For rural families without predictable income, finding home financing can be challenging. That's why the United States Department of Agriculture came up with the USDA zero-down mortgage, also known as the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Program to assist rural families in purchasing decent homes with a minimal financial commitment.
Are you a Hometown Hero? Find out your eligibility for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program in Calhoun County, Florida.
What is The USDA Loan About?
The USDA loan program is an initiative of the USDA. It is part of the Rural Development program to enhance the quality of life and economies in suburban and rural areas. The program started in 2014 and has helped thousands of families acquire homes with no down payment and low-interest rate mortgage options readily available to those in Calhoun County, Florida.
USDA loans were created to serve people who have low incomes and may not qualify for conventional loans. The loans even have income limits that prevent people with larger incomes from qualifying.
USDA loans are limited to homes that are equal to or less than 1,800 square feet and hold a value less than the region's loan limit. USDA loans are also lenient to applicants with a poor credit score above 640. Those with a credit rating below 640 must meet more stringent underwriting standards, and you might also qualify with a nontraditional credit history.
Categories of USDA Loans
USDA loans are divided into three categories to cater to different applicants:
USDA Loan Guarantees
USDA loan guarantees are mortgages issued by a participating local lender. They are similar to VA and FHA loans. These loans are 90% guaranteed by the USDA and allow eligible buyers to get low mortgage interest rates without a down payment. You will need to pay mortgage insurance for homeowners who don't want to put money down.
With the guarantee, if you cannot pay back your mortgage, the government, through the USDA, will cover the losses for the lender. Under USDA guaranteed loans, the amount you finance cannot exceed the home's value or purchase price. Therefore, you should expect to pay some of the closing costs not included in the property price.
USDA guaranteed loans come with income limits, but they are higher than USDA direct loans since they target low to medium income. Guaranteed loans will also charge an upfront fee of one percent.
Section 502 USDA housing loans target low and very-low-income applicants. The income threshold varies by region, and the maximum amount you can finance depends on how much you're capable of repaying, depending on your income. Any other payment or debt assistance you may be eligible for.
The interest rate for most direct loan borrowers is around 3.5% but can be as low as 1% with subsidies. The repayment period is about 33 years but can be extended to 38 years beyond the 30-year mortgage term. In some cases, applicants are required to undergo education in homeownership and will be charged a fee for the education.
This category of USDA loans allows homeowners to repair or upgrade their rural homes. Homeowners can also use this financing to modernize or repair the home to remove health and safety hazards.
The interest rate for the repair loans is 1%, and these two carry income limits that vary by region and household size. The loans alone can provide up to $20,000 of financing. But eligible seniors can combine the loan with grants for the USDA to provide up to $27,500 in financing.
The USDA home improvement loan is available through section 504 of the USDA Rural Development program. Homeowners can use the loan for various purposes, including the repair of damage caused by hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters.
What Makes USDA Loans Valuable?
The USDA Loans program provides many benefits for first-time home buyers in rural and suburban areas and includes benefits that home buyers cannot get with typical mortgage loans. For instance, with USDA loans, you can purchase a home without any down payment or having to pay PMI. Here is a more detailed assessment of what makes USDA Loans an invaluable asset to potential home buyers.
No upfront payment
The down payment and other closing costs associated with buying a home make buying a home impossible for families with low to medium level income. Generally, buyers have to pay anywhere from 3-20% or more of the buying price as the down payment.
With the USDA loan program, it's not a requirement for the homeowner to have the down payment when purchasing a home. It saves you thousands of dollars in closing costs and helps you reduce your monthly mortgage installments over time.
Low Interested rates
The average interest rate for USDA loans is 3.00%. These are among the lowest interest rates for mortgages, especially compared to conventional mortgages. With some loan categories, the interest can go down to as low as 1% in Calhoun County, Florida.
The low rates make mortgages affordable even for low-income home buyers. The low-interest rates for USDA loans also apply to those with low credit scores, although they may have stricter underwriting requirements.
Private Mortgage Insurance is a requirement when applying for mortgages. But the USDA Loan program doesn't require you to pay PMI. However, the monthly insurance premium is included in your loan amount, and you can pay it in manageable monthly installments.
On average, PMI can add several hundred dollars to the total down payment of the property. The fact that USDA doesn't require you to pay the insurance makes it more helpful to the home buyer that wants to purchase a home in Calhoun County, Florida, without putting any money down.
No restrictions on the type of Property you can buy
Calhoun County, Florida, has an exciting real estate market with different types of homes. With your USDA loan, you can purchase any home you want. There are no limitations to the type of home you can purchase. You can go for a condo, townhome, or single-family home in suburban areas.
You can also buy property on a farm. However, the USDA doesn't permit purchasing property for investment or those buying a second home.
Refinancing is available
USDA loans are more affordable and flexible compared to conventional mortgages. You can use the USDA Loan to refinance your existing mortgage if you meet the requirements for refinancing the current mortgage.
Still, the program is available to first-time home buyers that have difficulty obtaining a mortgage from conventional sources like banks, including those with a limited credit history and cash flow issues. It's affordable and limits the bottlenecks of owning a home.
How Does the USDA Zero Down Payment Loan Work?
There are several requirements that applicants for the zero down payment mortgage need to meet to qualify for the loan. Such requirements include:
The applicant must be without decent, safe, and sanitary housing.
The applicant must not be able to get a loan from other lenders with terms they can reasonably meet.
The applicant must occupy the property as the primary residence within a specified time.
You should be in a position to take on a loan legally
You must meet the income eligibility for the loan as set out by the USDA loan program based on Calhoune County requirements.
