June is National Homeownership month.  As part of this nationwide celebration, Rural Development is highlighting programs that can help in the effort to buy, build and repair affordable homes.  Trudy Teter with RD Washington said many people are not aware of the programs they offer.  Two that are of great benefit for those looking to purchase a new home are the Guaranteed Program, as well as the Direct Program.

“Our terms are a little bit longer than a conventional loan, so, we have a 33-38 year term, depending on the household income.  And we do have credit requirements and income requirements and also an area loan limit, meaning we can’t lend more than a certain amount for different counties.”

She noted that both the Guaranteed and Direct Loans are 100% financing, and both programs are only for eligible rural areas.  She added over recent years, RD has relaxed some of the rules and requirements, meaning more homes are eligible for funding via USDA programs.

“The homes have to be decent, safe and sanitary, which is typical for a lender, so it’s not as strict as it used to be.  Years ago, it couldn’t have a garage or it couldn’t have sliding glass doors, but now, those are options that are typical to a home.  Also, the home can be 2,000 sq. ft or less, and those are quite larger than what people would like a rural home would be.”

Teter added for those looking to make repairs to their existing house, RD has a Home Repair Loan & Grant Program.  Altogether, she noted USDA has over 48 programs focused on housing.

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