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About USDA Loans

A USDA home loan is a zero down payment morgage for eligible rural and suburban home buyers, and might be one of the government’s lesser-known home loan assistance programs, also being one of the better government backed loans if you qualify.

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.

How do I qualify?

Not only will you have to qualify but the home you’re looking to buy will also need to qualify. The department has a rural property lookup tool that lets you enter an address to find out whether the home is eligible for a USDA loan. Income limits to qualify for a home loan guarantee will vary by the location and will depend on the size of the household. To find the loan guarantee income limit for the county where you live, check out the USDA table.

USDA guaranteed home loans are only for owner-occupied primary residences.

Some other eligibility requirements include...

  • U.S. citizenship (or permanent residency) with a reliable and consistent income, usually for a minimum of 24 months.
  • A monthly payment — including principal, interest, insurance and taxes — that’s 29% or less than your monthly income. Other combined debt payments payed monthly you make cannot exceed 41% of your income. However, the USDA will consider higher debt ratios if you have a credit score above 680.
  • An acceptable credit history, with no accounts converted to collections within the last 12 months, among other benchmarks. If you can prove that your credit was affected by circumstances that were outside of your control or temporary, you may still qualify.

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