With the increase in housing prices and the decrease in peace of mind, now, more than ever, rural residential living is taking precedence over living in metropolitan areas. If your sights aren’t set on settling down in the big city, the USDA loan may be the perfect mortgage option to help you purchase your dream home!
What is a USDA loan & how do I qualify for one?
A USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) loan is a government-backed loan that allows lenders to offer borrowers lower rates and no down payment. This loan aims to boost rural economies and build a better quality of life for rural communities across the nation. The USDA makes this possible by creating a more affordable option for families looking to buy a new home.
The process of getting a USDA loan is not much different from other loans on the market, but there are some requirements you need to be aware of:
- The USDA must approve the lender
- With a USDA loan, an appraisal is not only required to determine the fair market value of the home, but it must adhere to additional guidelines stipulated by the USDA.
- You will only be allowed to purchase homes in a specified area using a USDA loan.
- Approval for a USDA loan may take a little longer because you have to be approved by both your lender and the USDA.
What homes can I purchase with a USDA loan?
Acceptable property types
To be approved for a USDA loan, the property you’re seeking to purchase must serve as your primary residence. This means that it cannot be a farm, a vacation home, a secondary home (or one you intend to rent out), or an investment property.
Note: If the property you intend to purchase is a primary residence, it can have an “income-producing” building (e.g., a barn or a silo) as long as it is not used for commercial purposes.
When trying to secure a USDA home loan, certain criteria must be met when it’s time for an appraisal. These include but are not limited to:
- Home must be built on a structurally sound foundation
- Quality roofing
- Must be easily accessed from a road
- Functional electrical & plumbing systems
- Functional heating & cooling systems
There is a multitude of home types you can purchase using a USDA loan. Townhouses, condos, newly constructed homes, preexisting homes, and manufactured homes are viable options as long as they meet the previously mentioned requirements.
Find the home of your dreams
Now that you have a better understanding of what type of home qualifies for a USDA loan, you might think you’re ready to start home-hunting. But it’s always better to begin searching for a home after you have been preapproved. Pre-approval will give you a clearer understanding of the type of home you can afford and the budgeting choices you may need to make.
Once you’re preapproved, it will be easier to search for that home you just can’t live without. And when you find it, you need to be sure that it is located in a USDA-approved area. Generally, these are homes in communities with smaller population centers outside of a city or other metropolitan areas. Some suburbs may qualify as well.
Think you might have trouble determining which areas are approved? Well, the USDA property eligibility map makes the process easy. Simply type in the property address, and the map will show you whether the desired location is approved. The map also provides insight into surrounding areas that may or may not be USDA-approved. If your first choice doesn’t fit the USDA’s location criteria, a home in the surrounding area may qualify.
Note: Even if you have taken all the necessary steps when choosing your perfect home, the USDA Rural Development department has the final say in determining the property’s eligibility upon receiving your application.
Applying for a USDA loan
You’ll need to apply with a USDA-approved lender to purchase a home with a USDA loan, and MortgageRight is here to help make that purchase a possibility. We will work in conjunction with the Rural Development department, guiding you through the entire application process and getting you closer to having those keys in hand.
The RIGHT USDA Lender
Ready to make a rural community your home? We can help you secure the USDA loan you need. Click here to get started.