Skip to content
Fact Checked by Experts

USDA Loans in Hamilton County, Florida: Learn How to Obtain a Zero Down Mortgage

If you feel more at home surrounded by pastures and greenery than pavement, then buying a home in a rural area might be the best option. Thanks to the United States Department of Agriculture, purchasing a home in a rural area is now possible using affordable mortgage assistance.

The USDA strongly believes in helping families in rural suburb areas buy homes through its Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan program explicitly designed for low-to-moderate-income families.

Buying your first home can be a significant investment requiring intensive financial input. But, USDA mortgage loans simplify the process by making it possible for home buyers in rural areas to purchase homes without putting down a hefty deposit.


What is a USDA Loans Program?

USDA home loans program is tailored for rural low-income rural residents who mostly don't qualify or can't afford conventional mortgage loans.

The loans are designed to help lower-income families living in unhealthy and unsafe rural conditions obtain decent housing with modern utilities and adequate space.

The program offers qualified applicants one of two options: a federal guarantee of a mortgage through a commercial bank or a direct loan from the government.

Both options have 0% down payment and deposits, making it easier for potential home buyers to afford a new home.


How Does a USDA Home Loan Work?

USDA home loans are an excellent option for Hamilton County residents looking to purchase a home through affordable mortgage loans.

The USDA provides affordable home loans for residents with interests as low as 1% for residents with a credit score as low as 640. Applicants for the USDA home loan have three options to choose from:


Loan guarantees

Under this scheme, the USDA guarantees a mortgage issued by a participating local lender. This is similar to an FHA loan. It allows you to get low mortgage interest rates without a down payment. However, you will pay a mortgage insurance premium with this option.


Direct loans

Direct loans are issued by the USDA for low- to low-income applicants. The loan has subsidies, and the interest rates can be as low as 1%. The income thresholds for this loan vary by region.


Home improvement loans and grants

For Hamilton County residents who already have a home but need some help improving the loan and bringing it up to code, the home improvement loans, and grants are the perfect options. These loans or outright financial awards allow homeowners to repair or upgrade their homes. These packages can combine a loan and a grant providing up to $27,500 in financial assistance.


Benefits of USDA Home Loans

Purchasing a home is one of the most significant investments you will make in your lifetime, and financial hurdles like down payments don't make it any easier. The USDA home loans are designed to remove such limitations and make it easier for Hamilton County residents to get a home for their families faster and efficiently.

For some rural families, the dream of buying a home seems almost impossible, but USDA-backed home loans have unique benefits that make it easier to get a home without financial constraints. Some of these benefits are:


No down payment

USDA loans don't require the buyer to make a down payment on the house they are purchasing. This is easily the most significant advantage of accessing USDA-backed loans. They allow the homebuyer to get 100% financing while putting $0 towards buying their home. Considering the biggest hurdle for most homebuyers is gathering enough funds for the down payment, this benefit makes housing more affordable to most rural residents.


Lower-than-market interest rates

The U.S. Department of Agriculture insures all USDA loans to ensure homebuyers are offered a low-interest rate across the board regardless of their credit score or down payment. The interest rate of the USDA loans can go as low as 1%, depending on various factors. But overall, the interest rates for this type of loan are lower than that of conventional mortgage loans.


Low monthly Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

Private mortgage insurance is required for any loan with less than a 20% down payment, regardless of the loan program, including USDA loans.

The upside with USDA loans is that the PMI is the lowest of any program, and it won't change based on your down payment as it would with conventional financing. Currently, the annual PMI fee for a USDA loan is 0.35%, based on the reducing balance of the loan's principal.

Another invaluable benefit is that any upfront required PMI can be rolled into the home financing, allowing you to close without putting down a dime.

It's also worth noting that the monthly payments for USDA loans are usually capped at 29% of your income. This critical factor allows potential homebuyers to pay the loan in affordable monthly installments and still have enough funds to cater to other bills and financial commitments.


Flexible Credit guidelines

You can take out a USDA home loan even with a limited or inadequate credit history. You may also qualify for a USDA home loan if you have no credit or non-traditional credit as long as you are willing to repay your debts using proof like rent, utilities, and cell phone bills.


Closing cost assistance

Closing costs can range between 2-5% of the purchase price. They are another significant expense when buying a house. With USDA loans, the seller can pay up to 6% of your closing costs. Alternatively, you can ask that your closing costs be added to your mortgage loan. The USDA loan can finance the closing costs up to the home's appraised value. You can also use gift funds to pay for the closing costs.


The bottom line with USDA loans is that they attempt to clear the most common hurdles that keep most people in Hamilton County from getting affordable housing. The loans do an excellent job of clearing any upfront payments allowing you to close without paying a penny for the house.


Who Can Apply for a USDA Loan?

You can apply for a USDA home loan if you're a first-time home buyer in Hamilton County, Florida. Your eligibility depends on your income and the size of your family.

To be eligible, you must have a combined annual income of between $50,000 and $125,000. There's no minimum credit score requirement for applicants who show proof of ability to pay their monthly mortgage payments.

For applicants with a credit score ranging from 580 – 620 FICO, there's also the Veteran Affairs Loan program option which you can apply to and provides applicants with access to other credit facilities.


Happy young couple in a new house for housewarming


Eligibility for the USDA Home Loan Program in Hamilton County, Florida

You're eligible for a USDA home loan in Hamilton County, Florida, if you meet the following standard criteria:

  • You meet income eligibility and cannot exceed 11% of the median household income.

