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Florida USDA Mortgage Calculator: Here's how to CORRECTLY calculate a USDA monthly paymentSo, how do you CORRECTLY calculate a USDA payment?  Unfortunately, many USDA mortgage calculators have not been designed to handle USDA specifics and thus end up providing inaccurate numbers. As such, today’s video reviews exactly what should be calculated in a USDA monthly payment.

Plus, you can use our USDA Mortgage Calculator anytime! The calculator is to the right if you are on desktop, or towards the bottom of the page on mobile.

For more USDA loan details you can download our FREE reportYour USDA Blueprint for Success. It provides an overview of the USDA home loan process, eligibility requirements, and much more!

Calculating your USDA Monthly Payment

When trying to stay within budget, accuracy is critical!  As a result, it is important to calculate a USDA payment properly because this allows you to stay within your price range while looking for homes.  Therefore, the following should be included:

1. Property Taxes and Insurance

Property taxes and insurance are used to determine qualifying ratios and monthly housing expenses, but they can often be overlooked in calculations. If you are unsure about property tax estimates, it’s best to check with your local property tax collector. They can be a great resource to help with these questions.

2. Principal and Interest

The principal part of your payment goes towards paying down the loan balance. The interest is the cost paid for borrowing your loan.

Remember, interest rates change daily and multiple factors contribute to your interest rate calculation. Please give us a call if you have any specific rate and payment scenario questions.

3. USDA Guarantee Fee and Monthly Premium

USDA home loans require 2 separate fees:

  1. USDA Guarantee Fee:  a one-time charge of 1.00% that is financed into the final loan amount.
  2. USDA Monthly Premium: .35% is calculated every month as a part of your monthly payment.

USDA mortgage calculator FloridaUSDA Mortgage Calculator

Here’s how to use our USDA Mortgage Calculator:

  1. Type in your purchase price.
  2. USDA Guaranteed loan terms are for 30 years.
  3. Select your interest rate. Remember, that they do change daily.
  4. Input your estimated annual property taxes.
  5. Input your estimated annual homeowner’s insurance premium. Please note, property taxes and insurance will vary from property to property.
  6. Review your total estimated USDA monthly housing expense and make sure your payment is within budget!

Based on the numbers selected, our USDA Loan Calculator automatically factors both the USDA Guarantee Fee and the monthly premium into the housing expense estimate listed.

Please note: our calculator is for estimating purposes only, minimum credit conditions will apply on all loans. In turn, this is not a Good Faith Estimate nor a commitment to lend.

Give it a try, or feel free to forward it to anyone who may benefit! The calculator is to the right if you are on desktop, or towards the bottom of the page on mobile.

Learn what it means to have the strength and experience of a USDA Approved Lender working for your benefit. Just call or email to discuss your scenario, and let us show you the “Metroplex” difference!

(800)806-9836 Ext 280

P.S. Don’t forget to download Your USDA Blueprint for Success. This guide is complementary and designed to walk you through the USDA qualifying process step-by-step.

Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender

What happens if your qualifying budget needs a little boost in order to qualify for a home that seems to be just out of reach?  What if you were just denied for a loan because your USDA debt-to-income ratios were too high?

In these situations, a USDA Debt Ratio Waiver can help, and in today’s video, I’ll explain the factors needed in order to increase your USDA qualifying ability.

And don’t forget, we are known for keeping Realtors and homebuyers updated through each step of the process from pre-qualification to closing along with one easy point of contact.

(800)806-9836 X280

How can a USDA Debt Ratio Waiver increase your sales price? Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender List

As a starting point, your debt-to-income ratios (debt ratios) are calculated by dividing your new mortgage payment (housing expense) against your monthly gross income and also by dividing your total monthly debt payments by that same income.

Now, the housing portion of your debt ratios are referred to as your PITI payment and include monthly amounts for items such as your principal and interest, taxes, insurance, etc., while your total debt ratio consists of that housing expense plus additional monthly debt such as any auto loans, credit cards, or student loan payments.

