A home loan from the USDA loan program, also known as the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Program, is a mortgage loan offered to rural property owners by the United States Department of Agriculture.
A USDA home loan is different from a traditional mortgage offered in the United States in several ways. .
Applicants for home loans may have an income of up to 115% of the median income for the area. Families must be without adequate housing, but be able to afford the mortgage payments, including taxes and insurance. In addition, applicants must have reasonable credit histories. Additionally, the property must be located within the USDA RD Home Loan "footprint." The USDA Home Loan maps are currently scheduled to be changed on September 30, 2013.
Approved lenders under the Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan program include:
Any State housing agency; Lenders approved by: HUD for submission of applications for Federal Housing Mortgage Insurance or as an issuer of Ginnie Mae mortgage backed securities; the U.S. Veterans Administration as a qualified mortgagee; Fannie Mae for participation in family mortgage loans; Freddie Mac for participation in family mortgage loans; Any FCS (Farm Credit System) institution with direct lending authority; Any lender participating in other USDA Rural Development and/or Farm Service Agency guaranteed loan programs.
USDA funds the borrowers of these loans directly. In other words, your lender becomes USDA instead of a bank. These loans usually favor low-income and very-low-income Americans who can’t access any other type of financing for an adequate residence. Qualifying borrowers’ income must fall at or below the low-income limit in a designated area as defined by USDA. In some areas, the limit falls below $17,000.
These loans help low-income Americans repair or enhance their homes. Depending on your circumstances, USDA may combine these with grants you don’t have to pay back.