  • You are a U.S. Citizen, Qualified Alien, or U.S. non-citizen national

  • You agree to occupy the house as your primary residence personally

  • You're unable to get loans from other sources on conditions that are reasonable and possible to meet

  • You are ready to incur a loan obligation in a legal capacity

  • Lack of safe, sanity and decent housing

  • You're allowed to participate in federal programs

How to Apply for a USDA Loan in Hamilton County, Florida

After confirming that you're eligible for a USDA home loan in Hamilton County, Florida, you can begin the application process by following these steps:


Find an approved lender in Hamilton County

Find a USDA-certified lender in Hamilton County who you can work with. There are multiple lenders in Florida, so finding one close to you shouldn't be a problem.


Fill out your details

Apply by filling out your details on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development website. Ensure you have all the required documents scanned to make the application process more manageable. After successfully filling out your details and uploading the necessary documents, processing the loan request will take 30-60 days.

You should ensure you submit your loan application before finding the house you want to purchase. Ensure you provide all the required documentation and accurate information to prevent unnecessary delays and disqualification.


Why You Should Use Your USDA Loan to Buy a Home in Hamilton County, Florida

Besides being a leafy rural suburban, there are other reasons why buying a house in Hamilton County is an excellent choice:


Affordability

Hamilton County offers a vast range of housing options to suit every family. The median listing price of a home in Hamilton is $229,000, which translates to about $147/Sq Ft. which is lower than the national average of $196/ Sq Ft.


Real estate in Hamilton County

Hamilton County is the third-most populous city in Florida, with a thriving real estate market that grows about 5% year on year. The county has plenty of amenities, including schools, markets, restaurants, and hospitals.


Transportation

Hamilton County is interconnected with major highways, and interstates include Interstate 71, Interstate 74, Interstate 275, and interstate 471. The county also has railroads making it easily accessible and easy to move around using the public transport system.


Schools

There are numerous high-performing schools in Hamilton County at all levels. Some of the most notable schools include Hilltop Elementary School, Terrace Park Elementary, and Crosby. You also have plenty of colleges and higher education institutions to choose from with stellar academic records.


Why You Should Use Your USDA Loan to Buy a Home in Hamilton County, Florida

Hamilton County is best described as a Peninsula within a peninsula. It’s sandwiched between the beautiful Suwannee River to the east and south and Georgia to the North. The homes here are beautiful, and there are plenty of activities for you and your family after you settle in.


Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park

The Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park sits down upon the Suwannee River. It’s a celebration of the legendary composer and a jewel for all those who appreciate the performing arts. Some of Foster’s songs are featured in the antebellum visitor center, where you can stop by to listen to the 97 bells ringing from the 200-foot campanile and get a glimpse of the inside of the museum.

Besides the museum’s features, there are tons of events that fill the entire calendar year, including tractor and engine shows and the wildly popular Florida Folk Festival that has been here since the 1950s.


American Canoe Adventures

For the outdoor families that love water, the American Canoe Adventures present you with eight runs that stretch from three miles to a 12-mile run to choose from. You also get to select from a range of kayaks and canoes to take on nature with. You can drift gently down the stream and enjoy the natural state of Florida and get a lift back.

If you’re up to the task, you should also consider taking custom trips that include a two-week Swamp-to-Gulf trek.


Veterans Memorial Park

The Veteran’s Memorial Park is in the heart of the town and pays homage to the local men who gave their last full measure of devotion. The pack has a black granite wall etched with their names to honor them and remember their sacrifice. The granite walls share military history from the Civil War to the present. If you’re looking for a great place to teach the country’s history to your children and family, the Veterans Memorial Park is a great place to start.


Big Shoals State Park

Big Shoals is home to the largest whitewater rafting in Florida, which is quite impressive. It has 80ft. limestone bluffs that reside over the sides of the Suwannee River, making great viewing spots. It’s a site you won’t find elsewhere in the state.

The rapids at the Big Shoals can receive a class 3 whitewater classification when the waters on the Suwannee rise between 59 to 61 feet above sea level. Rafting is the park’s biggest feature. The wooded trails add to the park’s beauty and make it an exciting place for those who prefer to stay dry and instead opt for hiking, bike or horseback riding in the 28 miles of wooded trail.


The Old Hamilton County Jail

The Old Hamilton County Jail was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and now serves as the County Historical Museum. The two-story fireproof brick, concrete and steel structure was also home to the sheriff and his family.

One of the more surprising features of the old jail is a photo of what is believed to be one of the last legal hangings East of Mississippi, which hangs on the walls for display. Although the stories of the prisoners held here are not as thrilling and bone-chilling as those held at Alcatraz, it’s still impressive to see what the inside of a jail looked like in the 18th century.


Apply For your USDA Loan Today and Experience the Fun and Comfort of Living in Hamilton County!

Hamilton County is perfect for the modern family that wants to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life but doesn't want to be tucked away among the farms. Hamilton County offers a silent lifestyle compared to city standards with a keen balance of urbanization and rural, suburban life.

The real estate market in Hamilton is just as attractive, with affordable homes well below the national average. The county is well connected with multiple roads, so you can head out to visit friends and family anytime you want.

However, like any other place, getting a home in Hamilton County can be expensive and tedious. However, with some assistance from a USDA zero-down payment loan, you can invest in your new home without sacrificing your savings. Apply for your USDA zero-down payment home loan today to enjoy the benefits of owning a home in Hamilton County, Florida.

With over 50 years of mortgage industry experience, we are here to help you achieve the American dream of owning a home. We strive to provide the best education before, during, and after you buy a home. Our advice is based on experience with Phil Ganz and Team closing over One billion dollars and helping countless families.

Find The Right Mortgage

For more than 20 years, Phil have been helping customers achieve their home purchase and refinance goals by providing them with invaluable resources and support.

Schedule a FREE Consultation
Phil Ganz

Subscribe to Get Your First Time Homebuyer Checklist

Sign up for the weekly newsletter to stay up to date on the latest real estate market trends, loan news, and so much more!