When buying a home, many people are apprehensive about the cost. Many fear that a larger down payment will impact their ability to secure a mortgage, putting them in danger of being unable or unwilling to make monthly mortgage payments.
Fortunately, programs are in place to help those who may be financially restricted from purchasing a home with a sizeable down payment. The USDA Home Loan program is one of them. This post explains the USDA loan program and how you can get an affordable loan to purchase your first home in Walton County, Florida.
Are you a Hometown Hero? Find out your eligibility for the Hometown Heroes Loan Program in Walton County, Florida.
What is the USDA Loan Program?
The USDA loan program is a home loan available to any person seeking to purchase a home in rural areas.
The program is for households that plan to live in the home as the primary residence. This means that the household must consist of the person applying for the home loan, their spouse, and any children under the age of 23.
The USDA loan program does not distinguish between married couples and unmarried couples. Regardless of gender, the only requirement is that the person applying for the home loan and the one they are applying for be residents of the same household.
How to Get a USDA Loan in Walton County, Florida
There are several ways to apply for a USDA loan in Walton. First, if you fall within the qualifying criteria, one of the loan officers of your local mortgage company may be willing to process the application on a no-fee basis.
When you apply for a USDA loan, you will get instructions to complete a financial questionnaire that the loan officer will use to determine your eligibility for a loan. If you do not have access to a loan officer, you can still apply for a USDA loan.
However, USDA loan guidelines require you to complete and submit an application form to one of the lenders offering this service. For this application, you will have to meet some financial criteria as you would if you were making an application at a local bank.
Qualifying for a USDA Loan in Walton
To be eligible for a loan, you must have a monthly income that is likely sufficient for a mortgage payment.
The income limit for this loan is $103,500, and any monthly income above this amount would make you ineligible for a USDA loan.
A credit score is another important factor in qualifying for a USDA mortgage loan. If you don't meet the minimum credit score requirements, you will likely not get approved for a mortgage loan. The minimum credit score requirements vary by lender. You can find out what they are by contacting the lender or mortgage broker where you plan to purchase a home.
Costs and Conditions of a USDA Loan
Apart from the minimum income requirement, the other conditions that you need to know about are:
Downpayment – The down payment for a USDA loan is 0%. This is unlike the 20% down payment generally required for conventional mortgage loans.
Closing costs – The closing cost for a USDA loan is about 2% of the loan amount. This is much lower than the 5%-10% loan amount you would have to pay if you take out a conventional loan. In most cases, the seller pays for the closing costs with USDA home loans.
Interest rate – The interest rate on a USDA loan is fixed for the life of the loan. The rate is not subject to any payment of PMI, so you do not need to worry about that. It is, however, subject to the maximum loan amount.
Loan repayment period – The loan repayment period on a USDA loan is 30 years. The payoff period on a conventional loan may be up to 120 months.
Advantages of a USDA Loan
Compared to a conventional loan, there are several advantages of getting a USDA loan:
Zero down payment – The first advantage is the zero down payment. A conventional loan requires borrowers to put as much as 20% as a down payment.
Less expensive – Another advantage of a USDA loan is that it is less expensive than conventional. Its interest rate is fixed for the life of the loan. This means that you will not be paying more or less over time because of the common interest rate changes in the conventional market.
Tips Before You Apply
Before applying for a mortgage loan, it is always a good idea to go through a pre-approval process. This will help you understand what kind of loan you need and what your expected monthly payments will be.
Before applying for a loan, you should check your credit score and try to improve it if necessary. This will help you secure a better loan amount, and it will also help you get approved for a loan in the future.
How to Apply for a USDA Home Loan
First, let's find out what you need to start the home loan application process. You will need a few basic things to apply for a USDA home loan:
A completed application form – You can find the form on the USDA website or directly from the lender you apply for. All the fields are mandatory, and you should fill them out truthfully.
Proof of Income – You will need to provide copies of your pay stubs, tax returns, and other documentation proving your income.
Proof of home ownership (for refinancing) – This shows that you legally own the property where you plan to apply for the loan.
The lender will want to see your credit report – You can find your credit report on www.creditreport.com and ensure all information is accurate and up to date.
Step 1 – Find an approved lender
Finding an approved lender by visiting the USDA website is your first step. The USDA website will list all the lenders that meet the requirements for the home loan program. You can search on the site by state and home loan type.
You can also find a lender near you by entering your zip code and state. You can also search by loan type, borrower income range, property size, and other factors. For example, if you want to find a lender close to your home, you can search by property types such as single-family homes or condos.
Step 2 – Fill out the application form
In this step, you will fill out the application form and send it to the lender. For example, when you are filling out the application form, make sure you include the following details:
Full name – This should be your legal name. If you want to use a nickname or alias, make sure you put your legal name in the application.
Address – Enter the complete address of the property where you plan to apply for the home loan. You can enter either the street name or the address of the property.
County – If you are applying for a USDA loan for a single-family home, enter the county of the property's location. If you are applying for a condo, town, or mobile home loan, enter the state where the property is located.
State – Enter the state where the property is located.
Zip code – Enter the complete zip code of the property's location.
Loan type – This should be single or multifamily housing. If you are applying for a refinance, enter the loan amount you plan to refinance.
Applying for a loan through the USDA home loan program is easy.
Step 3 – Attach necessary documents
You will need to attach the following documents when applying for a USDA home loan:
- Proof of income
- Social Security number
- Proof of home ownership
- Credit report
- Loan application
- Your bank account information, mortgage information, and other details will be necessary for closing the loan.
