Friday, October 22, 2010

Bellingham USDA Zero Down Home Loan | Helping Whatcom County First Time Homebuyers

One of the little known benefits of buying real estate in Whatcom County is the fact that due to the "rural" location of Bellingham and the surrounding cities, homes in the Whatcom County qualify for the USDA-Rural Development Zero Down Home Loan Program. That means that under the guidelines of this state-backed mortgage program, the borrower is not required to make a down payment nor are they required to have a monthly private mortgage insurance premium.

On a $250,000 home, the savings is two-fold: First, borrowers saves $8,750 in respect to the required FHA down payment (3.5%) and two, borrowers save $183/month in PMI (private mortgage insurance). These two savings make this program a “big win” for first time homebuyers helping them qualify for more home for less money.

There are however three main pre-requisites for qualifying for this program: (1) Borrowers must qualify under the maximum household income cap; (2) The home must be located in a USDA eligible region; and (3) The borrower(s) must have over a 620 credit score (please see Dan Keller, Bellingham USDA Mortgage Banker for information on credit qualifying guidelines and credit repair).

(1) The borrower must not exceed the annual household income requirements (ex. a family of 1-4 must not exceed a household income greater than $74,050 annually.) You may want to refer to the USDA household income worksheet, but I recommend a 3-4 minute phone call to discuss your ‘total household income’ under USDA guidelines.

(2) Second, the borrower must purchase a home in a USDA-RD approved region. In the map below, in the dark orange, you will find the ONLY areas in Whatcom County that are NOT USDA eligible. I have provided a link where you can by-pass the map and type in the physical address to get instant verification – CLICK HERE to verify a USDA eligible address. I always recommend that my clients work with a Realtor that understands the USDA Rural Development Program. From helping you find and locate a USDA eligible home, to understanding the funding and closing process, it is crucial that your Realtor understands this program. There is a Bellingham USDA Real Estate Agent that personally know does a brilliant job serving their USDA customers. His name is Briddick Webb with EXP Realty and he can be reached directly at (360) 920-1218 or

(Please Note: First you need to click “accept” on the USDA page to proceed.)

(3) USDA Credit Score Guidelines. The USDA program is about as “flexible” as any loan program available today. In some cases, borrowers may even qualify with collections, a recent bankruptcy, or no credit history at all. However, in any of those cases, I highly recommend a strong approach to repair and/or build a more stable credit history.

If you are interested, I offer all of my clients a FREE, no obligation pre-mortgage credit analysis to address a clear game-plan for establishing A+ credit and detailing the home buying process.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at or directly at (425) 350-7136.

Some Related Blog Posts You May Enjoy:

Is Now A Good Time To Buy Or Should I Rent?

FHA 203k Rehab Loan - Get Up to $35,000 From The Bank To Buy A "Fixer"

Four Ways To Buy With Zero Down

House Key State Bond - Homebuyer Education: How To Get $10,000 Toward Down Payment