If the time has come for you and your family to start looking at buying a house, you may also be looking at all the different mortgage options available. From the conventional mortgage methods through banks and lenders to home loans and VA loans, there are several options available for families to take advantage of.
One of those mortgage options is a USDA loan. Started in 2017 by the United States Department of Agriculture, the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed House Loan Program helps to make certain properties more affordable for low-to-middle income families. With all of its benefits though, it is still one of the least-known mortgage programs out there.
Before you decide on a mortgage, learn more about the USDA loan (uffexpress.com provides a thorough review of a USDA loan), and whether or not you are eligible for the assistance program.
What is a USDA Loan?
Since the Department of Agriculture backs the USDA loan, you would expect that it’s for farm families only. However, that isn’t completely correct.
Although farmland and acreages would fall into the category of a USDA loan, so too would a suburban property. If you’re buying a house outside of the city, you could be eligible for this loan assistance program.
The premises of this loan is to help make properties more affordable and to improve the quality of rural America. It provides low-interest rates, as well as zero down payment option.
How Does a USDA Loan Work?
Since we know the USDA loan is there to make the rural and suburban house more affordable, the program will be for individuals and families that have the greatest needs. Some of those needs include the following:
- The individual or family does not have a safe, decent, and clean house.
- Their income is below the low-income limit for their living area.
- Cannot obtain a conventional mortgage.
There are three USDA loan options available. The first is the loan guarantee, which is a mortgage issued by a local lender that allows the applicant to access a low-interest mortgage. The second is a direct loan for low and very low-income applicants. Lastly, there is the home improvement loan and grants which allow the homeowner to repair or upgrade their home.
Who is Eligible for a USDA Loan?
The house location is key for getting approved for a USDA loan. Rural housing is always eligible for this loan program. You may find many eligible opportunities in suburban areas of the country. However, any metropolitan areas are likely excluded from the USDA loan program.
Other eligibility requirements include the following:
- The applicant must be a United States citizen or have permanent residency.
- The potential house must be the primary residence.
- Monthly debt payments cannot be over 41 percent of your income.
- You must have an acceptable credit history without any collections over the past 12 months, unless you can provide proof that circumstances beyond your country (i.e. medical emergencies), affected your credit score.
Consider all of your mortgage options, including a USDA loan before making your decision. You may be surprised to see what you qualify for that help make housing more affordable.