What Is A USDA Loan And How to Qualify For One; Know Eligibility & Benefits!

What Is A USDA Loan: Today we are going to discuss about USDA Loan, a low-interest mortgage that offers great benefits to an eligible borrower. In this following post, we will try to cover every single detail about USDA Loans that is crucial for any individual who wants to buy a home in a suburban or rural area. So, if you are also one of those who want to know about this USDA Loan, then you are on the right platform as you can get all the necessary information here.

The homebuyers must make sure that USDA Loans are only available to those buyers who are planning to buy a property in a rural area or suburban area. Also, if in case you want direct assistance while searching for suitable USDA Loans, then you should consider finding a financial advisor available in your area.

USDA Loan: What is It?

Before we start explaining anything about USDA Loan, we must first know what actually this mortgage is. It is basically a low-interest Mortgage Loan that is most specifically designed for low-income people who live in America. It comes with zero down payments and having a good credit score is not that really required for qualifying to get its traditional mortgage loan. In addition to that, the private lenders are the ones that issue USDA home loans whereas these are guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The main purpose of USDA Loan is to offer homeownership opportunities to low or moderate-income households that they can afford. This will directly help in promoting economic growth in the rural as well as suburban communities all over the United States.


Here are Three Main Types of USDA Loan

Guaranteed USDA Loan: In order to offer guaranteed loans, USDA allies with the local lenders. Just because of the Guaranteed USDA loan guarantee, there are many lenders who are willing to take on more risk to offer a mortgage to low-to-moderate income level buyers with great benefits. The homebuyer’s adjusted household income can’t go beyond 115 percent (for qualifying Guaranteed USDA Loan) of the average family income in the selected rural area they have planned to live in.

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Direct USDA Loan: In this type of mortgage, USDA itself directly funds the homebuyers of these loans. In simple words, the lender becomes USDA as a replacement for a bank. These loans generally support low-income and even the very low-income citizens living in America.

USDA Home Improvement Loans: These loans are very helpful for low-income Americans for repairing or even for enhancing their homes. In your current situation, USDA may possibly combine these with the allowances that you actually don’t have to pay back.

USDA Loan Requirement

You need to Meet Certain Criteria to be Considered for the USDA Loan For Buying a Home. For Example, You must live in the Home and It Must be Your Primary residence. Here is the overview of USDA Loan Requirement:

  • Residency: You Must be US Resident, Non-Citizen National, or a Qualified Alien.
  • Location: You Must be in an Eligible Rural or suburban Area. You will need your home’s Address; After You Accept the disclaimer, Select Family Housing Guaranteed option, then type Address.
  • Income: Your Adjusted Gross Income can’t be more than 115% of the Medium Income In the Area. You can find out if Your income is Eligible in the same Place You check Property Eligibility.
  • Credit Score: Most of the Lenders Require a Credit Score of 640 or More. If Your Score is Close to that or below Your may still qualify.

USDA Loan Benefits

Some of the major and most common benefits of USDA Loans due to which many homebuyers go for its beneficial rates and terms are as follows:

  1. The mortgage offers you not to make any down payment i.e. $0
  2. USDA Loan offers flexible credit requirements
  3. The borrower will have to pay reasonable interest rates
  4. The mortgage insurance is low on a monthly basis

Eligibility Criteria for Qualifying For a Guaranteed USDA Loan

In order to qualify for a guaranteed USDA Loan, the borrower must meet the requirements that we have listed below.

  • The borrower must be a citizen or a non-citizen national of the United States with a low to moderate-income level.
  • Should buy a property that is capable of meeting all the criteria of the program
  • The borrower must come to an agreement to set the residence as their primary residence.
  • They must have the legal capacity for incurring the loan debt.
  • The borrower must not have been suspended or expelled from any federal program participation.
  • A standard debt ratio, which can differ by the lender along with other factors
  • The selected property must be located in a qualified rural area
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How Does a USDA Mortgage Loan Work?

