Get Your Buyer Into a Home with No Money Down

Happy man lifting woman in new house
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Since the mortgage crisis in 2008 and 2009, lenders have become and continue to be much more conservative with their lending practices. For those looking to purchase a home, it's a lot harder to get financing, especially for those with low incomes or have little money for a down payment.

However, there is hope. The Direct Loan Program from the Federal government offers payment assistance and home loan availability for those who meet certain eligibility requirements. The program is designed to help low-income families purchase a single-family home in rural areas. A rural area is typically defined as an area with a population less than 35,000 according to the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture).

Below we highlight the key tenants of the program as laid out on the USDA website.

What the Direct Loan Program Does 

Also known as the Section 502 Direct Loan Program, this program assists low- and very-low-income applicants obtain decent, safe and sanitary housing in eligible rural areas by providing payment assistance to increase an applicant’s repayment ability. Payment assistance is a type of subsidy that reduces the mortgage payment for a short time. The amount of assistance is determined by the adjusted family income.

Who Can Apply for the Program

A number of factors are considered when determining an applicant’s eligibility for Single Family Direct Home Loans. At a minimum, applicants interested in obtaining a direct loan must have an adjusted income that is at or below the applicable low-income limit for the area where they wish to buy a house, and they must demonstrate a willingness and ability to repay debt. Applicants must:

  • Be without decent, safe and sanitary housing
  • Be unable to obtain a loan from other resources on terms and conditions that can reasonably be expected to meet
  • Agree to occupy the property as your primary residence
  • Have the legal capacity to incur a loan obligation
  • Meet citizenship or eligible noncitizen requirements
  • Not be suspended or debarred from participation in federal programs

Eligible Properties

Properties financed with direct loan funds must:

  • Generally be 2,000 square feet or less
  • Not have a market value in excess of the applicable area loan limit
  • Not have in-ground swimming pools
  • Not be designed for income producing activities


Borrowers are required to repay all or a portion of the payment subsidy received over the life of the loan when the title to the property transfers or the borrower is no longer living in the dwelling. Applicants must meet certain income eligibility requirements for a direct loan, and you'll need to check the USDA website to determine your state's requirement.

How the Funds Can Be Used

In addition to using the loan proceeds to purchase a home in a rural area, the funds can also be used to repair, renovate, or relocate an existing home.

Financial Details of the Loan

As stated earlier, there is no down payment required, but you must have certain asset limits meaning you can't too much in savings or assets. Otherwise, you'll need to use a portion of those assets for the down payment if the value of your assets exceeds the limit.

The term of the mortgage is typically 33 years. The interest rate on the loan is based on current market rates, but with the payment assistance program can be adjusted to as low as 1% depending on the applicant's financial situation.

The Section 502 Direct Loan Program helps families who truly have no other way to make affordable homeownership a reality. If you're looking to buy a home, check out the USDA rural loan program to see if you qualify. If you're a real estate agent and want to be a hero for a buyer who qualifies, show them this program!