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USDA Rural Housing Guaranteed Loans in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Florida

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Effective 10/01/2014 USDA Rural Housing to increase Annual Fee
Effective 02/12/2014
2014 income limits have been updated

USDA Rural Housing Loans

You don't have to live out in the country to qualify for USDA Rural Development Loans!

USDA home loans have been helping rural Americans become homeowners since 1949. It has invested well over $54 billion in helping people purchase their own homes.

Owning your own home is a part of the American dream, but in rural areas, financing a home can be difficult. Jobs often pay less than in more populated areas, making it harder to obtain credit. Also, rural lenders generally require a large down payment, and often, interest rates and construction costs are higher than in urban areas. However, if you want to own a home in a rural area*, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development may be able to help.

The Guaranteed USDA Rural Housing program agrees to guarantee a loan so the lending institutions can help buyers while incurring less risk.

USDA Rural Housing program highlights:
  • Moderate income limits apply - based on family size (see below)
  • No down payment required.
  • No Prepayment Penalties.
  • Purchase: 2% upfront fee that can be rolled into the loan
  • Refinance: 2% upfront fee that can be rolled into the loan
  • 0.5% Yearly fee paid monthly - Effective 10/01/2014 USDA Rural Housing to increase Annual Fee
  • A one-time guarantee fee is paid at closing. In some cases, this fee, closing
    costs and repairs may be included in the loan.
  • Competitive 30 year fixed interest rates.
  • No maximum loan amount.
  • No limits on cash contributions.
  • Not restricted to first time home buyers
  • Home must be occupied as your permanent residence.

See if your income qualifies for a USDA Rural Housing loan
Check to see if the property is in an Eligible Area for Rural Housing Loans

Income Qualification Information:

The most accurate way to check your income for qualification is to use the USDA Income Calculator. The calculator on USDA's website is most accurate because it is based on area income limits minus any deduction you can take to offset your income. The most common income deduction is for child care expenses. For general purposes, you can also view the most recent income limits with a county by county breakdown by family size from the pdf files below.

Wisconsin Income Limits
Illinois Income Limits
Florida Income Limits
Minnesota Income Limits

Ineligible Areas for USDA Rural Housing loans:

if you know the address of a property that you are interested in, you can go to USDA's website to determine if a specific address is eligible (click the accept button and then type in the address). If the system is unable to determine eligibility based on the address you entered, that doesn’t mean it isn’t eligible. It just means the system couldn’t find the address, so it is unable to determine eligibility. At this point, you can either contact us us and we will help in determining if the property is eligible or sometimes it is just a matter of entering the correct format of the street to get the system to find the property (what I call HWY M is really County Road M according to the system).

Additional Information on our blog:
Are USDA Rural Housing loans only for "Farmers"?
USDA Rural Housing Refinance - Features and guidelines
USDA Rural Housing Refinance: Program Information

Detailed Wisconsin ineligible map
The counties in white are 100% eligible. The counties shaded green have ineligible areas within the county, except for Milwaukee County which is 100% ineligible. If you are looking for a property in Dane County, you will want to know the area’s that are eligible. Open up the map of Wisconsin (link above) and click on Dane county. That is going to bring up a PDF map of part of Dane County. The areas shaded in green on the county specific map are ineligible. You can zoom in on the map for a detailed look of the ineligible area. One side of a street or road may be eligible, while the other side may not be eligible.

Other programs that may be of interest:
FHA Loans
FHA 203K Rehab Loans
VA Loans
100% Financing Programs

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100% Financing (No Money Down) Programs
First Time Home Buyer Mortgage Programs
My Community Mortgage
Government Loans including FHA, VA and Rural Housing
Refinance Programs

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* Rural areas consist of communities that have 20,000 and under in population and are not a part of an urban area.


Recent Rural Housing mortgage posts on our blog:

Getting through the Initial USDA Mortgage Application

If you have studied the various mortgage opportunities and chosen the USDA Rural Housing loan as your method for buying your next home then pay close attention to this article. We are going to explain a bit about the process of the loan so you are more comfortable with the procedure.

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Helps Homebuyers with No Money Down Program

A generation ago people would save money for years, sometimes as long as a decade, in order to have a down payment for a home. Thankfully, the USDA home loan program offers potential buyers a way to buy a home without a down payment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Making the Case for USDA Purchase Loan

For a wide range of people, the USDA rural housing loan will actually be a wise choice. Here are some of the advantages of the USDA loan.

Read the rest of this entry »

What Do Lenders Focus on In a USDA Mortgage Application?

When applying for a home loan most borrowers like to have an idea of what lenders like to see in an application. Although the USDA home loan is a mortgage and is very similar to other home loans there are a few differences in expectation from the lender.

