Buying a Condo in the Villas at Orchard Hills, Norwalk, IA 50211 Just Got a Little Easier

Buying a Condo in the Villas
at Orchard Hills, Norwalk, IA 50211
Just Got a Little Easier

A popular housing development in Norwalk is the Villas at Orchard Hills, and is conveniently located just off Warren County Road G14 (North Avenue), making it very easy to get in and out of town. These condos, located next to the water tower, are easy to find and close to parks, churches, shopping and the new elementary school.

The homes in the Villas at Orchard Hills have been popular because of their affordable price, functional floorplans, sufficient greenspace, and well cared for grounds and exteriors; all being surrounded by a pleasant neighborhood.

Most people see them and believe they are townhomes, because they look like a traditional townhome development. However, they were developed as condominiums, which in the recent past has made it more difficult to sell or buy. To understand why, it may help to have a little background of the difference between a condominium and a townhome.

Owners of a townhome own the land that the home sits on and the exterior of the home. They may have a Homeowners Association (HOA) that collects dues and takes care of exterior maintenance and repairs, but it isn’t required. If there is no HOA, each townhome owner is individually responsible for their exterior. On the other hand, because ownership of a condominium stops at the inside walls of the unit, the land the building sits on and the exterior are common areas, owned by an HOA, paid into by every owner, which is responsible for any maintenance and repairs outside the interior walls.

Another major difference between condominiums and both townhomes and single-family housing is the ability to get financing when it comes time to buy (or sell). Typically, popular loan programs like FHA and VA will not finance the purchase of a condominium, and many banks and conventional lenders are hesitant to finance them as well. They possess too many variables that lenders see as unstable and too much risk; things like the percentage of rental units and the ability of the HOA to be able to do needed repairs as well as routine maintenance. These, and other factors move most lenders now to build safeguards by requiring very large down payments.

If one did purchase a condo prior to the real estate market crash in 2008 when it was easier to get financing, and many people did, they may be feeling stuck. As time moves on, so do people. An employer may be insisting on a transfer, a family has outgrown the unit, or desires have evolved and a change is wanted; but it is difficult to find a buyer who can pay the needed large down payment, or who has cash. People in this situation have commonly had to keep their condo unit and rent it, which often made it impossible for them to purchase another home. 


Good news! Buying a condo in the Villas at Orchard Hills, Norwalk, IA just got a little easier! There are some diligent people who have exercised their ingenuity and developed opportunity where it seemed to be slim. Meet Brian Swanson at Movement Mortgage. His team at Movement Mortgage have been able to work with the HOA at the Villas and are now approved to finance the purchase of units there with standard conventional financing parameters. This allows for the purchase of any of these units at the standard minimum 3% down payment with qualifying factors met, such as income guidelines and First Time Homebuyer status. With these increased conventional mortgage parameters, the pool of buyers has enlarged for those owners looking to sell in the Villas neighborhood.

This also could be a benefit for many of the current owners, who have been stuck, to better their financial position with a refinance. It is a win-win opportunity.

This is great news for both owners who would like to sell their villa, and folks wanting to purchase one. If this is you, contact any agent at EXIT Realty North Star and they will guide you through the process.

Movement Mortgage logoERNS logo 2018

Jon Niemeyer is the Broker/Owner of EXIT Realty North Star, 1039 Sunset Dr Norwalk, IA 50211. We provide full service real estate services to the Des Moines, Iowa metro area. Learn more about Jon at

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