Florida USDA interest rates are still low and many homeowners have yet to take advantage of the USDA SFHGLP Pilot refinance program. The application process for the USDA Rural Housing refi is simple and oftentimes can be completed in under 30 minutes. Below we will discuss some of the latest guidelines and advantages of the USDA Pilot refinance program. Homeowners can also find a great list of USDA Refinance FAQ’ here.
- Must Currently Have USDA Loan – in order to be eligible for the USDA refinance program the homeowner MUST currently have a USDA/RD-backed home loan. This means when you originally purchased your home, the USDA loan was done through a USDA-approved lender, mortgage broker or bank. It’s not important what mortgage company originally processed your USDA loan, or who your current loan servicer is – Chase, SunTrust, Regions Bank, Bank of America, etc – these are all ok. If you have a FHA mortgage or Conventional loan there are different refinance programs like the FHA streamline refinance available.
- No Late Payments – You will need to have a clean 12-month payment history to be approved for the USDA refinance program. No payment more than 30 days late over the last year.
- Household Income – Your household income was below the USDA Rural Development limit when you originally obtained your loan. The same applies to the refinance program. Your income for the entire household must STILL be below the USDA income eligibility limit found here.
- Interest Rate Reduction – Your new interest must be at least 1% lower than your current interest rate.
- Occupancy – only primary residence is eligible.
- Loan Term – The new loan term must remain a 30-year fixed term like the original loan.
- Eligible USDA Location – If the home was originally located in a USDA-eligible location according to the approved maps, the home is still eligible regardless of any map updates since the time of purchase. Basically, the homeowner is “grandfathered” in.
- Credit Score – A 620 credit score is needed to be approved. However, interest rates are driven by credit scores – the lowest interest rates are generally given to borrowers with credit scores over 680.
- USDA Guarantee Fee – The current USDA SFHGLP fee is 1% of the loan amount. See our website for the latest USDA fees chart.
- Closing Costs – Closing costs for the USDA Pilot refinance generally run about 3-6% of the loan amount. However, homeowners are permitted to build in (include) their closing costs and guarantee fee into their new USDA loan. So basically no out-of-pocket costs are required to refinance.
- No Cash Out- if you DO have equity built up over the years, you cannot “cash out” any equity. The new loan amount is to include the current loan payoff, plus the USDA guarantee fee, plus closing costs.
- Borrowers – Additional borrowers can be added to the loan with the refinance. However, borrowers cannot be removed unless they are deceased.
- No Equity, No Problem – The USDA refinance program is designed for Florida homebuyers who were hit the hardest during the housing bust. Many FL homeowners do not have the equity needed for traditional refinance programs. The USDA refi program lifts this requirement and does NOT require any equity. So if you are underwater on your home value, no worries as NO appraisal is required.
USDA Mortgage Source serves all of FL & GA- Tallahassee, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Gainesville, Tampa, Riverview, Orlando, Winter Garden, Naples, Sarasota, and Lakeland.
Homebuyers who have questions about the USDA Pilot program should contact us at PH: 800-743-7556. Homeowners can also send in the short Info Request Form on this page for fast service.