Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Is Country Living Right For You?

For decades homeowners have been lured by big city lights, leaving small towns and rural areas for a more urban experience. The tide may be turning again, and if you are interested in country living, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a deal for you. The terms are extraordinary–no down payment, 100% financing and very low interest rates.

To revitalize rural areas, the USDA started the Rural Development program in 1991. Since then the program has grown to helping 265,000 homeowners and guaranteeing more than $24 billion in loans.

Considering the difficulties in the current housing/lending market, this program has become a very popular method to purchase a house and make a contribution to small town communities.

While the program is aimed at rural development, those areas can be quite close to urban centers. For instance, properties in some parts of St. Charles County and Jefferson County are eligible for this program. Also look to Warren and Lincoln Counties and many other counties from the eastern to western Missouri borders, excluding large urban areas.

Here are the details:
  • Properties must be located in a rural community with less than 20,000 population, or in open country not closely associated with an urban area.
  • There is no down payment.
  • The property is financed for 100% through traditional, qualified lenders, and the loan is guaranteed by the UDSA program. There is also the possibility of adding closing costs to the loan.
  • Mortgages are issued for a 30-year fixed rate with low interest rates.
  • The program requires moderate income levels with a credit history that shows a reasonable willingness to meet the loan obligations.

These days potential buyers are challenged to think creatively if they want to own a home. Going outside the normal process can bring a homeowner to a new lifestyle, a sense of pride in home ownership and the satisfaction of succeeding despite the odds.

During the past year, more than 3,000 Missouri households have turned to the USDA Rural Development program, to the tune of $277 million in guaranteed loans. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2-22-09) How about you? Explore the possibilities and find out if country living is in your future.

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