If you own a condominium and want to refinance your mortgage, you'll need to meet two sets of loan guidelines: one that applies to you and another that applies to your condo owners' association.
The rules for you are essentially the same regardless of the property type, but the rules for your association can create issues when refinancing your loan, says Joe Metzler, a mortgage specialist with Mortgages Unlimited in St. Paul, Minn.
The first issue is whether your condo has been approved for conventional (Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) or FHA financing. Approval is required because your association is essentially a third-party involved in refinancing your loan and that involvement adds "an additional element of risk" for the lender, Metzler explains.
If it is approved, your condo refinance can go forward. If not, you'll probably need to get approval before you can proceed. The process is "actually fairly easy," Metzler says, if, that is, your association's financials are in OK shape and your neighbors don't include legions of foreclosures or non-owner occupied rental units. If not, approval could be difficult or impossible, which would derail your condo refinance.