What is a USDA Loan?
A USDA loan, or USDA Rural Development home loan, is a mortgage program offered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This government agency provides low-interest loans for borrowers who wish to purchase homes in rural or suburban areas. The program was established in 1972 and helps millions of Americans purchase their homes yearly.
Are you a Hometown Hero? Find out your eligibility for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program in Sumter County, Florida.
Benefits of USDA Loans
USDA loans come with several advantages that make them an attractive option. These include:
Mortgage interest rates are based on the current market rate—they're not fixed like conventional mortgages. As such, they tend to be lower than those available through other types of financing options like FHA loans or VA home loans; however, your credit score and other factors will also impact what rate you receive.
No down payments
The USDA doesn't require any down payment, which can be a big help for first-time buyers who don't have much saved for a down payment.
You won't have to put any money down on your home purchase, and you'll be able to make payments on the total price of your home instead of paying off part of its value over time (as is required with conventional mortgages).
No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)
Conventional loans typically require PMI until you've paid 20 percent of your home's value. But with a USDA loan, PMI isn't required at all.
With some other types of low-down payment mortgages, you may be required to pay for mortgage insurance or PMI—but because USDA loans require no down payment and have low-interest rates, neither is necessary.
The fixed 30-year rate for all USDA loans
Other loans may offer fixed rates that change over time, but all USDA loans come with one flat rate over 30 years.
More flexible credit guidelines than conventional loans
If you have blemished credit but still want to buy a home, you might want to consider getting a USDA loan instead of a conventional mortgage. The USDA accepts applicants with lower credit scores than most lenders do and doesn't require as much documentation as other loans when making an approval decision.
100 percent financing
These loans are available for purchase, construction, and refinancing purposes, with no down payment required for most homes.
Opportunity for closing cost assistance
Borrowers can take advantage of up to 4 percent in closing cost assistance on all USDA-insured loans, which helps make buying a home more affordable. Closing costs can add up quickly and thousands of dollars—but they're eliminated when you apply for a USDA loan with zero down!
Available for rural and suburban house hunting
USDA loans are available in rural and suburban areas throughout the country, making them ideal for first-time home buyers looking to live where they work or close to family members or friends.
Seller concession is allowed
Seller concession is a payment made by the seller to the buyer to lower the buyer's monthly mortgage payment. It's not a gift, it's not a second mortgage, and it's not a down payment. A seller can offer up to 6% of their home's sale price toward your down payment or closing costs.
For example, if your home costs $200,000 and you want $10,000 for closing costs but don't have that money saved up yet (and can't get approved for a USDA loan without having some money for closing costs).
Then your lender will allow the seller to make up that difference as long as they agree beforehand and agrees not to ask for it back later (i.e., no balloon payments).
Closing costs can be borrowed
You can borrow money from the USDA loan program to pay your closing costs, but you will be responsible for paying that back.
The borrower can pay back the closing costs in one lump sum or over time. If you choose to have them repaid over time, your monthly mortgage payment will be increased by an amount equal to what it would take to pay off your closing costs within 30 years, which is usually around $15 per month per $100 borrowed.
This extra monthly payment goes directly toward paying off those closing costs until they're fully paid.
How USDA Loans Differ from Traditional Mortgages?
The first thing to know about USDA loans is that the government backs them. This means they're one of the few mortgages guaranteed by Uncle Sam and therefore don't require you to have any money down.
To make homeownership accessible in rural areas. These loans also allow eligible home buyers (less than 80% of median income) to get a mortgage for up to $424,100—the same maximum as FHA and VA loans.
The other significant difference between USDA loans and traditional mortgages is that there are no closing costs for most borrowers who take out this type of loan in Sumter County, Florida.
Providing you have good credit, decent income, and sufficient savings for a down payment (if required), it's possible to qualify for a USDA loan even if your credit score is below 700 or above 760 (depending on what county you live in).
Eligibility for a USDA Loan in Sumter County, Florida
To qualify for a USDA loan, you must be a first-time home buyer. Your income must also meet their guidelines—if it falls below the maximum income limits for your area, you won't qualify for a USDA mortgage. The USDA will not approve your mortgage application if you have already owned a house.
Additionally, you must prove that your primary residence is located within one of these eligible counties: Sumter County, Florida.
How to Check Your Eligibility for a USDA Loan
There are several options if you are wondering how to check your eligibility for a USDA loan in Sumter County, Florida. You can contact a lender to find out whether or not they offer USDA loans.
You can also check your eligibility online by visiting the USDA website and entering your zip code. Finally, if you want to speak with someone directly about your options, you can call the USDA and speak with an agent who works at their headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Your best bet for finding out more about what type of mortgage might be right for you is by speaking with an expert who knows all about these types of mortgages and has many years of experience helping people obtain them!
How zero down payment loans work?
A zero-down loan is typically used by buyers who cannot make a down payment. Instead of making a cash deposit, you will use other collateral for your mortgage.
This may be in stocks or bonds, jewelry, art pieces, real estate property, or anything else that can be sold for cash if you fail to make your mortgage payments on time.
How do lenders determine if I qualify?
Your lender has specific guidelines when determining whether or not they will approve your application for zero down payment loans. These include:
The amount and type of credit score you have. Most lenders require at least 649 (FICO). It's always good practice to check with several lenders before applying so that you know what their requirements are going into it.
