What types of loans are available for homeowners and condo associations? Read on to learn about HOA loan structures for communities.
HOA Loan Services
Homeowners associations and condominium associations collect monthly assessments and fees from unit owners to facilitate effective capital management and financial planning. These not-for-profit business organizations rely on resident participation and financial contributions to function. It is crucial for community members to understand their responsibilities and explore available funding options when addressing cash management issues, common area improvement projects, reserve funding, and other unexpected expenses.
While addressing capital needs can seem like a scary endeavor to HOA boards and property management companies, there are funding options available that can help the community avoid a special assessment.
HOAs can consider borrowing money to firm up their budgets and fund capital projects. However, careful navigation of loan complexities and consideration of relevant terms and conditions are essential. The choice of funding should align with the specific needs of the association, ensuring a suitable fit for their financial requirements.
Below, we will cover some of the basic types of HOA loans available to homeowners and condo associations.
A loan is arguably the most common source of external funding for any business. An HOA loan is essentially just a business loan for an HOA. These are designed to put communities in a position to cover immediate expenses without creating a strain on homeowners' finances. Many communities that consider HOA loans do so to help pay for large capital improvement projects that their reserves can't cover, but the usage options are broad, and there's some flexibility to the kind of loan an HOA can or should seek out.
HOA loans are typically secured using the HOA's annual assessments as collateral. While all common HOA loans share this characteristic, the key differences lie in the available term lengths. It's crucial to assess loan options based not only on interest rates but also on the repayment terms, as they play a significant role in determining the suitability of a loan.
Long-term loans are pretty straight-forward and used most often for long-term projects. Land acquisition, major community improvements, or extensive structural repairs like new roofs or roads are very common uses for long-term HOA loans. Another reason to consider a long-term HOA loan is that it lowers the monthly burden by spreading loan payment out over a longer period of time, this allows the association to borrow more money.
With any loan, lenders will assess a variety of financial information to determine how associations will repay the debt. Fortunately, there are many highly customizable loan options designed to meet the borrowing needs of most HOAs.
Longer-term funding structures typically have higher interest rates and total interest costs, but monthly payments are more manageable. Customized maturity schedules ranging from 10 to 20 years are attractive for long-term loans.
Sometimes associations find themselves in a short-term bind, and don't want to opt for a decades-long loan commitment. Projects like sudden pool repairs or moderate structural maintenances like landscaping or painting might only need a 3 to 7-year funding plan, so communities have medium-term loans as an option.
Monthly payments on medium-term loans tend to be higher, but total interest costs are lower when compared with longer-term loans. Medium-term loans allow associations to extinguish their debt or replenish reserve funds in a shorter period.
Typically, businesses confronting shorter-term funding gaps (anything that needs remedying within a year) aren't seeking out loans. In many cases, a line of credit may be a perfect solution...unless you're an HOA.
Think of a line of credit like a credit card, lenders will only impose an interest charge on the actual borrowed amount. These loan structures typically need to be renewed annually, and the interest rates, while attractive, are often subject to change monthly. This rainy-day type of borrowing may not seem like a terrible tradeoff for a business, but non-profits need to be extremely cautious when considering LOCs.
With a line of credit, the bank has full discretion over whether or not they extend your loan. Because community associations are non-profit entities, if the bank decides that they don't want to extend, the association could be required to come up with a large sum of money in a short amount of time. Without a stable, guaranteed income stream, HOAs in this situation would be out of options to pay without placing a significant financial burden on their membership.
Although a standalone line of credit isn't designed for long-term projects, many associations utilize a line of credit during a large project's construction or renovation phase, then convert the LOC to a longer-term loan upon project completion. Under this program, an association can save interest expense by only paying interest on the borrowed funds. However, they should be sensitive to the mechanics behind fixing the interest rate on the longer-term loan.
In some instances, the HOA may be incurring interest rate risk if the rate for the longer-term loan isn't established until the loan converts from a line of credit to a term loan. In these instances, the actual monthly principal and interest payments won't be fixed until the interest-only period ends.
No matter what kind of financial support your HOA needs, from funding a capital improvement project, covering unexpected repairs, or raising cash to comply with a recent reserve study, there are options available to communities of all shapes and sizes. HOA Loan Services offers step-by-step assistance for the entire loan process.
Contact us today to learn more about our customized loan solutions for homeowners associations and condo associations.
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