Step 4 – Wait for approval
This is the most exciting and anticipation-filled part of the USDA home loan application process. If your application is successful, you will receive an approval notification from the lender, including the lender's approval and closing date.
The lender will also provide the details of the loan amount you will be borrowing. Once you receive the approval notification and review the details, confirm the approval.
You can log into your lender account and review the approval details. You must ensure a loan amount that best suits your financial situation.
Step 5 – Closing
This is the official signing and closing of the loan. The lender will send you a notice and provide directions for the final signing and closing of the loan. The lender may request that you bring documents provided by the seller. These documents include a title insurance policy, survey, appraisal, and others.
Who Can Obtain a USDA Home Mortgage?
The USDA loan program is available to any person who meets the financial criteria set by the federal government. The financial criteria are based on the income and assets of the applicant. The person applying for the loan must also be the primary borrower on the loan.
There are specific requirements for the individual applying for the loan and the one living in the house as their primary residence. The primary borrower must be:
- A citizen of the United-States
- At least 18 years of age
- A resident of the county where they are applying for the loan
- A person who owns one or more automobiles
- Own a home or are buying one
- Do not have delinquent debt
Why Walton County, Florida
With many great reasons to call Walton County home, it is easy to see why so many people want to own property here.
Good schools and education
With the primary elementary school being Walton County School District and the secondary schools being Gulf Park Academy and Destin Christian College, students in Walton County have an excellent education to attend. The high schools are also great, including Destin Fundamental High School, North Walton High School, and North Walton Middle School.
This education provides an excellent job for most of Walton County's residents. With this education, students are well prepared for college or even future careers. Several great private schools, such as the prestigious Saint Matthews School, are also available.
Great places to eat and drink
You will find some great food and drinks throughout Walton County. The restaurants offer various cuisines, from casual fares such as burgers, fries, and pizza, to fine dinings such as seafood, steaks, and more. You'll also find various places to drink, from pubs and bars to sitting by the beach.
Low cost of living
Another great thing about Walton County is the low cost of living. While other areas might be more expensive to live in, Walton County is one of the cheapest places to live in the state of Florida. This means that even if you don't make a lot of money, you can still afford to live in Walton County without a lot of issues with money.
Safe and secure
Walton County is very safe and secure whether you are walking down the street or heading off somewhere alone. With a low crime rate, there is less of a chance that you will be harassed, assaulted, or even robbed.
Additionally, with deficient unemployment, there is little chance that you will have to move out of the area and find a different job to earn enough money to pay the bills. This makes Walton County a great place to live.
Top Outdoor Activities in Walton County, Florida
Walton County is a small and quiet suburb about 30 minutes north of the major cities of Atlanta and Tampa. But that doesn't mean there aren't things to do here. Walton County has several attractions, making it an ideal place to bring your family for summer fun. Here are the top five attractions in Walton County, FL.
Blue Spring State Park
Blue Spring State Park is about 30 minutes north of Atlanta and Tampa. It is a quiet park on the banks of the Chattahoochee River, with a golf course and marina. But it's not just a place to take in the scenery. There are hiking trails, a swimming hole, an archery range, a playground, and even an equestrian center.
This park is a perfect getaway for those looking for a quiet and serene place to relax. Several hiking trails lead to archaeological sites and various species of birds. It's a great place to have a family picnic or go fishing.
Seacrest Wolf Preserve in Chipley
The Seacrest Wolf Preserve is a wolf sanctuary located in Chipley, Florida. It is one of the best places to see endangered gray wolves in the U.S. The Preserve is home to 5 wolves, which are descendants of the few wolves that survived the extermination that was going on in the wild when they were brought to captivity in the early 1900s.
The Seacrest Wolf Preserve is open daily from 9 am-5 pm. The entrance fee for adults is $8.50, and children under 12 are free. The entrance fee is good for one week.
Holmes Creek Canoe Livery
The Holmes Creek Canoe is a must-do for water enthusiasts of all ages. Located on Holmes Creek, the Holmes Creek Canoe Livery offers a unique opportunity to experience the pristine beauty of the local waterways. This canoe livery is one of the best places to canoe in Walton County.
The livery rents canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, and pontoon boats. The livery also offers guided paddles and guided kayak tours. New adventurers will find instruction and safety tips, while more experienced water explorers can enjoy some of the best canoe and kayak trails in the Blue Ridge.
Falling Waters State Park in Chipley
Falling Waters State Park is one of the best places to go swimming in Walton County. The park is terrific for swimming, picnicking, fishing, and boating. The park is also home to a scenic waterfall, several hiking trails, an amphitheater, and the Waterfall Trail, where visitors can see various birds and animals that call the park home.
Talquin River State Park
Talquin River State Park is a large park located about an hour north of Atlanta and Tampa. The park is on the banks of the Talquin River and has various activities for visitors to enjoy. There is a swimming area, boat ramps, a boat dock and marina, picnic areas, hiking trails, a playground, and a nature center.
The park is a popular spot for fishing and canoeing, and it has a great picnic area with tables and grills. At the park, a sea turtle recovery center also rescues and rehabilitates sea turtles that humans have injured.
The USDA loans program is one of the best options available to those who are concerned about being able to purchase a home with a large amount of down payment. The loan program is available only to those who meet minimum income requirements and who can demonstrate that they can make payments on a loan.