Read the rest of this entry »

Basic Requirements for the USDA Home Purchase Loan

Being well informed on a major purchase usually makes the whole process smoother. In order to prepare you for a possible home purchase using the United States Department of Agriculture loan, here are some basics about how the loans are approved.

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Is Still a Viable Option for Purchasing a Home with No Down Payment

There was a time when buying a home without a down payment was relatively simple. Unfortunately, a lot of loans were made to people unable to keep up with the monthly payments. This caused a major shift in lending laws and basically eradicated nearly all of the “zero down payment” mortgages. However, there was a loan in existence before all these problems occurred and that program is still going strong. The USDA home loan program still has the ability to offer financing without the need for a major down payment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding How the USDA Loan is Different from a Conventional Loan

It's important for people to get solid information about the different types of loans available before they make their final decision on a home purchase. The USDA mortgage is simple to understand once the facts are laid out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Minnesota: 8 of 87 Counties Have Increased 2013 USDA Income Limits

Effective 1-22-2013, USDA has updated their database to reflect 2013 Minnesota USDA Rural Housing income limits. 8 out of 87 counties have increased income limits in 2013. Minnesota has also raised their “floor” income limit to $78,050. This effected most counties in Minnesota except for Polk County. Their “floor” has increased but just under the “floor” at $77,850.

Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding the USDA Rural Housing Home Loan

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, also known by the acronym USDA, has offered a home loan program for many years. These mortgages are backed by the federal government and are offered through a network of lenders across the country. These home loans are quite different from the conventional loans offered by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and can be quite beneficial to people that meet the qualifications.

Read the rest of this entry »

Income Rules to Determine Eligibility for USDA Loan

The USDA mortgage is truly a great loan for people that wish to purchase a home out of the way of the bright lights of a major city. In order to qualify for the loan applicants must provide evidence of their income. The USDA was designed to help people with average to less than average incomes qualify for a mortgage

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Rural Housing: Property Eligibility and Income Limit Guidelines

The USDA home loan program allows for qualifying borrowers to purchase a home in a rural area with no down payment. This is an amazing program, especially here in the upper Midwest. The rates are very low and the program is relatively easy to qualify for. There are two main criteria for the USDA program that are different from any other loan we offer. The USDA program sets its own income limits and boundaries of where it will guarantee loans.

Read the rest of this entry »

Recent Major Changes for USDA Loans Effective October 1, 2012

The outstanding rural mortgage program offered by the USDA experienced major changes as of October 1, 2012. Thankfully, the program will become self-funding. This means that the funds used to make the loans will not come from the United States taxpayer. However, it means that the fees charged by USDA will change slightly. Here is the breakdown

Read the rest of this entry »

The USDA Mortgage: One of the Few No Money Down Mortgages

Buying a house, and maintaining the property, can get expensive. Saving up $15,000 for a down payment, plus an extra $2,000 to $3,000 for improvements or a rainy day fund can really take some time. What if there was a way to save up AND get a home without a down payment? Thanks to USDA Rural Housing, that can be a reality.

Read the rest of this entry »

Understanding Reserves; One of the Less Obvious Benefits of a USDA Mortgage

A lot of information and news coverage centers on the low loan rates offered by FHA and conventional loans. For people that do no have money for a down payment more attention is being given to USDA loans as a means to assist first time buyers. There is also another benefit to the USDA program; no reserves requirement.

Read the rest of this entry »

Common Questions about the USDA Rural Home Loan

Many people have learned about the USDA Rural Home Loan program but there continues to be quite a bit of uncertainty about the program. Here are some of the most common questions along with explanatory answers.

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Rural Housing to increase Guarantee and Annual Fee

Effective on October 1, 2012, the start of Fiscal Year (FY) 2013, Rural Development will revise the Up-Front Guarantee Fee and Annual Fee structure as follows:

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Rural Housing Loans: No Money Down Explained

There is a loan offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for people who wish to buy a home in a rural area. According to the guidelines for the mortgage, the home buyer is not required to put any money as a down payment as long as the home appraises for the sales price, or higher. Essentially, the USDA loan will allow the buyer to borrow up to 100% of the value of the home.

Read the rest of this entry »

The USDA Rural Housing Loan is One of The Most Affordable

The USDA Rural Housing loan is one of the most affordable loans for most borrowers. Although these mortgages may seem to have a few more restrictions than a FHA or Conventional loan, the rules actually work to make sure the borrowers can easily afford the payments. Here are some of the highlights of the USDA Home Loan program.

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Can Be the End of the Renting Cycle

A few news outlets have recently reported that the American Dream of owning a home seems to be fading away. However, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to remind people that home ownership is still quite possible for many people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Steps to Take to Obtain a USDA Rural Housing Loan

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has offered a mortgage loan to qualifying borrowers on rural homes for a number of years. Getting the loan takes a few steps which can be coordinated efficiently by your mortgage broker. Here is the primary sequence of events in obtaining a USDA loan.

