Getting a loan when it’s most needed can be an incredibly perplexing and stressful process, especially with so many specifics and variations according to rules and location. Thankfully, USDA loans are far simpler than many other loan types. So, how could you qualify for a USDA loan in Florida?
To qualify for USDA loans, applicants must meet income eligibility, occupy the property, be a U.S Citizen, U.S non-citizen, or Qualified Alien, have the legal capacity to incur loan obligations, be free to participate in federal programs, meet credit obligations, and purchase an eligible property.
Although qualifying for a USDA loan in Florida is fairly straightforward, there are still plenty of factors to consider to ensure the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. Stick around to find out how to qualify for a USDA loan in Florida so you can rest easy knowing you’ve got all your ducks in a row before applying.
USDA Loans in Florida
USDA loans are guaranteed by the United States government (the United States Department of Agriculture), and they require zero required down payments for those who qualify. This is compared to FHA loans, which typically require at least 3.5% down payments.
The USDA home loan is accessible to any person who meets the listed credit and income requirements. The loan does not require high credit scores, unlike many other loan options. This makes owning a home far easier for people who would otherwise be obstructed from homeownership.
Section 502 Guaranteed Loan Program focuses on providing borrowers of low to moderate-income households with opportunities to own decent, clean, and safe living conditions. The program affords a 90% loan note guarantee to approved lenders to reduce the risk of extending 100% loans to rural homebuyers who meet the criteria.
USDA Loan Program Types
There are various USDA loans, making it possible for borrowers to build, rehabilitate, or improve the dwelling space in rural areas. USDA loan programs include:
- Single-Family Housing Guaranteed
- Single-Family Housing Direct
- Multi-Family Housing
- Rural Business
- OneRD Loan Guaranteed
- Water and Environmental Guaranteed
- Water and Environmental Direct
- Community Facilities Guaranteed
The property eligibility, income eligibility, and income limits may vary depending on the USDA loan program and the specific county in Florida. It’s always best to go directly to the eligibility site to confirm these details according to the specific USDA loan program you are hoping to apply for.
USDA Eligible Areas
Before checking eligibility according to individual details, make sure that the property is in a suitable location in Florida. Apart from the specifics of an individual’s current income and credit score, this is the most important aspect when applying for a loan.
Thankfully, the odds of you living in an area that isn’t eligible are quite low. Approximately 97% of the United States is eligible for USDA financing, including Florida. Thousands of home buyers utilize USDA financing annually, and this option is becoming increasingly popular with time and further adaptations.
However, the designated eligible areas are subject to change over time. Eligibility maps are reviewed every three to five years. So, it is still worth checking them out to make sure the property is situated in an eligible location.
USDA Loan Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for USDA loans, the household income must meet specific guidelines, and the home that will be purchased must be situated in an eligible area, which USDA defines. The USDA requires the following from all applicants:
- Meet income USDA eligibility
- Agree to occupy the property as their primary residence
- Be a United States Citizen, a United States non-citizen national, or a Qualified Alien
- Have the legal capacity to incur the loan obligation
- Have not been suspended or debarred from participation in federal programs
- Show willingness to meet credit obligations promptly
- Purchase a property that meets all program criteria
In most cases, a credit score of 640 or above would be suitable for USDA loans. This was adapted in 2014, and is reasonable since most USDA lenders have demanded a credit score of at least 640 for quite some time.
USDA Loan Income Eligibility
Within Florida, income eligibility varies based on numerous factors, as well as the USDA loan program. As an example, we have outlined the process and income eligibility determinations for Single Family Housing Guaranteed.
The relevant factors will be unique to each case or applicant, meaning there is no specific universal income eligibility on a broad scale. The USDA will need to gather insight into each person’s situation within the household to determine income eligibility.
Single Family Housing Guaranteed Income Eligibility
The income eligibility will be based on the county and the number of residents living in the household except for foster adults and children. The USDA will also determine income eligibility based on the number of residents over 18 years old, disabled adults, or full-time students apart from applicants and co-applicants.
