The USDA eligibility map is used to check property eligibility, which is one of the two main USDA loan qualification requirements. Therefore, to access USDA loan benefits (including no down payment) property eligibility is mandatory. Fortunately, a very high percentage of the United States is USDA eligible. Very often, whole counties are USDA eligible. Buying in or around large cities may be challenging for USDA buyers. Although, many are surprised by lots of USDA approved areas in and around large cities. Plus, when USDA is not an option, there are usually other low to no down payment options.
Remember, if you haven’t checked out your local area on the USDA eligibility map since June 2018, make sure to review it because the USDA ineligible areas changed for ratified contracts on or after June 4, 2018.
Let us show you a simple, yet comprehensive explanation on how to use the USDA eligibility map.
How to Use the USDA Eligibility Map
If a buyer chooses to buy a home with a USDA loan, it is very beneficial and time-saving to know how to use the USDA eligibility website. Without an understanding of which homes or areas qualify, it could cause significant issues during the home buying process. This is especially true if an ineligible property slips past the real estate agent or even the lender. Then, it gets late in the process where the buyer has spent money on inspections, and the seller’s home is off the market. Furthermore, a buyer may be forced to change loan programs late in the game quickly. Therefore, being a proactive buyer and working with a knowledgeable USDA lender is vital.
Fortunately, the property eligibility search feature of the USDA loan site is quite simple. After a couple of clicks, a visitor can perform two helpful search types on the actual USDA eligibility map.
Let’s start the home search by walking through the USDA eligibility map.
USDA Property Eligibility Search Steps
Click on “Single Family Housing Guaranteed”
Click on the “Accept” property eligibility disclaimer button
Search for a Specific Address
In the top left corner, type a property address & click “Go”
Search General Areas for USDA Eligible and Ineligible Areas
On the left side of the map, use the zoom tool for looking up property in certain areas
Also, the same site may be used for looking up USDA income limits.
How to Read the USDA Eligibility Map
Notice the search results which show 2018 – 2019 Charlotte NC USDA eligible and ineligible areas.
Highly populated areas such as Charlotte NC, Hickory NC, Rock Hill SC, and Concord NC have ineligible areas. USDA ineligible areas are shown as the yellowish tan portions of the map.
But, see how much of the Charlotte suburbs are USDA eligible. Certain pockets around highly populated areas create pockets of eligibility as well. Plus, all of the rural areas are approved.
This example is not zoomed in very close on purpose. This is to compare a wide geographic area and is an excellent start to the home search process.
Next, slide the zoom tool so that the desired area may be viewed in much greater detail. The zoom feature can get down to the street level. Often, the map shows how one side of the road is eligible, and the other is not.
Typically, the USDA eligibility map zoom feature is the best way to start the search. Once the eligible areas are known, a buyer can easily search other sites for homes for sale. Better yet, after USDA loan pre-approval, a realtor can provide and show homes for sale in the area.
Once a property address is known, it is highly advised to type the physical address in the “find your address” field. Keep in mind that a new construction address may not show yet. Therefore, the zoom feature must be used.
Why Buyers Choose USDA Rural Development Guaranteed Loans
So, what’s the big deal with choosing a USDA loan? Primarily, first time and repeat buyers prefer USDA loans for the no down payment feature. Notice it states repeat home buyers! Many believe that 100% financing is reserved solely for first time home buyers.
Conversely, USDA loans are a valuable resource for repeat buyers. It provides advantages for those selling a home with little profit available for down payment. Furthermore, since a buyer could buy another house with no money down, it affords sales proceeds to be used for paying off debts.
USDA Loan Advantages
- 30 year fixed rate (No adjustable rates!)
- No money down purchase
- Lowest mortgage insurance and funding fee among government loans
- Seller may pay up to 6% of the sales price in buyer closing costs
- 620 minimum credit score
- Manual underwriting available
- The minimal time period after a short sale, foreclosure, or bankruptcy
USDA loans provide buyers such a fantastic opportunity in both qualification and affordability. Sounds like something to check out, doesn’t it?