Lender Guide
Federal Guarantees for Rural Home Loans

Our home loan guarantees help private lenders safely increase their investment in mortgages for income-eligible families or individuals buying or building a home in a qualified rural area.

  1. The turn times for the Delaware/Maryland Offices for the Guaranteed Rural Housing program are now within 30 business days starting with the next business day after receipt of a completed application; Please contact your local Rural Development Specialist for any questions regarding a completed application. Please see the attached list of staff and areas covered for your contact.; Please contact your local Rural Development Specialist for any questions regarding a completed application. Please see the attached list of staff and areas covered for your contact.
  2. We can now accept all files by email. This includes GUS ACCEPT files that have been selected for a full documentation (Manual Underwrite) submission as listed on the View Findings report within GUS.

Please email all files to the following email address and direct all questions to your local specialist:sfgdemd@de.usda.gov

  1. Income limits for USDA Single Family Housing Programs have been updated as of 07/01/2011 Click on the link: http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov to review any changes.



Download a printable Quick Reference Guide



How much is a federal guarantee?

    90% of the principal amount of the loan.

  • Does the borrower qualify for a home loan guaratnee?

  • Borrower eligibility for a Rural Development Home Loan Gurantee is based on a number of factors including things like family size, income, and the location of the property. Family Income Limits vary by county. For details on how lenders calculate a borrrowers repayment income, contact us at sfgdemd@de.usda.gov

  • Does the home qualify?

  • Use our online Address Search to find out if the property to be purchased is in an eiglible rural area.
    Loans guranteed by USDA may be used to buy or build a single family residence, includign the cost of land. Land value may not exceed 30% of the total property value.

  • Is there a set maximum loan amount?

    No. A borrower's maximum loan amount is determiend by their ability to repay the loan. Clsoing costs may be include din the loan (no discount points). Appraised value may be exceeded by the amount of the guarantee fee, up to 103.5% LTV.

  • Are their benefits for the borrower?

  • Yes. No down payment required. 29% PITI. PITI plus all other monthly debts may be up to 41% of Repayment Income (waivers allowed). Low guarantee fee of 3.5%. Low refinance fee of 1%. Guarantee fee may be included in the loan as long as LTV does not exceed 103.5% of appraised value.

  • How do I become an approved lender?

    For approval in Pennsylvania, the Lender Agreement and documentation outlined in the Lender Approval Checklist may be sent directly to: sfgdemd@de.usda.gov.
    For nationwide or multi-state approval, send the Lender Agreement and documentation to the RD National Office.

  • How much paperwork is involved?

    The application process may be completed online using a lender's standard forms and the Guaranteed Underwriting System (GUS), free for approved lenders.
    Credit scores of 640 or higher merit streamlined credit documentation. No PMI or MIP required.

  • How long does approval usually take?

    Home loan guarantee applications are processed in the order received. Depending on the time of the month, approval typically takes three-four business days depending on the volume of applications received.

  • Is there a deadline to apply?

    No. Home Loan Guarantee commitments are made year round as long as funding is available. Applications are processed in the order received.

  • Why does Rural Development make home loan guarantees?

    Home Ownership Strengthens Communities. A good home is more than just a roof overhead. Homes are the cornerstone of our communities. They help families achieve economic stability and build savings over time that can help meet needs like education and retirement. Rural Development programs ensure Americans living in rural areas have access to affordable, well-built homes near jobs, schools, healthcare and public services.

    Program Resources

    Contact your local field office