Statewide, May 25, 2012 -- Rural Development celebrates home ownership month in June
USDA Rural Development, an agency that has been making home loans since 1949, is celebrating Homeownership Month in June along with the rest of the nation.
“Our home loans have many advantages for families,” said Quinton Robinson, acting state director of USDA Rural Development. “Our guaranteed program continues to set new records in loan volume nation-wide. Our direct program for very low and low income families has loan provisions to help families stay in their homes. We also have repair loans and grants that allow very-low income homeowners to make essential repairs. This includes making homes more energy efficient.”
To obtain a loan, applicants must qualify. For the direct loan program, this includes being under the Low-income limits which vary by county. They must also have a dependable source of income and good credit. If a family has credit issues, staff from Rural Development can inform the applicant and let them know what needs to be done. Many families don’t become homeowners on the first try. But persistence does pay off!
"We work with all kinds of families, including the elderly, single parents, singles, and families of every size and description,” said Ed Peace, director of single family housing programs in Georgia. “We encourage people who are interested to call or visit a Rural Development office or visit our website for more details. We can run a pre-qualification very quickly in the office to let someone know where they stand."
The guaranteed loan program is for moderate income families and the loan actually comes through a local lender. Rural Development can guarantee up to 90 percent of the loan, minimizing the risk for a lender and also saving the home buyer the need for a down-payment. The income limits for this program are higher than the direct loan income limits and can be seen on the website.
“Buying a home is usually a family’s single largest investment. It is a big step and the economic downturn has been frightening for some,” Peace said. “But we are here to help families become successful homeowners. Buying your own home is still a good long term investment and the market is very favorable right now.”
For existing homeowners who qualify, USDA Rural Development has loan and grant funds for home repairs, including modernization to improve energy efficiency. Loans are up to $20,000 at 1% interest and can be spread over 20 years. Grant funds are to remove health and safety hazards and are very limited, but can be made up to $7,500 for people age 62 and over who are under the very low income limits and who prove they cannot repay a loan.
Through the guaranteed loan program, refinance funds are available to lower the interest rate of borrowers who currently have either a direct or guaranteed loan through USDA Rural Development. Another option to keep families in their homes in our direct loan program is the ability of the Agency to defer some payments should a borrower become unemployed. The homeowner must work with the agency by reporting the
problem as soon as possible and before they miss payments. Those payments are added to the end of the loan, buying the homeowner some time to secure another job.
Anyone interested in learning more about USDA - Rural Development housing programs can visit our website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/ga to find local office information.
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