Also, USDA published guidelines allow 29% for housing and 41% for your total expenses (29/41), but expanded ratios of up to 32% for housing and 44% for total (32/44) are available provided that:

The qualifying credit score of all applicant(s) is 680 or greater, and one of the following compensating factors is identified on a purchase transaction:Sebring FL USDA Loans

  • The proposed PITI payment is equal to or less than the applicant’s current verified housing expense for the past 12 months which can be verified through sources such as an eligible verification of rent, credit report, or 12 months of canceled checks; or
  • Mortgage reserves are funds that are available after closing and provided at least 3 months of PITI reserves can be verified from an eligible source, this can be used as a compensating factor, but remember cash on hand is not eligible; or
  • If all employed applicants have been continuously employed with their current primary employer for a minimum of 2 years, but this is not an eligible factor for applicants that are self-employed.

Additionally, because Debt Ratio Waivers are only applicable on manually underwritten loans, make sure your lender is able to work with USDA manual underwriting files for those loans that do not receive a GUS Accept.

In summary, don’t get pulled into the weeds on the details, just understand that by having at least a 680 score and meeting one of the factors we discussed, this can provide for an immediate boost to your qualifying ability, but make sure you are working with a USDA Approved Lender that truly understands how to maximize USDA qualifying guidelines.

We realize USDA qualifying guidelines can be complicated, but that is where we step in to help.  My team is built to help walk homebuyers through the USDA process step by step.

Just simply call or email to discuss your scenario, schedule a convenient callback time, or complete our 1-2-3 online pre-qualifier to get started.

(800)806-9836 X280

I want everyone to make it a great day, and look forward to seeing you right here for the next tip of the week!

What to do when qualifying for a mortgage with a private road?Once you have found the perfect home, what should you do if the property is located on a private road? How can a private road affect your mortgage approval?

Thus, today’s video will discuss what to do when the property is located on a private road, the important steps to take to help secure your financing, and explain the private road requirements of USDA, VA, FHA, and Conventional loans.

Since we are comparing different loan types, you should also download our FREE Comparison Chart which compares USDA, VA, FHA, and Conventional loans on one convenient chart side by side!

Private Road Financing – 3 Steps to remember

The major distinction between a public road and a private road is that a private road is maintained at the expense of the individual and not the public. However, do NOT assume that the road is classified as private just because it may be dirt or unpaved. In fact, many counties have a variety of classifications for road types and it’s always best to make the extra call and double-check.

In turn, no matter the loan type, follow these three steps when the property you are interested in is located on a private road:

USDA Private Road Requirements in FloridaStep 1

Call your local county roads & bridges department to confirm the exact type of road classification.

Step 2

If a private road, then make sure that the lender, bank, or broker handling the mortgage is experienced with private roads and can properly determine what programs are available.

Step 3

If required, follow up with the closing attorney or title company handling the transaction to help determine the following:

  • Are there recorded easements?
  • Is there a recorded maintenance agreement? This may be required depending on the type of mortgage. See below.

Special Requirements

Once the steps above are completed, it is vital to note the requirements for each loan type:

  • Conventional Loans: Fannie Mae will require a private road maintenance agreement, but Freddie Mac guidelines do not. Check with your lender if they have the ability to work with Freddie Mac programs.
  • VA Loans: require a recorded maintenance agreement, but this requirement may be waived with VA approval.
  • FHA Loans: do NOT require a private road maintenance agreement.
  • USDA Loans: do NOT require a private road maintenance agreement.
  • However, additional criteria will apply for both FHA and USDA loan – call my office for more details!

In summary, NEVER assume a road’s classification or program requirements. Even if the property is located on a dirt road, it does not automatically mean that it is a private road.

Whether it be USDA, FHA, VA, or Conventional loans just call or email to discuss your scenario and let us show you the “Metroplex” difference!

