Hello BW and thanks for your question.
Until very recently, many condominium and planned developments were NOT FHA approved. in fact, FHA loans were not the prevalent form of loans until the recent collapse of FannieMae and FreddieMac. As a result, if you are interested in a homeowners association that is older than, say, two or three years, it is likely that the property was not FHA approved. Even worse, as homeowners association managers, we are not typically provided with any information regarding federal housing approvals.
If you are working with a qualified loan broker, the broker can get a "spot approval" for a condominium or planned development association (called "common interest developments" or "CIDs") provided the complex meets specific guidelines promulgated by HUD and the FHA. If the homeowners association is professionally managed AND properly funded, a spot approval may be possible. However, if not, the buyer may need to seek other lenders for funding.
Finally, as Steve noted below, choosing a home within a homeowners association is as much about the property as it is about the homeowners association or HOAs. To ensure that you know the basics of any homeowners association, please check out my three part instructional blog on HOA Basics at the website below. In addition to being a Realtor, I've been in the professional managing and consulting with homeowners associations for over 25 years, and have consulted both with developers and the California Department of Real Estate. Learn the basics of homeowners associations before moving into one--you won't regret knowing this information.
Good luck and happy house hunting!
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty