The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development program helps lenders work with low and moderate income families living in eligible rural areas to make homeownership a reality.
Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program
- If you qualify for a USDA home loan, you may borrow up to 100% of the purchase price, or refinance up to 100% of your home’s value.
- The required mortgage insurance (both up-front cost and monthly payment) under the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program is significantly less than any other type of loan.
Who may apply for this program?
- Meet income eligibility.
- Agree to personally occupy the dwelling as their primary residence.
- Be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. non-citizen national or Qualified Alien.
- Have the legal capacity to incur the loan obligation.
- Have not been suspended or debarred from participation in federal programs.
- Demonstrate the willingness to meet credit obligations in a timely manner.
- Purchase a property that meets all program criteria.
What is an eligible area?
USDA loans are only available in areas the USDA considers rural. A USDA loan property eligibility map can help potential homebuyers determine if the home they would like to purchase is in a rural area.
However, while a map may show a general idea of qualified locations, it’s best to consult a USDA lender to ensure the location is in fact eligible. This is due to USDA property eligibility changes that occur as laws and populations change.
We can help
Evaluating income eligibility and area eligibility for USDA loans can be complicated and confusing. And the data used to calculate eligibility requirements changes frequently, so it’s important to work with an approved lender who can access current information. If you’d like to speak with some smart folks who can clear away the jargon and explain these loans in simple terms, you’ve come to the right place.
How may funds be used?
Funds backed by USDA loan guarantees can be used for:
- New or existing residential property to be used as a permanent residence. Closing costs and reasonable expenses associated with the purchase may be included in the transaction.
- A site with a new or existing dwelling.
- Repairs and rehabilitation when associated with the purchase of an existing dwelling.
- Refinancing of eligible loans.
- Special design features or permanently installed equipment to accommodate a household member who has a physical disability.
- Reasonable and customary connection fees, assessments or the pro rata installment cost for utilities such as water, sewer, electricity and gas for which the buyer is liable.
- A pro rata share of real estate taxes that is due and payable on the property at the time of loan closing. Funds can be allowed for the establishment of escrow accounts for real estate taxes and/or hazard and flood insurance premiums.
- Essential household equipment such as wall-to-wall carpeting, ovens, ranges, refrigerators, washers, dryers, heating and cooling equipment as long as the equipment is conveyed with the dwelling.
- Purchasing and installing measures to promote energy efficiency (e.g. insulation, double-paned glass and solar panels).
- Installing fixed broadband service to the household as long as the equipment is conveyed with the dwelling.
- Site preparation costs, including grading, foundation plantings, seeding or sod installation, trees, walks, fences and driveways.
Not all approved USDA lenders offer loans for all of the uses listed above. Be sure to tell your lender what you want the funds for — before proceeding with the application process.
How to get started?
To apply for this program, please contact a local mortgage lender (hint). Applications must be submitted through an approved lender. If you are unable to find a participating lender, your state’s Guaranteed Loan Coordinator (see Resources below) can help you find one.