(800)806-9836 Ext. 280

Lastly, download our FREE Loan Comparison Chart to see the basic features of USDA, FHA, VA, or Conventional loans conveniently compared to each other. Download it now!

USDA loans for properties on a private road in FL, TX, AL, TN

How fast are you able to close a USDA loan in FL, TX, TN, or AL?Don’t let a lender hold up your closing because they say the “USDA is out of money”!

USDA’s fiscal year runs from October 1st until September 30th and at the beginning of each fiscal year, the USDA Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program has a temporary lapse in funding. As a result, we are often asked if a home buyer’s USDA approval time will be affected.

Today’s video will break down exactly what happens during this short window of time and explain why you should not worry, despite what you may hear from other lenders or loan officers.

Also, don’t forget to download our FREE USDA Blueprint for Success. This fantastic educational resource is great for real estate professionals and home buyers alike.

USDA Temporary Lapse in Funding – What are the facts?

The USDA fiscal year ends on September 30th and funding for the guaranteed loan program is not available for a short period of time… approximately 2 weeks.

However, this does not mean that that the USDA program is stopped in its tracks. In fact, during the temporary lapse in funding, Rural Development will continue to issue Conditional Commitments “subject to the availability of commitment authority” for purchase and refinance transactions.

USDA Approval Times – Know who your lender is!

Tampa Florida USDA Approved Lender List

So, what does this temporary lapse in funding mean to home buyers and realtors? Quite simply, it’s lender specific.

Depending on how a lender is set up to do business, this will determine if they are able to continue processing and closing USDA loans without interruption.

The great news is that here at Metroplex”, we continue to accept, process, and fund USDA loans without delay!

Thus, your USDA approval time does not change.

Timeline of key events

Here is an overview of what to expect as a home buyer during this time of the year:

  1. As a USDA approved lender,  we will continue to submit applications for purchase and refinance loan transactions.
  2. USDA Rural Development will process, approve, and issue conditional commitments for eligible applications.
  3. Upon receipt of the USDA conditional commitment, loans will continue to close as scheduled.
  4. When funds become available, USDA Rural Development reserves funds for issued conditional commitments.
  5. Once these loans are obligated, the loan closing is verified and all conditions of the Conditional Commitment are met, USDA Rural Development will process the lender’s Loan Note Guarantee request.

Remember, this is only temporary, and with the right lender, like Metroplex, there are no loan delays.

Lastly, if you are hearing rumors about the USDA being currently out of money or having loan delays, then beware of your lender. Might I suggest our 2nd opinion service? It’ complementary and is great for both pre-qualifications and loans in progress. That way, with our expertise and experience, you’re mind will be put at ease.

Just call or email to discuss your scenario and let us show you the “Metroplex” difference!

(800)806-9836 Ext. 280

Don’t forget, you can download any one of our FREE USDA resources here!

Highlands County, Sebring, Avon Park, Lake Placid USDA Loans

USDA Property EligibilityWhen you hear about USDA loan benefits, such as 100% financing or the ability to finance closing costs, it can be easy to focus on the financial advantages and then forget about USDA property eligibility.

USDA loans allow for no down payment flexibility and provide financing fuel for rural communities throughout the nation as long as they follow specific property requirements. Today, we’ll take a deep dive into USDA eligibility and what makes a property suitable.

You can also download our FREE USDA Blueprint for Success. This guide walks you through the entire USDA process, step by step!

USDA Eligible Property

1. Qualified Area

search usda property eligibilityFirst, the property must be located in a USDA eligible area. You can search that it is using this USDA search tool.

Please note, eligibility areas can change annually. Thus, it’s important to use the most up-to-date USDA search to determine if the home is in a USDA area.

2. Eligible Property Types

Remember, USDA loans do NOT have set loan limits like FHA or Conventional loans. Thus, there is no maximum sales price. This opens up a wider range of properties provided they’re in a USDA eligible area. These property types can include:

  • Pre-existing homes
  • Short sales and foreclosed homes
  • USDA condo eligibilityCondos
    • A condominium may be eligible pending the project itself can be approved or already has an existing type of approval from another agency such as FHA, VA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac.
  • New Construction
    • For a home that is to be constructed, is under construction, or an existing dwelling that is less than one year old and has never been occupied.

