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The Tampa Home You Want May Be Eligible for a USDA Loan

Updated on August 14, 2011

Have you checked if the Tampa home you want can be purchased with a USDA loan? If the home qualifies and you also qualify, you can maximize the cash you have, with the loan program's zero-down payment, gift-for-closing and lower rate features.

In Florida, there are lots of Tampa homes for sale located in places accessible from the center of the city, but are considered rural by the USDA Rural Development.

Of the 67 counties of Florida, 34 counties are totally eligible for the USDA home loan program while 29 counties have both eligible and ineligible areas. It's no wonder that a large number of Florida homes for sale qualify for the USDA loan program.

Photo by USDAgov on Flickr
Photo by USDAgov on Flickr

What Are the Advantages of a USDA Home Loan?

  • Zero down payment
  • No need to buy private mortgage insurance
  • Lower mortgage rates compared to conventional loans, as mortgage lenders give points to the USDA loan guarantee
  • Concessions from the home seller and gifts from relatives can be used to pay the closing costs
  • Closing costs can be rolled into the loan if home appraisal exceeds sales contract price
  • Term is up to 30 years, allowing lower monthly payments
  • Fixed mortgage rate; no increase of monthly payment during the entire life of the loan
  • No cash reserve requirement
  • No minimum credit score, but a credit score of 640 fast-tracks application
  • Non-traditional credit can be used to prove financial capability if there's no conventional credit history
  • Previous homeowners who have not owned a home for a certain period of time can qualify

You May Be Qualified for a USDA Home Loan

You can apply for a USDA home loan if you have the following qualifications:

  • You're one of these: a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident or a qualified alien.
  • You don't currently own a house.
  • Your income does not qualify you to obtain a conventional home loan, but your credit history shows you're a responsible payor and you're able to pay monthly mortgage payments.
  • Your adjusted annual family income does not exceed the household income limit established for your area. Family income includes your gross income as the main applicant and the gross incomes of your co-applicant and other working adults in your family. House adjustments include annual child care expenses.
  • You must occupy the house as your primary residence.
  • You must apply for a home loan with a mortgage lender participating in the USDA Home Loan Guarantee Program.

If you like to check whether your household income qualifies, go to This page will ask specific questions about your income and your household so that it can determine your income eligibility.

The Tampa Home You're Looking at May Be Eligible for a USDA Home Loan

The USDA Rural Development will look at two things to determine if the house you want is eligible:

  • Location of the house
  • Conditions of the house

To see if the location of your desired home is qualified, go to:

On this web page, you’re first required to click Accept, affirming you understand that the accuracy of the eligibility test is not guaranteed, and that the final determination will be made by the USDA Rural Development. You will be prompted to enter the address of the home for sale, including its zip code. Click "Get map." The result will show a map and the statement “This address IS eligible” if it is, or "This address is not located in an eligible area" if it is not.

If you don’t have yet an exact address, just enter Florida and the name of your desired county, and a color-coded map will appear. It will say that the orange-shaded areas are not eligible, so the areas not shaded are eligible. Hurrah, your desired home may be in the unshaded area!

As to the conditions and characteristics of your desired house, the property is eligible if it is:

  • A single-family home, not a multi-unit house; can be new, newly constructed or existing
  • Or a condo or a townhome
  • Or a new manufactured house which is permanently installed and which meets HUD standards and HCFP site and thermal standards
  • Not a fixer-upper
  • Not a mobile home
  • Modest in design and size, although the USDA does not have specific design and size restrictions
  • Structurally and functionally sound and able to pass thorough home inspection
  • Located in a town or city considered by the USDA as a rural area. Rural areas include towns in open country, towns with a population of 10,000 or less, or towns and cities with a population between 10,000 and 25,000 with certain other conditions.
  • For use as a primary residence and not for commercial use

Finding a Tampa Home

Are you looking for a Tampa home for sale? Contact Tampa4U.Com. The real estate professionals here will not rush you into things; they will help you see as many Tampa homes as you want until you find the one you're looking for.

A 3-bedroom 2-bath 2071-sq-ft home in Zephyrhills, Florida, listed for $150,000 with location eligible for a USDA home loan
A 3-bedroom 2-bath 2071-sq-ft home in Zephyrhills, Florida, listed for $150,000 with location eligible for a USDA home loan


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