Understanding the Requirements for a USDA Guaranteed Home Loan

No down payment with the USDA Guarantee loan. Do you qualify?

Nice rural homeThe United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers a mortgage program that helps low- and moderate-income families qualify for loans to purchase homes in eligible rural areas.

To be eligible for a USDA Guaranteed loan, applicants must meet income and credit score requirements to qualify for a USDA loan. Additionally, USDA loans require that the property be located in an eligible rural area as designated by the USDA.

This loan program offers competitive interest rates and flexible terms, making it a great option for those with moderate to low incomes. Best of all, USDA loans are backed by the federal government, so you can rest assured that your loan is in good hands.

What Is a USDA Guaranteed Loan?

If you're looking to buy a home in a rural or suburban area, a USDA Guaranteed Loan may be a good option for you. These loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and they can be used to finance up to 100% of the purchase price of eligible homes.

To be eligible for a USDA Guaranteed mortgage, you must meet household income and credit requirements, and the property you're buying must be located in an eligible rural or suburban area.

How Do USDA Loans Work?

USDA Guaranteed loans are a great option for homebuyers who may not have the best credit scores or the largest down payments. Because USDA loans are backed by the government, lenders are more willing to offer them to borrowers who may not be able to qualify for other types of financing.

Under the USDA Guaranteed loan program, borrowers can finance up to 100% of their home's purchase price. This means that borrowers can potentially buy a home with no money down.

In addition, USDA Guaranteed loans have very competitive interest rates and can be easier to qualify for than other types of financing.

If you're thinking about buying a home in a rural or suburban area, you should definitely consider a USDA Guaranteed loan. With its zero down payment and competitive interest rates, it's a great option for many homebuyers.

Couple standing in front of their new homeUSDA Home Loan Down Payment

No down payment requirement for qualifying rural borrowers.

USDA Guaranteed Loan Income Limits

There are strict income limits associated with USDA guaranteed home loans, which are set at the county level. In order to qualify for a USDA mortgage, applicants must not exceed the maximum income limit for their county of residence.

Maximum income limits vary widely by U.S. county. The base income for 2022 is:

1-4 member households is $103,500.

5-8 member households is $136,600. 

To see if you meet the income limit for your county, visit the USDA website and select your state and county of residence from the drop-down menus.   Single Family Housing Income Eligibility.

If your monthly income exceeds the maximum limit for your county, you may still be eligible for a USDA loan if your income is below the national median income. The USDA has few adjustments to income that may bring your qualifying income down. For more information about national median incomes, speak to a USDA lender.

USDA Guaranteed Loan Credit Requirements

Credit score graphicThere are a lot of people out there who think that they don’t have what it takes to get a USDA guaranteed loan because of their credit score. Well, we’re here to tell you that you most likely do! A lot of people don’t realize that the USDA takes into account a lot more than just your credit score when they are making their decision on whether or not to give you a mortgage.

They will also look at things like your employment history, your income, and your debts. So, even if you have a low credit score, if you have a steady job and don’t have a lot of debt, you could still qualify for a USDA guaranteed loan.

Of course, the higher your credit score is, the better off you will be. But don’t let a low credit score discourage you from applying for a USDA guaranteed loan. What you are eligible for could surprise you!

The majority of lenders need a credit score of at least 640. If your score is near to or below that threshold, you may still be eligible. Some USDA approved lenders will accept a 580 credit score!

USDA Loans Mortgage Insurance

If you're considering a USDA Guaranteed Loan, you'll need to factor in the cost of monthly mortgage insurance (also known as the annual fee). The USDA requires mortgage insurance on the guaranteed program to protect the lender in case you default on your mortgage.

The good news is that USDA mortgage insurance is relatively affordable. The upfront guarantee fee is just 1% of your loan amount, and the annual premium is only 0.35%.

That's much lower than the mortgage insurance on an FHA loan, which can be as high as 2.25% for the initial premium and .85% for the monthly cost with the minimum down payment. The low mortgage insurance on a USDA mortgage, (also known as the annual fee) lowers your mortgage payment when compared to an FHA mortgage.

USDA Loan Terms

The Guarantee loan program is only available for a 30-year loan term with a fixed interest rate.

The interest rate will be determined by the lender and the information you provide.