Read the rest of this entry »

2012 USDA Rural Housing Income Limits Published

The USDA has announced the income limits for the Guaranteed Rural Housing (GRH) Program have changed effective January 18, 2012. Since 2009 income limits are based on a two tier income structuring consisting of a 1 – 4 member household and a 5 – 8 member household which replaced the 1 – 8 person structure in 2008.

Read the rest of this entry »

Are there really that many homes that qualify for USDA funding?

Since the term “rural” is often used to describe the USDA mortgage program many individuals wrongly assume that only the properties located 50+ miles from any type of city will qualify. However, this is terribly wrong.

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Raises Upfront Guarantee Fee for Refinance Transactions

EFFECTIVE Wednesday, December 7, 2011: The upfront guarantee fee for all refinance transactions will increase from 1 percent to 1.5 percent at this time. This increase to the upfront guarantee fee for refinance transactions will make over $1.1 billion dollars in refinance commitment authority available to eligible homeowners. Interest rates continue to remain at very low levels affording responsible homeowners the opportunity to refinance their existing Single Family Housing Guaranteed loan, resulting in lower monthly payments.

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Rural Housing Refinance: Program Information

This program is for those that already have a USDA Rural Development Loan in place. The USDA Refinance is designed to lower the interest rate on a current USDA mortgage and is only available with 30 year fixed rates. Generally, these refinances are streamlined and can be done with ease. In some cases we won’t need an appraisal if the borrower is willing to pay their closing costs out of pocket.

Read the rest of this entry »

If You Are Looking for a Mortgage with No Down Payment, Drive Outside the City

Any home secured by a USDA loan must be located in an area labeled “rural” by the USDA. In addition the borrowers must meet certain requirements. Their income cannot be greater than a benchmark level for their area and they usually need a credit score of 620 or above to qualify.

Read the rest of this entry »

We Continue to Fund and Close USDA Rural Housing Loans

We continue to offer the USDA Rural Housing program and its business as usual for us. Our lending relationship and underwriting approach gives us the ability to continue to process and fund these loans. If you’ve found yourself in this situation give us a call and we’ll be able to help you!

Read the rest of this entry »

Lesser Known Advantages of USDA Loans

An internet search of the term “USDA Loan” will likely yield a lot of the same information. Websites, articles and blogs will discuss the great advantages of buying a home with no money down and the ability to borrow as much as 100% of the home’s value. But there are quite a few other advantages that don’t get as much attention.

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Re-Structuring Fees to Make the Program More Stable

The upfront fee has been 3.5% of the total loan amount for some time now. This fee could be added into the loan amount and repaid over time. But now the fee is going to be lowered to 2% and an annual fee of 0.3% of the outstanding balance will be charged to borrowers each year. This provides more income for the program and allows it to have more funds for future borrowers as well as for refinances.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advantages of a USDA Rural Housing Mortgage

The original intent of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) housing program was to offer mortgages for people of low income located in the various rural parts of the country. Due to the severe changes in conventional loan guidelines more people have looked into the possibility of using a USDA loan. Here are some of the top benefits of the current version of the program.

Read the rest of this entry »

Utilize USDA Loans to Buy a Home With No Money Down

Buying a home with no money down at an affordable rate is still a very real possibility. Many people still do not know about the benefits of the USDA Home Loan and how it can help a wide range of people become homeowners.

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Rural Housing Loans are Still Available

For people that stay current with financial news there has been quite a bit of buzz with the USDA loans. Earlier in the year there was a statement that the funds available for USDA loans would be depleted by April. Another statement said that new funds would be available. However, the information about when and how those funds would be available seemed confusing. Now, everything has finally settled down and it seems it is back to business as usual for the USDA program.

Read the rest of this entry »

Are Wisconsin USDA Rural Housing Loans Only for Farmers

We will be discussing the USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing program. The Guaranteed program is for low to moderate income applicants to purchase a primary residence in a “rural” area of the state. These mortgages are processed, underwritten and serviced by a bank or lender with certain “guarantees” from the USDA.

Read the rest of this entry »

Benefits of the USDA Loan

Many people are looking for ways to take advantage of the historically low mortgage rates. Some of these individuals may not have quite enough for a 5% down payment on the home, yet they have other strong financial qualities. For these people, the USDA home loan in Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota and Florida may be a great solution.

Read the rest of this entry »

USDA Rural Housing Refinance

We get this questions a lot; "Can I refinance into a USDA Rural Housing loan?" and the answer, 9 out of 10 times, is no. Unless your current loan is a Guaranteed Rural Housing loan or a USDA Section 502 Direct loan, you cannot refinance into the program.

Read the rest of this entry »

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