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Chris Neuswanger

Financing a condo-tel property

Friday, February 7, 2014 - Article by: Chris Neuswanger - Macro Financial Group - Message

Financing a condo-tel purchase can be challenging

Many buyers in resort areas buy their property intending to generate some cash flow by short terming the property out when they are not here. Some properties have front desks and operate as full blown hotels, providing maid service and other hotel like services. These properties are viewed by lenders as condo-tels, meaning condominiums that operate like a hotel.

In other cases, owners either make their own rental and management arrangements through a management company, or go it on their own via sites like (which stands for vacation rental by owner, and I understand was started by a guy over in Breckenridge)

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which fund the majority of the mortgages in the US, do not like to lend on condominiums that condone or encourage short term rental activity. The reason for this has always been rather foggy, but its the rule, and these days theres little getting around the rules.While properties such as the Charter in Beaver Creek or the Lodge at Vail are obvious condo-tel properties, if a lender plans to sell a loan to Fannie or Freddie he has to make very sure the property is not going to be deemed a condo-tel after the loan is closed.

This means that lenders must make considerable inquiries to the HOA and research the property on line to see if there is short term rental activity in the building. Lenders do this many ways, they may google the address to see if a rental listing pops up, call a local management company to see if they can book a stay there or search sites such as to try and find a unit for rent in the building.

This has resulted in many local condo complexes being deemed off limits for Fannie mae or Freddie mac loans. When this happens, owners and buyers will have to get what is known as a portfolio loan (one that is not sold to Fannie or Freddie).

The first problem is there are very few lenders that want to hold a loan on their books for the next thirty years, and if they do they cant realistically lock a rate in for 30-years because they dont have access to raising money to lend via selling an investor a 30-yr fixed rate bond. In many cases they are lending depositors money out, or money they borrowed for shorter terms by leveraging their assets with the Federal Reserve Bank.

In addition, these loans do not have a backstop of a mortgage insurance company or the Federal Govt. If the bank takes a bath, they lose their own money. Not surprisingly, the above issues actually make banks more cautious about what they loan, for how much, how long and to whom.

This means that loans for condo-tel properties generally require a higher down payment (generally 25%) and wont be a long term fixed rate. The term of the loan can be for 30-years, but the rate will generally be fixed for 5-7 years, and adjust annually thereafter.

If you need a mortgage in Colorado please call me at 970-748-0342 to discuss your requirements, or go to for more information

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