrantable to FNMA, which requires higher down payment and above market rate.

If it is eligible for conventional financing then 5% down is acceptable if your scores and debt ratios are in line.

VA, needs to be VA approved to be eligible for VA financing and 100% financing, and you must be an eligible veteran.

Ray Williams
Branch Manager
Summit Home Mortgage Denver
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Austin, Home Buyer, Denver, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012
Thanks for the answers.

The community is FHA approved late last year, but the condo survey has revealed that it has an occupancy ratio of less than 50% (I guess 2nd homes do not count in the occupancy calculation). Seems like a strong building I was very surprised when the survey came back.
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Ben Gearhart, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012

We could do a 95% loan, under 417k however we would need to know the exact high rise project. I specialize in condo financing and would be able to shed light on the highest leverage product in the market. We also have a 2nd to 95% however, it is a very short amortization on the 2nd and would drive up your payment a bit. We would need to identify a few items within the HOA to make sure it is warrantable for Fannie/Freddie and the MI company. Also if you are veteran we can go to 100%.

Please feel free to give me a call and we can discuss the project and the best options.

Ben Gearhart
Mortgage Banker
Licensed, bonded, & insured--LMB 100028119 NMLS: 379387
M 303.910.7015
F 720.324.5069
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Sloan Hollo…, , Bend, OR
Thu Apr 12, 2012

10% allows for limited reveiw of the condo. This is why you are being told.

You can go 5% down by the guidelines but it falls on the HOA and if the condo is current to guidelines with Private Mortgage Insurance, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac ,and/or FHA.

It is very hard to do in today's current environment in Denver. Everything has to fall into place and most of the time the borrower has to bring more (10% down) to get the deal closed because something fails to meet a guideline with condo and HOA.

Sloan Holloway
724 S Pearl St
Denver, CO 80121
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Tracy Shaffer, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012
There are lender questions and there are real estate agent questions. This one is a bit of both, leaning toward the lender. The condo market has more variables than the single family residence does, with HOAs, investor/owner occupied ratios and FHA approval ratings. Many times the answers are clearer when the question relates to a specific building and unit. I'd suggest you speak to your lender (if you need a recommendation, I'd be glad to provide you with my favorites) about what you want in a loan- down payment amount, monthly payment, interest rates- and the amount of home you will qualify for. Then take a look around the Denver market to see what you like and what suits your needs. You may find that some great buildings don't look so pretty on the 'inside'. Have you thought of purchasing with a 3.5% down FHA loan? Interest rates are competitive and can be a great option. Please don't hesitate to call if you need more info or would like to see what the downtown condo market has to offer.
Good luck on your journey!
Tracy Shaffer, Broker Associate
Your Castle Real Estate
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Kevin (720)…, , Denver County, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012

Having your financing in place first is the best approach to purchasing a home congratulations. I can answer your question but it would be a dis-service. I have a lender you can call.
Kevin Sprintz 303-641-7728. He recently helped me with a buyer that had less than perfect credit.
If you need help shopping for a downtown home I would be more than willing to assist.
Give me a call ans Good luck to you.
Kevin Connolly
Verde Denver Real Estate & Property Management
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Lance Smith, Agent, Westminster, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012
Your best bet is to contact a lender. There are many different programs available that may interest you. If you would like I can put you in touch with some great lenders. Thank you
Web Reference:  http://armstrongrealtor.com
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Pete Cook, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012
You would be surprised at how many variations you will find as you ask around. Every lender will have different criteria. Click the link below for two my clients have been very happy with.
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Matt Mansfie…, Agent, Lakewood, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012
It depends on your credit score. Check out the lender on my site. http://www.mansfielddenver.com


Matt Mansfield
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John Keene, Agent, Denver, CO
Thu Apr 12, 2012

You are best off talking to a lender. Give Morgan Pennington a call at Gateway Mortgage.


I just used Gateway to purchase my own home. I used a VA loan, but Morgan offers many types of loans. Many without PMI.

Best of luck,

John Keene
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