The applicant’s age also influences income eligibility, and the USDA will ask if the loan applicant or co-applicant is a senior over 62 years old. To note, the total number of persons living in the home must be greater than the number of minors.
Income and Expenses
After this information is provided, the USDA will ask about additional expenses and deductions, including annual child care expenses within the household. Gross monthly income needs to be disclosed, including the following specific forms of income:
- Base Employment Income
- Overtime Income
- Bonus Income
- Commission Income
- Self-Employment Income
- Dividend/Interest Income
- Net Rental Income
- Other Income (up to 8 forms)
- All Other Income Received by Adult Members of the Household
Once the relevant forms have been completed, the process will continue to be evaluated. Depending on the specific details provided by the USDA loan applicant, the USDA will provide the appropriate income eligibility. On a broad scale, applicants’ income cannot exceed 115% of the median household income.
Single-Family Housing Direct Income Eligibility
For some comparison, the Single-Family Housing Direct program has an entirely different process, starting with a self-assessment. One can choose to create a new assessment type by choosing between building a single-family home, purchasing a single-family home, or refinancing a single-family home.
Otherwise, a reference ID can be entered for an existing assessment. To compare requirements, we have used purchasing a single-family home as an example, opting to hypothetically purchase property within Alabama, Autauga County.
Household Members Information
The USDA will request to know the following information concerning the individuals that live within the household:
- Number of Co-Applicants
- Number of (Minor) Dependents
- Number of Full-time Students 18 Years or older
- Number of other adult household members
- Total number of people in the household
- If the Loan Applicant or Co-Applicant is at least age 62 (or a disabled person)
- If any Disabled Persons are living in the household
The USDA will then need to know about annual transactions for the household, including the following:
- Estimated Annual Property Taxes
- Estimated Annual Insurance
- Estimated Annual Home Owners Association Dues
- Other Funding Sources
Wage and Salary Monthly Income
The USDA will request information concerning the total wages and salaries of all household members over 18 years old. This includes base pay, overtime, and commissions or bonuses per month. This will equate to the total household income per month. The USDA will all ask about any additional sources of monthly income and annual child care expenses.
Monthly Debt Obligations
The USDA will ask about monthly debt obligations, which apply to the applicant, co-applicant, and the household’s overall debt per month. Acknowledged debt types include the following:
- Auto Payment
- Child Support Paid
- Installment Loan
- Credit Card
- Student Loan
- Co-signed Loan
- Other Debt
The applicant will need to disclose the following details to the USDA. To be eligible for a Section 502 Direct Loan, the USDA must be sure that applicants are willing and able to repay the Agency loan. A lower credit score can be overlooked if the applicant’s overall credit record demonstrates responsibility concerning financial obligations and debt repayments.
Any applicant who has outstanding judgment obtained by the United States in a Federal court of law (apart from the Tax court) will not be eligible for any Section 502 loans. This is a legal requirement, and there is no way around it. Applicants can request a credit report before proceeding with the process.
Every individual is entitled to one free credit file disclosure every 12 months from each consumer credit reporting company nationwide. This includes companies such as Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Otherwise, applicants can proceed by disclosing the following (applicable to applicant and co-applicant):
- Delinquent Federal Debts
- Outstanding Tax Lien with No Satisfactory Agreement
- Foreclosure, Charge-off, Bankruptcy, or Short Sales in Last 3 Years
- Accounts 30 Days Past Due in Last 2 Years
- Outstanding Judgements within Last 12 Months
- Outstanding Collection Accounts or Collection Accounts Paid in Full in Last 6 Months
If everything seems to be a good fit for the USDA, they will provide further details on the program application process for qualifying. While many specifics surround the USDA loan qualification process, it is still much easier than many other options. Ensure to check your specific details concerning area, income, and credit score before going ahead with the application process.