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

Florida draws people of all ages because of its 0 % income tax and abundance of beaches, resorts, and theme parks. And as metropolitan areas become increasingly crowded and noisy, more and more people are relocating to safer, more open areas in rural locations, including the stunning Nassau County.

Finding inexpensive housing, nevertheless, is getting more challenging because of this migration. Many people seek affordable home loans to buy homes in Florida's remote regions.

As a resident of Nassau County, there are various mortgage programs you can take advantage of to acquire affordable homeownership.

These include the FHA, VA, and hometown hero loan programs. Additionally, numerous places in Nassau, Florida, are eligible for the 100 percent USDA RD Home Loan.

What is the USDA RD loan?

The USDA RD loan is a federal mortgage program supported by the Department of Agriculture that offers a variety of homeownership choices across the US. It is for those wishing to buy a single-family primary residence in a rural area or an eligible suburb. This program has been around for quite some time.

It has aided numerous first-time homebuyers in realizing the American dream of homeownership. Low-income borrowers are the primary target audience for USDA loans, which don't demand a down payment.

Different USDA loans

The following three home loan types are available under the USDA lending program:

502 Direct Loans

The USDA 502 Guaranteed program, also known as the Single-Family Housing Direct Home Loan, is a government-backed home loan for families residing in qualifying rural areas of the United States. However, don't be misled by the term "rural"; many suburbs qualify too.

The USDA initiative aims to support the growth of rural areas by lowering the cost of housing with flexible credit standards and no down payment requirement. This loan program is one of the remaining zero-down payment options for non-military US residents who want to buy a primary residence.

It is especially beneficial for those front-line workers looking to own their first home. Due to meager wages, the down payment frequently needed for other loan programs is a challenge for many individuals.

Depending on the individual applicant's location, different income requirements apply. The applicant's credit history and other variables also influence the interest rate. 3.25 percent is the maximum interest rate that can be charged, but several subsidies can reduce it to as low as 1%. Depending on your salary, the maximum average loan term is 33 years, but it can be increased to 38 years.

Grants And Loans for Home Improvement

Homeowners who desire to remodel or upgrade their homes can apply for this funding. They are often offered as a mix of grants and loans with a $27,000 maximum.

Loans Guaranteed by the USDA

They are provided by USDA-approved private institutions and insured by the USDA, thus guaranteeing below-market interest rates and low to zero down payment obligations. Instead of requiring mortgage insurance, the USDA insures 90 % of the amount borrowed and receives a guarantee fee from the qualified lender, which is subtracted from your regular loan payment.

A comparison of the guaranteed loan and the USDA 502 direct loan

The source of the funds is the primary distinction between the two USDA RD loan options. The USDA offers the 502 direct single-family home loans together with rate-reducing subsidies. On the other hand, lenders the USDA has approved offer guaranteed loans.

Both loan options aim to facilitate affordable homeownership for rural dwellers with low to moderate household incomes. However, because the same lender does not issue them, they are different in several respects. For example, here is a look at the 502 direct loans.

Who may apply for the USDA 502 direct loan?

Several variables are considered when determining a person's eligibility for the Single-Family Direct Housing Loan. At the very least, the applicant's adjusted income must be below the low-income cutoff for the county. The borrower must also demonstrate a willingness and ability to meet debt obligations.

Participants in the program must also:

  • Provide documentation of their US citizenship or legal residency

  • Be unable to afford appropriate, clean and safe, secure housing

  • Have little too meager income

  • Not being able to acquire a mortgage from another institution on fair conditions

  • Produce two years of consistent and dependable income

  • Have adjusted annual income below 115 percent of the county's median income for their household size

  • Commit to utilizing the property as their primary residence

  • Have the legal capacity to get a loan

  • Still, be in a position to participate in government-backed loan programs

Meanwhile, the negotiated home must:

  • Be located in an eligible rural or suburb community

  • Be smaller than 2,000 square feet

  • Have a market value less than the area's loan limit threshold

  • Serve as primary residence; not a profit-generating property

The borrower will be asked to repay all or a portion of the subsidy provided throughout the loan when they move out of the home, sell it, or transfer the title.

What is the FICO score required for USDA loans?

Lenders are free to come up with their own minimum FICO score limits; the USDA has not established any. Most lenders set a minimum FICO score of 640 so that their offers can meet the provisions of the USDA Guaranteed Underwriting System. However, with some human underwriting, people with scores under 640 can still qualify.

