Could You Benefit From the Rural Development Program?
By Holly Welles
Living on a homestead is an adventure. You experience countless good times, but downfalls and issues can come up occasionally.
One common problem centers on how to pay for updates and property renovations. You might’ve put off repairs in the past because they were too expensive to pay for. Because of this issue, you may feel stuck on how to take your homestead to the next level without spending thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, practical solutions are available, and you don’t have to search far to find them. Learn about Rural Development and see what it can do to help you as a homeowner.
What Is State-Based Rural Development?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture runs the Rural Development program for helping low-income homeowners. This initiative offers loans and grants to rural residents who can’t afford to make home repairs or add accessible structures to their dwellings. Grants are open to elderly, low-income individuals, while loans are for all other applicants below the poverty line.
The Rural Development program encompasses several types of property ownership, including multi- and single-family housing and businesses. Applying for single-family benefits could be helpful for you if your homestead falls into the eligible income bracket.
Many people may think the program serves only farmers since it’s a part of the USDA, but it’s open to anyone living in a rural community.
Explore Your Options
Maybe you want to perform repairs on your homestead or build a new structure on your land. Updating your property can be challenging without the necessary funds, but Rural Development can remedy this situation.
The Single-Family Housing Repair program provides loans at a maximum of $20,000 and grants up to $7,000, according to the USDA. Your family must have an income below 50% of the area’s median level to apply.
There are no time limits or deadlines for when to send an application — your local Rural Development office should accept them year-round. If you decide to apply for a loan, you’ll have three options within the USDA’s home loan arrangement:
- Loan guarantees: These guarantees will enable you to receive low interest rates for your mortgage without making a down payment. If you can’t pay your mortgage, the government will cover the rest of the cost. Keep in mind that if you don’t make a down payment, you’ll need to pay mortgage insurance.
- Home improvement loans: This type of funding falls under Rural Development, allowing you to improve your abode with less financial risk. You can also use this money to remove safety and health hazards. If you need a new wheelchair ramp or a stair-climber-compatible staircase, you may be able to obtain them with this loan.
- Direct loans: The USDA issues this money to extremely low-income homeowners. Interest rates fall around 3.5%, and the repayment term can last up to 38 years. You may have to take homeownership education classes to be eligible. This money — along with loan guarantees — will go toward buying a new home rather than fixing an old one.
The Advantages of Rural Development
The USDA has helped numerous communities with this program. In Utah alone, 830 families became homeowners, while 88 more made upgrades to their rural residences. If you want to leave your current homestead for one with more space, you can obtain the money to do so. And you don’t have to spend all your savings on expensive mortgages. Spending so much money in the beginning often leaves new homeowners without funds for other necessities, but that doesn’t have to happen to you.
Start on a maintenance project you’ve meant to complete without worrying about the costs. You can use your loan to pay for various home improvements, including electrical work, plumbing and the installation of storm windows. Your homestead will be safe and clean after the renovations, which is the USDA’s goal. Every family deserves a comfortable place to live without risk to their safety or health.
Improving Your Homestead Affordably
Applying for one of the USDA’s rural initiatives can transform your homestead. What would you do with more money — repair your roof, build a new barn or modernize your interior? Whichever steps you take will make your house a better place to live for everyone involved.
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