USDA Home Loan
The Rural Housing Service (RHS) is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and helps to provide affordable home financing options in rural areas. The USDA home loan is properly known as the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program. You must meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify for this loan program.
Eligibility guidelines set by the Rural Housing Service must be met in order to qualify. The subject property must be in a rural area as designated by RHS here. A designated rural area typically has a population of less than 10,000 people or 20,000 if located outside of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA). In addition, the household income may not exceed 115% of the median area income.
Use a USDA home loan for the following transactions:
- Purchase – Finance the purchase of an existing home or new construction home.
- Rate & Term Refinance – Refinance a current USDA loan with at least a 1% reduction in the interest rate and meet other Rural Housing criteria. You are unable to receive more than $250 cash back at closing and Texas residents may not receive any cash back at closing.
The conforming loan limit set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of $424,100 is the maximum loan amount for a USDA loan.
A down payment is not required for a USDA home loan. Financing up to 100% is available and the upfront guarantee fee may be financed into the loan amount.
Mortgage insurance is not required on a USDA home loan. However, you must pay both an upfront guarantee fee and an annual guarantee fee. The upfront fee can be financed into the new loan amount and the annual fee is paid monthly for the life of the loan.
Use a USDA home loan for the purchase or refinance of the following property types in a designated rural area:
- Single family residence – non-farm residences only
- Townhouse – one unit, attached or detached
- Condominiums – USDA-approved only
- Planned Unit Developments – PUDs
- Leaseholds – lease must extend ten years past mortgage maturity and common for the area
A USDA home loan has flexible credit guidelines and you must have at least a 620 FICO score with two or more credit bureaus.
You may use a USDA home loan for the purchase or refinance of an owner-occupied property.