USDA to reduce Guarantee and Annual Fees

2014-09-03_usdaEffective October 1, 2016, the upfront guarantee fee and annual fee (paid monthly) will be reduced with USDA mortgages. This new fee structure will take place until September 30, 2017, the end of the fiscal year for USDA.

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USDA Upfront Guarantee Fee Increase

2014-09-03_usdaUSDA has increased the upfront funding fee (aka “upfront guarantee fee”) by an additional 0.75 percent as of October 1, 2015.  From USDA:

On October 1, 2015 the upfront guarantee fee for purchase and refinance loans will increase from 2 percent to 2.75 percent.  The annual fee will remain at 0.50 percent for purchase and refinance loans.  This change is necessary to maintain the program’s operational cost structure, which requires no congressional subsidy support to offset credit costs.

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USDA Income Limits – Updated!

USDA has released new income limits effective April 1, 2015. USDA offers a no-down payment mortgage program which is available in rural areas (typically a town with population of 10,000 or less). USDA does not have loan limits, the program is limited by household income and if the property is in a USDA designated location.

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Changes to USDA Mortgages

2014-09-03_usdaUSDA offers mortgages with no down payment for homes that are located in designated rural areas to borrowers who meet household income limits. The mortgage rates are very competitive and the mortgage insurance (technically called “guarantee fees”) are very affordable. It’s truly a great program for those who qualify and are buying a home in rural areas, like Duvall, Enumclaw or Anacortes.

Recently, USDA issued Handbook 3555 with updated regulations for USDA mortgages. Here are just a few of the changes:

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USDA Income Limits for Washington State

USDA has published updated income limits for their zero down mortgage program which is available in rural areas. Other mortgage programs, like FHA or conventional, has loan limits which limits availability. USDA does not have loan limits, the program is restricted by household income. 

USDA offers a government backed program that allows zero down payment on homes that are in a designated rural community for families earning less than a certain income. A majority of Washington State single family residences (homes and condos) qualify…of course if you live in metropolitan areas like Seattle or Bellevue, odds are your home will not. However, if you’re considering areas like Duvall, parts of Maple Valley, Vashon or Bainbridge Island, it may qualify for zero down financing.

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USDA back up and running

usdaUSDA, which offers zero down loans for homes located in designated rural areas, was effectively shuttered during the government shutdown. Once the shutdown was over, USDA had a delay in getting their cogs moving at full speed. We’ve received word that USDA is back to “normal”.

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NAR fighting to keep current boundaries for USDA Zero Down Loans

There’s just 10 days remaining before the boundaries determining eligible properties for USDA financing are set to change unless Congress takes action. I shared with you USDA had posted the “future” boundaries on their website back in April. 

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Reader Question: Can Closing Cost be financed with a VA Loan?

I received this email from one of our subscribers:

 ”…with a VA mortgage,  can you finance buyer closing costs in excess of the purchase price (e.g. not ask for seller financing contributions, but just borrow them in excess of the purchase price)”

With a VA mortgage, the buyers closing cost cannot be financed, with exception to the VA funding fee, regardless of the appraised value.

The VA loan amount is limited to the purchase price, appraised value or VA county loan limit (or VA jumbo loan amount)*, whichever is less.

*NOTE: VA does not set actual loan limits on counties. They do set a limit as to their maximum guarantee (meaning zero down financing). In the greater Seattle/King-County area, the loan limit for zero down financing is currently $500,000. Click here for a complete list of VA loan amounts per county.  VA loan amounts exceeding $500,000 in the Seattle/King County area are considered VA Jumbos and will require some down payment depending on the difference between the sales price and county loan limit. 

USDA loans, on the other hand, will allow for buyers closing cost to be financed IF the appraised value is higher than the sales price. The loan amount is limited to the appraised value and must be applied to bona fide closing cost.

USDA loans are also zero down programs and are only eligible in specific designated rural areas, like Snoqualmie, Carnation or Duvall, and to borrowers who meet certain household income limits. 

Sellers can contribute towards closing cost for both of these mortgage programs and currently, low mortgage rates are often paired with enough rebate pricing to cover a majority of the closing cost.

Thanks for your question!