Your income level; most lenders require proof that your combined monthly income is three times greater than the total monthly housing payments. USDA loans are based purely upon income levels and ability-to-repay calculations made using formulas provided by FHA guidelines issued by HUD (Housing & Urban Development).
Monthly debt-to-income ratio; most loans recommend no more than 36% combined debt (car payments + house payment + insurance).
How to get a USDA zero down payment loan
Contact a USDA-approved lender. These lenders will be able to help you complete the loan process and give you information on the different types of financing available.
Fill out a loan application, provide income and assets proof, and complete other financial documents.
Provide a credit report from one or more credit reporting agencies (CRA). This can be done by calling each CRA directly or ordering it online through their website or mobile app.
If an application is made online, this will allow for a faster delivery time than applying by phone.
Sign a loan agreement after negotiations have been completed with your lender representative at the closing table. This ensures that both parties agree upon all terms before finalizing things officially together.
The contract documents should state how much money each party owes each other while also stating what happens if something goes wrong during transaction processing.
What are the Alternatives to a USDA Loan in Sumter County, Florida?
A USDA loan is likely your best bet if you're looking for a mortgage that can be easily obtained, with low down payment requirements and no cash outlay at closing.
However, alternatives to USDA loans are available in Sumter County—some are better suited for specific borrowers.
The Federal Housing Administration is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The FHA was created during the Great Depression to make homeownership accessible to people with low to moderate incomes and credit problems. It insures mortgages by guaranteeing lenders against losses in case of default.
Eligible applicants must have a steady income and meet other requirements such as credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and down payment amount. The FHA loans are available for both new construction and existing homes.
The FHA Loan Program is the most commonly used alternative to a USDA loan. FHA loans allow you to have a down payment as low as 3.5% (or $715 on a purchase price of $100k).
In addition, they allow borrowers who have less than perfect credit scores (as low as 580) and charge no mortgage insurance fees until after five years of on-time payments.
On the downside, though, FHA's maximum mortgage amount is $484k as opposed to $726k with USDA Loans and requires more paperwork than regular conventional loans or VA/USDA Loans do.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers a variety of loan programs to help veterans, active-duty service members, and qualified military personnel purchase homes at low-interest rates.
To be eligible, you must have served at least 90 days of active duty service during wartime or 181 consecutive days in peacetime, live in the property as your primary residence, and have an honorable discharge from the military.
Since there are no down payments required with this type of mortgage, they can be an attractive option for first-time homebuyers or others who may not have saved up enough cash to put down on a home purchase. However, buyers should be aware of several drawbacks to VA loans before deciding on this type of mortgage financing.
How to Find the Best Mortgage Rates
To ensure you get the best USDA mortgage rates, look at the lender's terms and conditions. What does it mean if a lender has a low annual percentage rate (APR) but higher closing costs? If a lender has an APR of 4% but a closing cost of 3%, it would be wise to go with that instead of the 4% one.
Knowing how to obtain a no-money-down mortgage through the USDA loan program can help you reach your homeownership goals.
While there are many advantages to purchasing a home, one of the most important is owning it free and clear.
The property is yours for the long haul when you have a USDA loan. There are no monthly payments or private mortgage insurance (PMI) fees to worry about. In addition, homeownership has been shown to improve one's health and happiness levels.
5 Outdoor Activities in Sumter County, Florida
No matter what outdoor activity you want to try, Sumter County is the place to go. This region is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, from hiking to zip lining. The following are five of the best outdoor activities in Sumter County.
The Suwannee River is famous for its largemouth bass, but it's also home to other species like bream, bluegill, and crappie. The Suwannee River Wilderness Trail offers one of the best places to fish in Sumter County. You can explore the river on a canoe or kayak as well.
Go Canoeing Through the Suwannee River Wilderness Trail
If you'd instead go canoeing or kayaking through the wilderness trail, head to Lake Rousseau RV Park. This campground has both sites for tent campers and areas to set up an RV. At night, enjoy nature by stargazing or listening to owls hooting in the distance.
Bird Watching at the Sumter County Wildlife Management Area
Bird watching is another popular outdoor activity in Sumter County. Head over to the Sumter County Wildlife Management Area, where you'll find more than 100 species of birds, including American woodcock, American kestrels, and blue-gray gnatcatchers.
Hike through this forested area while listening out for bird songs and searching for nests hidden high in trees.
Go hiking on one of the many trails in the area
The Sumter County area has several parks that offer trails for hiking. Lake Rousseau RV Park offers both sites for tent campers and areas to set up an RV. Guests can enjoy fishing on Lake Rousseau or walk through their nature trail. For guests to enjoy their meals outdoors, Picnic tables are also available at Lake Rousseau RV Park.
Prepare for a hike at Hemlock Falls Scenic Area
The Hemlock Falls Scenic Area is a popular destination for hikers, but it's also a great place to enjoy nature with the whole family. The Hemlock Falls Recreation Area includes Hemlock Falls, Hemlock Cascades, and Hemlock Gorge. Several hiking trails wind through the area, and visitors can swim in the river or enjoy lunch at one of the picnic tables.
The USDA loan program is an excellent option for those who want to buy a home but don't have enough money to pay the down payment. With low-interest rates and no closing costs, this type of mortgage can be the right choice for many homeowners in Sumter County, Florida.