There are two Main Categories of USDA Mortgage Loan i.e. single-family housing guaranteed loans and single-family housing direct home loans. single-family housing guaranteed loans Provide Payment assistance to help low and very low-income Applicants to repay their Mortgage Loans. in this Home Loan the Property needs to be Located in the Eligible Rural Area and Income Requirements vary based on the location of the borrower. single-family housing direct home loans Programs helps low and moderate-income applicants to receive 100% financing on their Home with no Down Payments. In these Home Loans, the Repayments are provided at the 30 Year Fixed Rate Terms Only.

USDA Loans

Does Good Credit Score Matter in USDA Loan?

Overall, the USDA has not usually set up any requirement for the minimum credit score, but there are many USDA Lenders that ask for at least a 640 score for using the Guaranteed Underwriting System (GUS) which is offered by USDA itself. However, the homebuyers whose credit scores are below 640 may still be eligible for a USDA Loan, but their file is going to need manual underwriting as well. In the meantime, the credit score categories by FICO include Excellent (750 and higher), Good (700 – 749), Fair (650 – 699), Poor (550 – 649), Bad (549 and lower).

What are the Requirements to Apply For a Guaranteed USDA Loan?

Before applying for any kind of USDA Loan, the homebuyer must gather some documents well in advance. We have also listed these documents below here:

  1. The proof of U.S. citizenship or of the permanent residency
  2. If you are a non-citizen national then you may be asked for proof of the same (if applicable)
  3. The report of your credit score
  4. Billing documentation as well as other financial obligations
  5. You will be asked to provide the last two years of pay stubs along with the tax returns
  6. If in case you don’t have any traditional credit history, then the records of another credit such as rental, utility payments, etc. will be asked.

What is the Income Limit to Qualify For USDA Loan?

As we have also mentioned above that the USDA Loans are particularly for those homebuyers who have low-to-moderate income so that they can afford their dream home without facing burden due to financial issues. On this, the USDA has also set up the income limits on the basis of the location as well as the household size of the property. There are mainly two base USDA income limit sets i.e. for 1 to 4 member households ($90,300) and for 5 to 8 member households ($119,200).

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To evaluate this, USDA calculates the total annual income of every single adult member in a house to the income limit set by USDA, only if they are also a part of the loan. Though, it is not that simple as it seems, in the end, USDA looks at the adjusted annual income, which takes into account suitable deductions for things such as medical expenses, child care, among many more.

Is USDA Loan Better than FHA?

Both Loan programs let you buy with a Low Down Payment and Require Mortgage Insurance. USDA Loans can be used with zero Down but the home has to be in a qualified rural area, and the Buyer needs to meets the Income Eligibility Caps. FHA Loans require 3.5% Down but there is No income No location restrictions. FHA Loans also has a more lenient Credit Requirement and You need a 580 Credit Score for FHA versus 640 for USDA.

What Is Minimum Down Payment for USDA Programs?

The USDA Loans has no Down Payment Requirements. You are able to finance 100% of Home Price with USDA Loan. If You want to Decide to make a Down Payment then You can easily lower your monthly Mortgage Payment and potentially afford the more expensive Home.

USDA Mortgage Rates Good or Not? 

USDA Mortgage Rates are often fewer than conventional 30 year fixed Mortgage Rates. also, the Mortgage Insurance Rates are Lower. This means USDA Loan is often more affordable overall than the comparable FHA or the conventional Loan.

Can a Self Employed Person Use the USDA Loan Program?

Yes, a Self Employed person is able to use the USDA Rural Housing Program. If You are a self-employed person and want to use USDA Financing, as with FHA and conventional Financing Then You need to be asked to Provide 2 years of federal tax returns for Verifying Your Self Employment Income.

Do USDA Loans applicable for new construction Homes? 

Yes USDA Loan Programs can be used for the new build homes and Other New Construction.

Bottom Lines

USDA Loans are mortgage backed to the US. Department of Agriculture as part of its Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Programs. These Loans are available to Home Buyers with low to average Income for their Area. They offer Financing with no Down Payment, Reduced Mortgage Insurance, and Market Mortgage Rates.

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