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What Are USDA Loans?

USDA loans are mortgage loans that are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. At West Coast Veterans, we're proud to offer these loans to our customers. They're designed to make homeownership accessible to individuals in rural and semi-rural areas who otherwise might not qualify for traditional home loans.

History of USDA Loans

The USDA farm loan programs originated in 1937 as part of the late New Deal efforts to address problems of the Great Depression (farmdoc daily, March 4, 2021). It was part of the USDA's Rural Development mission, with the primary goal being to encourage rural development and improve the quality of life in rural areas. As a lender with a keen focus on veterans and rural communities, West Coast Veterans is proud to be part of this long-standing tradition.

Types of USDA Loans

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USDA Direct Loans

At West Coast Veterans, we understand that not all households have the same income levels. That's why we offer USDA Direct Loans, designed specifically for low-income households. These loans are provided directly by the USDA and often come with terms more favorable than those of conventional loans. This program can make a significant difference for families who are low income borrowers might otherwise struggle to secure a mortgage.

USDA Guaranteed Loans

Guaranteed loans are the most common type of USDA loan. They're offered by private lenders but are guaranteed by the USDA. This guarantee means that we, as the lender, are protected if the borrower defaults. The security provided by this guarantee allows us to offer these loans to a wider range of customers.

USDA Home Improvement Loans

As a homeowner, you might find yourself needing to make necessary repairs or improvements to your home. That's where USDA Home Improvement Loans come in. They're designed to help homeowners like you manage the costs of maintaining and improving your home, ensuring it remains a safe and comfortable place for you and your family.

How USDA Loans Work

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USDA Loan Eligibility

Eligibility for a USDA guaranteed loan program, is primarily based on income and the property's location. To be eligible, the home must be located in an area classified as rural by the USDA. Moreover, the borrower's income cannot exceed certain limits of guaranteed loan program. At West Coast Veterans, we're always ready to help you determine your eligibility and guide you through the process.

USDA Home Loan Limits

While there is no set limit to the amount of money you can borrow with a USDA loan, the amount is generally determined by your ability to repay the loan. We work closely with our clients to help them understand their borrowing limits and ensure they're getting a loan that fits their financial situation.

USDA Loan Mortgage Insurance

Just like many other loan programs, USDA loans require mortgage insurance. This is a protective measure designed to cover the lender, in this case, the USDA, if a borrower defaults on the loan. With USDA loans, borrowers pay an upfront guarantee fee and an annual fee. The upfront fee is typically rolled into the loan amount, while the annual fee is paid monthly. Despite these additional costs, USDA loans often still offer lower monthly payments compared to other loan types. We'll help you understand these costs and how they fit into your overall financial plan.

Income Requirements for USDA Loans

Income requirements are a critical aspect of USDA loan eligibility. To qualify, your household income cannot exceed a certain limit set by the USDA. These limits vary by location and the size of your household. Furthermore, you must demonstrate stable and dependable income typically for at least 24 months. It's important to remember that not only the borrower's income but the income of all household members is considered in this calculation. At West Coast Veterans, our loan officers are well-versed in these and other requirements, and can help you determine whether your income aligns with USDA loan eligibility criteria.

Benefits of USDA Loans

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One of the key benefits of USDA loans is their affordability. They often offer lower interest rates and require no down payment, making them a more affordable purchase option for many buyers. This affordability can be a game-changer for many rural and suburban families looking to own their homes.


Because USDA loans are guaranteed, lenders say they are often more accessible to borrowers who might not qualify for a conventional loan. This guarantee allows us to serve a broader range of customers, including those who may have faced challenges securing a traditional mortgage. Washington has a lot of rural property, even outside of the metro areas, so many people are surprised when they learn that this is an option for the house they're looking at.


USDA loans can be used for a variety of purposes. Whether you're purchasing a new home or looking to make some much-needed home improvements, a USDA loan can provide the financial flexibility you need. We're here to help you explore your options and find the loan that best suits your needs.

Drawbacks of USDA Loans

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Geographic Restrictions

One of the main drawbacks of USDA loans is that they are only available in eligible rural areas and certain suburban areas. As a lender based in Lacey, WA, we understand that this geographic limitation may not suit everyone's needs.

Income Limits

There are also income limits to qualify for a USDA loan. While these limits ensure the loans are assisting those who need them the most, they can limit their availability to certain eligible borrowers. However, at West Coast Veterans, we offer a range of loan options and are confident we can help you find the right fit for your financial situation.

USDA Home Loan Closing Costs

Closing costs are an often-overlooked part of the homebuying process. They include a variety of fees and expenses, such as appraisal fees, title insurance, and loan origination fees. For USDA loans, these closing costs can typically range from 1% to 3% of the loan amount. However, it's important to note that some of these costs can be rolled into the loan, alleviating the need for up-front payment. At West Coast Veterans, we prioritize transparency and will work with you to fully explain and navigate these costs. We're committed to ensuring that there are no surprises, and that you feel confident and informed at every step of the home buying journey.

How to Apply for a USDA Loan

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Pre-approval Process

The pre-approval process for a USDA loan is similar to that of other loans. It involves a review of your credit history, income, assets, and other financial information. At West Coast Veterans, we strive to make this process as smooth as possible for our customers, providing guidance at every step.

Application Process

The application process involves submitting the necessary paperwork and working with a lender to finalize the loan. At West Coast Veterans, we are committed to making this process as easy and stress-free as possible. Our knowledgeable team is always ready to assist you, answer your questions, and guide you to successful homeownership.


While USDA loans are not for everyone, they can be a great option for those living in rural areas, low income individuals or for those who might not qualify for traditional loans. With their benefits of lower interest rates, no down payment, and flexibility, they provide a unique opportunity for homeownership. However, potential borrowers should also consider the drawbacks, such as geographical restrictions and income limits.

At West Coast Veterans, we're here to help you navigate these considerations and make the best decision for your unique circumstances. Contact us to explore your options and learn more about USDA home loans in Washington state.


1. What is the primary purpose of USDA loans?

USDA loans were created to support home ownership in rural and certain suburban areas where traditional financing might not be available. At West Coast Veterans, we're proud to offer these loans to help promote development in these areas.

2. Can I use a USDA loan to purchase a home in a city?

Typically, USDA loans are limited to properties located in areas classified as rural or suburban by the USDA. However, we encourage you to speak with one of our loan officers who can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances.

3. Do USDA loans require a down payment?

No, one of the major advantages of USDA loans is that they do not require a down payment. This makes them a more accessible financing option for many individuals and families.

4. How do I know if I'm eligible for a USDA loan?

Eligibility is based on income, creditworthiness, and the location of primary residence on the property. Our loan officers at West Coast Veterans can help determine your eligibility and guide you through the process.

5. Can I use a USDA loan for home improvements?

Yes, there are specific USDA home improvement loans designed to help homeowners make necessary repairs or improvements to their home in Washington. We can help you explore these options at West Coast Veterans.