Eligible Property Types

First-time purchasers are not the only ones who may use USDA loans. Existing houses (1 to 4 units owner occupied), new construction, modular homes, planned unit developments (PUDs), qualified condos, and newly constructed homes are all examples of property kinds that are eligible. The loan might cover eligible renovations and repairs.

Property Eligibility for USDA Rural Development

The guaranteed program is available to eligible borrowers who are looking to purchase or improve a home in a rural or eligible suburban area. In order to qualify for a USDA guaranteed loan, the property must be located in an eligible rural area as determined by the USDA.

There are several benefits to obtaining a USDA guaranteed loan. One of the main benefits is that there is no down payment required.

Additionally, the interest rates on USDA guaranteed loans are typically lower than those for conventional loans.

Benefits Of a USDA Loan

If you're looking to purchase a home in a rural or suburban area, a USDA Guaranteed Loan may be a good option for you. USDA Guaranteed Loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and they're available to eligible homebuyers who are unable to obtain financing from a traditional lender.

There are many benefits to USDA Guaranteed Loans, including:

- No down payment is required.

- You can get up to 102% financing on the purchase price of your home.

- Loan terms can be up to 30 years.

- You can get a fixed-rate.

- There is no maximum income limit, so anyone can qualify.

If you're interested in learning more about USDA Guaranteed Loans, contact a participating lender today.

What Is the Interest Rate on a USDA Guaranteed Loan

The interest rate for the guarantee loan program is determined by the lender, just like any other mortgage. There are few or no interest rate adjustments for credit score or property location.

What Are The Drawbacks Of a Guaranteed USDA

There are a few potential drawbacks to take into consideration before signing up for a guaranteed USDA loan. First, there is an upfront guarantee fee that is paid to the USDA.

This fee is 1% of the loan amount. Finally, you will be required to pay monthly mortgage insurance premiums on your loan. While this monthly premium is generally lower than private mortgage insurance, it can still add up over time.

Get a USDA Loan to Buy a Home with a Guaranteed Loan

The USDA Guaranteed Loan is a great way to purchase a home. The USDA loan program offers 100% financing for eligible borrowers, which means that you can finance your entire home purchase without having to come up with a down payment.

Additionally, the USDA Guaranteed Loan program has flexible credit requirements, making it easier for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit to qualify. If you're thinking about buying a home, learn more about how the USDA Guaranteed Loan can help you get approved today.

How Do I Apply for a USDA Loan?

Approved mortgage application graphicIf you're interested in applying for a USDA guaranteed loan, there are a few things you should know.

First, these loans are available to rural homeowners who may not have access to other types of financing.

Second, you'll need to have a fair to good credit score in order to qualify.

Third, you'll need to provide documentation of your income and assets. fourth, the loan application can take several weeks.

If you think you might be eligible for a USDA guaranteed loan, the first step is to contact a USDA approved lender (see below). They can help you determine if you meet the eligibility requirements and walk you through the application process.

Once you've submitted your application, it will be reviewed by a loan officer. If everything looks good, you should expect to close on your loan within a few weeks.

Rotating question markFAQs About USDA Guaranteed Mortgages

Q. Who pays closing costs on a USDA loan?

A. The homebuyer typically pays closing costs on a USDA loan. This can include the cost of the appraisal, credit report, and other fees associated with the loan.

Q. How to get out of a USDA loan?

A. There are a few ways to get out of a USDA loan. One way is to sell your home. Another way is to refinance your loan.

Q. What disqualifies you for a USDA loan?

A. The USDA has a laundry list of items that can disqualify a borrower, but the most common reasons are:

-A credit score below 640

-A debt-to-income ratio above 43%

-No satisfactory credit history

-Income that is too low to afford the mortgage

Q. What is the minimum credit score for a USDA loan?

A. The minimum credit score for a USDA loan is 640. Some lenders will approve USDA loan with a lower credit score.

Read more about USDA loans with our questions and answers page


The USDA guaranteed loan program is a great option for those who are looking to finance a home in a rural area. The program provides competitive interest rates and terms, and there is no down payment required. If you think the USDA guaranteed loan program might be right for you, contact your local USDA office to get started.

SOURCE: Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program

Recommended Reading

  1. What is Earnest Money on a USDA Loan?
  2. How a USDA Loan Gift Funds Can Help You Buy a House
  3. USDA Guaranteed Loan: What You Should Know