What are the USDA RD's household income restrictions?

Most applicants for the USDA single-family direct home loan program have low-to-moderate incomes. The project has three criteria regarding household income caps:

  • $90,300 for homes with one to four people.
  • $119,200 for homes with five to eight people.

How do they calculate the household income?

The USDA considers the annual incomes of all adults in a home, regardless of whether or not they are on loan. However, the system first adjusts the annual income for expenses, such as health care costs.

What types of properties qualify for USDA RD loans?

Only first-time buyers with low to moderate incomes who want to purchase a property in a rural community can apply for a USDA loan. The parameters of the program state that rural villages are eligible if they have both rural characteristics and a population below 35,000.

The regions should also have insufficient mortgage options for low-income households. This mortgage program also applies to some suburban areas.

USDA funding is only available to buy single-family primary residences, though. You may be permitted to purchase a property with acreage, provided the acreage is typical for the area and will not be used to produce revenue.

What rural regions in Nassau County are eligible?

To find out which locations qualify for the USDA loans mortgage program, you can search the USDA Eligibility Portal.

How much money can you borrow?

Before applying, prospective applicants can utilize the 502 Direct House Loan Self-Assessment framework to see whether the loan is a good fit. The software will produce an interim analysis once you enter details about your general household makeup, monthly income, debts, property location, planned property taxes, and anticipated risk insurance.

Regardless of what this online tool tells you, you are still advised to formally apply to the department of agriculture for an official loan assessment.

How can the USDA project's funding be used?

Low-income families may be assisted with loan funds to acquire a principal home in eligible rural areas. Families may also utilize the funds to buy and develop land, including the construction of water and sewage facilities, and to build, renovate, or relocate their homes.

What are the 502 direct loan's amortization schedule and rate?

In contrast to the guaranteed mortgage program, which permits participating lenders to determine their rates, the USDA determines the prices for the 502 direct loan programs. Although many other aspects are considered, the borrower's credit profile is typically the most important one for determining interest rates.

Rates are lower for borrowers with solid credit histories and vice versa. However, available subsidy programs provide relief to borrowers' assigned rates. Generally, USDA mortgages often offer lower rates than FHA and conventional mortgages.

The rates and duration of the direct loan repayments are broken down as follows:

  • Borrowing costs are 3.00 percent for individuals with moderate to low incomes; subsidy packages may be used to reduce the rate to as little as 1%.

  • Depending on your salary, the maximum regular loan term is 33 years, but it can be increased to 38 years.

  • Fixed interest rates are determined using the market rate when the loan is approved or closed (the lowest rate is chosen).

Happy smiling family in new home holding unpacked cardboard boxes

What are the benefits of USDA loans?

The USDA RD loan program was established to make it simple and inexpensive for those with low to moderate incomes to become homeowners. The program aims to stimulate economic development in rural communities around the nation.

The following are just a few benefits of the USDA RD loan program:

  • The loan program provides up to 100 percent financing without requiring a down payment (101 percent with an insurance fee lumped on the buyer's loan).

  • Low to zero private mortgage insurance.

  • Loan closing costs may be integrated or included in the loan.

  • The seller may additionally cover up to 6% of a purchaser's closing costs.

  • There is no maximum established loan amount restriction; instead, loan limitations are determined by maximum DTI ratios.

  • Savings are not required as assets to be eligible for the loan program.

  • Individuals with less than stellar credit scores can still qualify.

  • USDA loans come with safe, affordable 30-year fixed interest rates determined by certified lenders.

  • Homebuyers have the option of making a down payment on their loan. In addition, down payment assistance grants are available.

  • It can be used to buy single-family homes, including new, used, approved condos and townhomes. Mobile homes don't qualify.

  • Move-up buyers can apply for the loans too.

  • No homeowner education is needed.

How to submit a loan application

Thinking about submitting a USDA loan application? Dealing with an authorized lender would be beneficial. Once you've chosen a lender, you must give them details about the house you want to acquire, the loan amount, your monthly expenses, assets, and gross monthly income. After that, the lender will ask for your credit record so they may check your credit rating. Each lender has a different minimum acceptable score, but most start around 640.

