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USDA Home Loan

USDA Home Loan

A USDA home loan is a zero-down payment mortgage for qualifying rural homebuyers. USDA loans are issued through the USDA loan program, also known as the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Program, by the United States Department of Agriculture.

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What Is a USDA Home Loan?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) home loans program offers mortgages to low-income residents of rural areas who cannot otherwise obtain a conventional mortgage.

If you live in a rural area and can't qualify for a conventional loan, you may be eligible for either a USDA guaranteed loan or a USDA direct loan. The home loans program is designed to help lower-income people living in unhealthy or unsafe rural conditions obtain a home with modern utilities and adequate space.

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Only for rural areas
Down payment
Only for farmers
It can't be obtained more than once
Rigid qualification criteria

Only for rural areas

Myth

USDA loans are only for farms and homes in underdeveloped areas.

Fact

A USDA loan indeed makes homeownership more affordable and accessible in rural areas. But this doesn't mean you have to live in the 'middle of nowhere to finance your home with this loan.

Down payment

Myth

You need a down payment.

Fact

A USDA home is another option if you're looking for a no-down alternative. Being able to purchase a home with little or no cash out-of-pocket can put homeownership within reach.

Only for farmers

Myth

Only farmers can obtain USDA loans.

Fact

These loans are available to all borrowers as long as they do not exceed the income maximum and the property is located in a designated USDA-eligible area.

It can't be obtained more than once

Myth

USDA loans can't be obtained more than once.

Fact

There is no restriction on the number of times you can apply for and obtain a USDA loan.

Rigid qualification criteria

Myth

USDA loans have rigid credit qualification criteria.

Fact

USDA loans do not require a stellar credit score. However, you may have a lower credit score than those needed by traditional loan programs, and you could still be eligible for a USDA loan.

How USDA Loan programs work

There are three USDA home loan programs:

  • Loan guarantees: The USDA ensures a mortgage issued by a participating local lender — similar to an FHA loan and VA-backed loans — permitting you to get low mortgage interest rates, even without a down payment. If you put little or no money down, you will have to pay an insurance premium.
  • Direct loans: Issued by the USDA, these mortgages are for low- and very low-income applicants. Income thresholds differ by region. With subsidies, interest rates can be as low as 1%.
  • Home improvement loans and grants: These loans allow homeowners to repair or improve their homes. Packages can also merge a loan and a grant, providing up to $27,500 in aid.

Why are USDA Loans worth considering?

USDA loans help make purchasing homes more affordable for those in qualifying rural areas. Though you'll still pay closing costs, if you're eligible, you'll likely get a lower interest rate and won't be required to make a down payment. You can do a preliminary check on the USDA eligibility site to see if the address of a home you're interested in and your income qualify. However, it's always best to let an expert help you understand your mortgage options.

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The content provided within this website is presented for information purposes only. This is not a commitment to lend or extend credit. Information and/or dates are subject to change without notice. All loans are subject to credit approval. Other restrictions may apply. Mortgage loans may be arranged through third party providers.
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