June 28, 2007

USDA Rural Development Loan Program Helps Memphis Mom Buy First Home

Hope Wamsley is going back home, and thanks to the USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Rural Housing Program, she will own instead of rent it.

The Memphis mom recently finalized the purchase of her first home, located at 543 North Adams Street.

It is a homecoming of sorts, as Hope actually spent some time growing up in the house.

“We lived here when I was about nine years old,” she said. “I honestly don’t remember a lot about the house itself, but I have plenty of memories of growing up here.”

Hope and her two-year-old daughter Nevaeh, are enjoying the move to the more spacious residence.

“We had been living in a two-bedroom apartment,” Hope said. “But over those two years we outgrew the place and needed more space.”

Enter the United States Department of Agriculture. The USDA didn’t help Hope buy a farm. Instead the organization’s rural development branch helped the family finance its first home purchase.

Owning your own home is part of the American Dream and the program helped Wamsley learn that obtaining financing may be easier than you once believed. With this program, a conventional lender (bank, savings and loan, mortgage company, etc.) actually makes the loan and Rural Development guarantees repayment of the loan.

“At first, I contacted the property owner to see if the house was available for rent,” Hope stated. “I learned that the owner preferred to sell the house, so I started looking into financing.”

A local realty agent put Hope on the trail of the USDA program, which is allowing her to make a monthly house payment that is very similar to what she expected to be paying in rent. The financing is being provided by Bank Midwest in Kirksville.

Through Rural Development’s Guaranteed Rural Housing Program more individuals and families may be eligible to become homeowners.

The program allows for purchase of a new or existing home with no down payment required in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less.

Some or all the closing costs may also be included in the loan if they are within the appraised value of the home. Loan payments are based on market interest rates with a 30-year fixed term. Both real estate taxes and insurance are escrowed and included as part of the monthly payment.

“The program is so nice,” she said. “It makes it possible to get a house bought. There is no down payment.”

Another major advantage of the Guaranteed Rural Housing Program is that Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is not required. Since Rural Development guarantees are backed by the federal government, they do not require PMI, thus resulting in substantial monthly savings to the homebuyer.

To be eligible for Guaranteed Rural Housing Program financing, applicants must have an adequate and dependable income, be legally able to incur the debt, have an income that does not exceed the moderate income limit for the area, have a satisfactory credit history and have adequate repayment ability.

For example, in some counties, in order to meet the income requirement, a household would need to have an adjusted annual income less than $54,850 for a two-person household, $61,700 for a three person household and $68,550 for a four person household.

The Rural Development staff can provide income figures for any Missouri county.

Buyers must personally occupy the dwelling following the purchase. Dwellings must be structurally sound, functionally adequate, and in good condition. There are no restrictions on the size or cost of the home financed; the amount of the household’s income determines the maximum loan amount. Loans can exceed $200,000 under this program, if the household has adequate repayment ability.

In order to utilize the Guaranteed Rural Housing Program, homebuyers should make application directly with a participating conventional lender. When contacting a lender, interested homebuyers are encouraged to relay to the lender that they are interested in a USDA Guaranteed Rural Housing Loan.

Anyone seeking more information about homeownership financing or any other USDA Rural Development program may visit the Rural Development webpage at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/mo/ or by contacting Daniel R. Niemeyer, Rural Development Manager, by e-mail at dan.niemeyer@mo.usda.gov. You may also visit the office at 2410 S Franklin in Kirksville or call 660-665-3274, ext. 115.

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