Supporting documentation, you may be required to produce includes:

  • Pay stubs from the most recent pay months
  • valid ID
  • W-2 statement
  • bank statement

Is there a deadline for applications?

Applications for this mortgage program are accepted annually through the county RD office.

USDA loans application process

The USDA-RD loan process is different for every home buyer, but it often involves the following steps:

  • Pre-qualification with a lender that has received USDA approval

  • Providing all the necessary documentation for pre-approval

  • Negotiating a property contract in a zone/area approved by the USDA RD

  • Inviting the USDA for an evaluation and sealing the purchase contract

  • Waiting for the loan to be underwritten and processed

  • Finalizing the purchase of the home

Depending on the amount of money available, how complete your application package is, and how popular the program is in the area, processing times could be anywhere from 30 to 60 days. The loan officer should be able to tell you more.

Already have a USDA loan? Look into refinancing

Property owners can benefit from fluctuating market interest rates by refinancing. Specific loan schemes allow homeowners to switch loan types (usually to lower rate alternatives, if available). For instance, you can lower your monthly interest costs by refinancing a higher-rate USDA mortgage into a new low-rate loan.

However, there are situations when refinancing can lead to higher finance expenses throughout the loan. The following are the alternatives for USDA loan refinancing:

  • Borrowers can refinance without requesting a new appraisal if they have made on-time payments for the previous 12 months.

  • For example, you can refinance for $50 without needing a new appraisal, DTI analysis, or credit check.

  • USDA non-streamlined refinance This option functions similarly to the streamline assistance choice mentioned above, but homeowners must first obtain a new appraisal. However, you will not be charged the $50.

Local information about Nassau County

Florida's Nassau County is located in the state's far northeast. It was founded in 1824 and officially named Nassau after a German Duchy of the same name. The county had 90,352 residents as of the 2020 US Census.

For a variety of reasons, Nassau County inhabitants adore their home county. Job opportunities have increased gradually in practically all sectors since May 2020. Most job prospects are in the medical area, where facilities like the Baptist Medical Center Nassau and the UF Health Center employ thousands of individuals. The county routinely experiences faster economic growth compared to the entire state. Its unemployment rate is about 2 % below the national average.

It also boasts a rich blend of culture, history, and excellent schools. There are 16 fully certified K–12 schools. For the past ten years, they have regularly achieved an A-rating. This combination of job opportunities, excellent schools, zero income tax, and diverse cultural/history mix makes Nassau County great for families and adults.

Top outdoor activities in Nassau County, Florida

Tour Fort Clinch State Park

On Amelia Island in Florida, a historic state park is called Fort Clinch State Park. Spanish explorers camped there for numerous years, taking advantage of the profitable Indian commerce and creating large mounds.

Of course, Fort Clinch didn't exist at the time. During the Civil War, the park's namesake was constructed in 1861 as one of the numerous coastal barracks along the shoreline between Jacksonville and St.Augustine.

Despite making history, an earthquake is said to have destroyed half of the original structure, together with many rockets fired against Union ships during the civil war. Today, tourists to Fort Clinch State Park can engage in various activities such as hiking, fishing, and biking.


The locations around Amelia Island are an antiquer's dream come true! You'll find numerous little shops selling treasures, including apparel, furniture, household goods, music records, books, and more.

Shrimp Festival

The Southern Shrimp at Isle of Eight Flags Festival is a family-friendly celebration with a shrimp theme highlighting Amelia Island's rich culture and history.

Talbot Island State Parks

One of the lovely sites in Florida to explore nature, watch birds, and take pictures is the wildlife sanctuary inside Big Talbot State Park. This park is one of the last remaining unspoiled barrier islands in northeast Florida. There are several places to go hiking, biking, boating, fishing, and picnicking.

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the main tourist destinations in the Jacksonville region. It offers rare big cats a secure haven and permanent residence.

The facility is open to visitors who want to see and learn more about pumas, lions, tigers, lynx, and leopards. Even a few coatimundis and foxes serve as "honorary cats" here. Take your whole family here for an afternoon adventure.


If you like visiting Nassau County, Florida, you'll likely enjoy residing here. And with the USDA RD loan program, you can afford to buy a primary residence in the county. USDA RD loan specialists are ready to assist you.

Inquiries can be made at any time of year. Additionally, you can call them at 888-767-0554 to ask questions, learn which communities are eligible, and get free quotes.

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.

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