You must satisfy the citizenship or eligible non-citizen requirements.
- You should not be suspended or barred from taking part in federal programs.
The property you intend to purchase must also meet the requirements of the program:
The property should be in a rural area with a population of less than 35,000
The home must be 2,000 square feet or less.
The property's market value must be less than the applicable area loan limit.
The property cannot be designed for income-generating activities
- The property cannot include an in-ground swimming pool.
If you satisfy the pre-qualification requirements, you can fill out the application and submit your financial information for consideration. You must provide accurate information to prevent unnecessary delays. Some of the documentation you need to submit when applying for your USDA zero down payment loan include:
- Tax returns
- Proof of income
- Proof of identification
- Credit score
- Bank statements
How to Apply for a USDA Loan in Calhoun County, Florida
Many lenders in Calhoun County, Florida, have a pre-qualification process. The lender requires you to meet the credit criteria and financial obligations. Here is a simplified process of how you can apply for a USDA loan in Calhoun County, Florida:
Why Should You Use Your USDA Loan to Buy a Home in Calhoun County, Florida?
Calhoun County is an excellent place for homeowners that prefer to be surrounded by nature and greenery. Calhoun offers a serene experience for first-time home buyers and various other benefits.
At first glance, the median price average of $254,000 for homes in Calhoun seems to be well above average, but that is only because the homes come with more land acreage. For homes, the average cost is $143/Sq Ft, which is significantly lower than the national average of $196/Square Feet.
Real estate in Calhoun County
Calhoun is a quaint little county with a population of 14,000, making it the fifth least populous County in Florida. Although sparsely populated, the County has an attractive real estate market with incredible potential, especially given the acreage of most homes. The County has plenty of amenities, including restaurants, schools, an airport, and major roads that make the County accessible and convenient.
Some of the hottest neighborhoods in Calhoun County include Bunkers Cove, Riviera Beach, and Betton Hills. On average, properties take an average of 48 days on the market in the County.
Calhoun County is well connected with major roads and an airport. Any interstate does not serve the County, and the nearest one is Interstate 10 and U.S. Route 231 in Bay County. But the County has several road networks, including the FL 20, FL 69, FL 71, and FL 73. The County also has an airport which is not something that many counties its size can boast of.
Calhoun County has multiple exceptional schools for students at all levels. The best performing elementary schools in the region include Carr Elementary & Middle School, Altha Public School, and Blountstown Elementary School. Altha Public School and Blountstown High School are the two high schools in the County.
Why You Should Use Your USDA Loan to Buy a Home in Calhoun County, Florida
Besides getting the most bang for your buck when buying a home in Calhoun County, you also get to experience the genuine southern hospitality, diverse culture, and plenty of the history of the County. Plenty of things will make you feel right at home in Calhoun County, with plenty of fun and adventurous activities for you and your family.
Test your luck at one of the most famous casinos in the County. From classic poker to electronic gaming machines, this casino offers the authentic Las Vegas experience right at the heart of Calhoun County.
The casino is a big hit with travelers and is an excellent place to meet and mingle. If you still have some time on your schedule, the casino is a stone's throw away from other leading attractions in Calhoun, making it an ideal starting point as you plan the rest of your activities.
Panhandle Pioneer Settlement
Nothing beats the experience of a history lesson set in the quiet background of Blountstown. This unique settlement features 18 historical buildings from the 1820s to 1940s spread out over five acres of land that resembles an idyllic farm community. The settlement's founders had the vision to bring life to the history of Florida from the 1820s through World War II.
There is tons of hands-on experience that you can acquire from the settlement, including woodwork and blacksmith training. The settlement also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year and historical and educational classes on traditional crafts and skills. It's not just a place you go to spend your free time but also to learn something new.
Location - Blountstown, FL 32424, United States
Sam Atkins Park
The Sam Atkins Parks is the only one of its kind in Blountstown. It is packed with nature and perfect for bird watchers or when you want to stroll around, interact with nature and unwind. You can Wander the perimeter of the park where the pines provide homes to red-headed Woodpeckers. It has a large parking area beside the baseball diamonds.
The park has two viewing structures on the north side: a small pond and a boardwalk through the swamp. It's nature at its best.
The park is home to more than 60 species of butterflies, including the Palamedes Swallowtail, Tawny Emperor, and American Snout, among others. In the evening, Brazilian Free-tailed Bats and Evening Bats share houses among the historic buildings in the park. There's also a scenic Trail sign.
Location - 19972 FL-71, Blountstown, FL 32424, United States
Look and Tremble Rapids
For adrenalin junkies and adventure lovers that want to add a thrill and some noise to their stay in Calhoun, the Look and Tremble Class I rapids are the place to be. The area is famous for canoeing, Kayaking, and tubing.
You can enjoy the scenic 51-mile paddling trail that flows through river swamps and hardwood forests. Limestone bluffs and caves are visible from the water, which adds a unique touch to your experience. You can also take some time to fish and view some wildlife.
Location - County Road 274
Apply For Your USDA Loan Today and Experience the Quiet and Comfort of Living in Calhoun, County, Florida
Calhoun County provides the perfect ambiance and serenity for families looking for peace and quiet in a sparsely populated location with plenty of space and greenery while enjoying essential amenities like schools and an airport.
The homes in Calhoun County are affordable and below the national average, especially considering the land, you get with the home. It's perfect for prominent families that love spending time together and enjoying outdoor barbecues.
With the USDA zero-down payment loan, you can get your first home in Calhoun County without sacrificing your savings. Apply for your zero-down payment USDA home loan and enjoy the leafy, quiet County of Calhoun, Florida.