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by WENDY OBERER, Assoc. AIA, Associate, Project Manager, Ci Design, Inc.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants money and assistance to provide affordable housing for residents in the United States. For each eligible project, HUD requires project stakeholders to follow specific steps and provide certain documents before deciding whether a project will be approved for its mortgage assistance program.

As a project manager, I’ve navigated numerous organizations and many moving parts involved in the HUD loan application and review stages. It’s essential for teams to have a firm understanding of the requirements at each stage of the process to secure HUD financing.

James Run, Bel Air, MD | 304 Multifamily Units, HUD Insured

Read on for an overview of the HUD mortgage assistance program, the application process, and the deliverables required at each milestone.


HUD Mortgage Assistance Program

The HUD Mortgage Assistance Program provides mortgage insurance from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) for HUD-approved private lenders on eligible projects. When a project owner/borrower applies for a HUD loan through a lender, their lender will collect all the required documentation and submit it to HUD for review.

At the beginning of this process, the owner decides what type of HUD program would work best for their multifamily project. In this case, we will discuss the HUD 221(d)(4) loan, which can be used to facilitate the construction or substantial rehabilitation of a range of multifamily or cooperative housing projects including market rate, low-to-moderate income, and subsidized properties.

The process of applying for a HUD loan can be broken down into six main steps:

  1. Pre-application

  2. Pre-application Review

  3. Invitation to Apply for a Firm Commitment

  4. Firm Commitment Application

  5. Firm Commitment Review & Closing

  6. Construction Administration/Final Endorsement

Pre-Application Stage

In the Pre-Application stage, a Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP)-approved lender will gather all the required exhibits from the borrower/owner and submit them to HUD for review. These include a Schematic Design package from the design team and the required documents for the project appraisal.


  • Site plan - test fit level*

  • Ground floor plan showing common areas and dimensions

  • Building floor plans showing unit types, placement, and dimensions* 

  • Unit floor plans for all units*  

  • Primary building elevations

  • Wall sections showing footing, foundation, and wall and floor structure, with notes indicating:

  • Project data

  • Exterior building materials - preliminary

  • Completed amenity questionnaire indicating types of included amenities/services

*Documents Required for Appraisal 

From the Owner/Borrower

  • Legal description (metes and bounds)

  • Site acquisition information (sale contract)

  • Proposed construction timetables

  • Tax identification and assessment

  • Site plan/survey

Pre-Application Review

HeLa Franklin, Baltimore, MD | 64 Multifamily Units, HUD Financed

In the Pre-Application Review stage, HUD reviews the exhibits the lender submitted and either invites them to apply for a Firm Commitment for mortgage insurance or declines to consider their application further. This stage allows HUD to review each proposed project for feasibility before project lenders and borrowers spend the time and expense preparing the required documents for the Firm Commitment application.

Invitation to Apply for a Firm Commitment

If HUD approves the Pre-Application package, the borrower will receive an invitation letter to submit a Firm Commitment Application. Within 30 calendar days, the lender must respond to HUD in writing to indicate whether they plan to continue to the next stage and submit the Firm Commitment Application.

If the lender fails to respond to the invitation within 30 days, the project stakeholders must return to the Pre-Application stage and reapply.

Firm Commitment Application

In addition to a full underwriting package, the Firm Commitment Application consists of the following documents from the design team:

  • Full Construction Documents & Specifications

  • Radon design and inspection process

  • Sustainability requirements (NCBS Bronze/HUDMIP reduction credits, etc.)

The lender must submit the Firm Commitment Application to their local HUD Multifamily Region for review within 120 days of the date of the invitation letter unless an extension is authorized.

Firm Commitment Review & Closing

In this stage, the local HUD Multifamily Region reviews the Firm Commitment Application to determine whether the proposed loan is an acceptable risk. Some considerations include the market need, zoning, architectural merits, capabilities of the borrower and availability of community resources. If the project meets the program requirements, the local Multifamily Region issues a commitment to the lender/borrower for mortgage insurance.

Before closing, the construction budget and Construction Documents & Specifications must be approved by a third-party architectural reviewer assigned by HUD. All drawings and documents must be signed, sealed, and ready for review.

Finally, a HUD staff member will be assigned to the transaction and provide guidance on the closing process. The closing will complete the Firm Commitment.

Construction Administration, Final Endorsement

During the Construction Administration stage, the owner/borrower and the general contractor must certify the actual construction cost prior to final endorsement. The final endorsement represents HUD’s insurance of the final loan amount and resolves all outstanding program obligations.

The Wrap-Up

The HUD Mortgage Assistance Program is essential for creating additional affordable housing opportunities in the market. For owners, borrowers, lenders and project managers going through the HUD process, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the steps in the application and review process to plan a project’s schedule and budget accurately. For more information about the program, visit the HUD website at

Ci Design’s team includes architects, designers, and project managers who are well-versed in the HUD Mortgage Assistance Program requirements and application process for multifamily projects.

Interested in discussing a project? Contact our team below.

This review process can take approximately 60 to 90 days.

Interested in discussing a project? Contact our team here.


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