3. Property Use

It’s also important to note, that a USDA loan requires the home to serve as the primary residence and not be income-producing. However, this does NOT exclude properties with acreage or barns as long as they are no longer in commercial use.

USDA Approved Lender

As you can see, the USDA loan program has a wide variety of property types and can be extremely powerful. As an approved USDA lender, we have a proven track record of success under this unique program and are happy to help!

Simply call or email to discuss your scenario and let us show you the “Metroplex” difference!

(800)806-9836 Ext. 280

Let’s make it a great day, and I’ll see you here for the next tip of the week!

3 USDA Financing Facts Every Seller Should KnowSellers can sometimes be hesitant to accept USDA financing for their property, but this is often due to common misconceptions about the USDA program. With that being said, today’s video focuses on 3 important USDA Financing facts that every seller and Realtor should know.

Plus, for more vital USDA facts please download our FREE guide, USDA Blueprint for Success. It’s a great tool for sellers, realtors, and home buyers alike!

USDA Financing Facts

1. USDA loans do NOT have a maximum sales price.

While many may automatically assume that higher sale prices do not qualify for a USDA loan, this is simply not true, because the maximum USDA loan amount is based on the buyer’s qualifying ability, not a set loan limit like FHA or Conventional.

USDA financing family2. There are NO loan related costs that a seller must pay on a USDA loan.

While these types of charges are often referred to as “non-allowable” costs, remember that there are no required costs that a seller must pay on a USDA loan. The only costs that a seller must pay are for those agreed upon within the sales contract.

3. USDA loans ALLOW for in-ground swimming pools! 

Even though many have bad memories from previous restrictions, USDA guidelines under the Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program permit in-ground swimming pool properties.

Facts vs Myths

As you can see, these USDA financing facts eliminate common myths about the USDA program and allow for a seller to feel comfortable when accepting a buyer’s offer who is qualified for a USDA loan.

Thus, as an approved USDA lender, we understand the USDA program and how to maximize its qualifying flexibility.

Simply call or email to discuss your scenario and let us show you the “Metroplex” difference!

(800) 806-9836 Ext. 280

USDA Blueprint for SuccessPlus, download our FREE USDA guide, and it will walk you through the USDA process step by step.

Make it a great day and I look forward to seeing you for the next tip of the week!

Does a USDA loan require Private Mortgage Insurance?There are key terminology differences between USDA, FHA, and Conventional mortgages. This includes the topic of Private Mortgage Insurance.

In today’s video, I will break down the differences in terminology, compare how various costs are calculated, and explain whether or not USDA loans have PMI or anything similar.

Please also download our USDA Blueprint for Success. This free guide is a great resource to walk you step by step through the USDA qualifying process.

What is Private Mortgage Insurance?

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) exists on conventional loans with less than 20% down payment. Additionally, PMI has a variety of payment options and how it can be structured.

Also, under the Homeowner’s Protection Act, PMI can be terminated either by request or automatically when the balance is paid down to or below 80% of the original home value.

Does a USDA loan require Private Mortgage Insurance?FHA Mortgage Insurance Premium

Now, FHA loans have what’s called mortgage insurance premium (MIP). It’s a monthly fee that is required for the life of the loan when you have less than 10% down payment.

On the other hand, with a down payment of 10% or greater, the MIP will be removed after 11 years.

USDA Annual Fee

In the case of a USDA Loan, they don’t technically have private mortgage insurance. Instead, they have an annual fee.

Even though the USDA annual fee is for the life of the loan, it’s over 2X lower than FHA mortgage Mortgage Insurance!

Here’s an example to help show you the difference:

FHA: .85% X $100,000 = $850 / 12 = $70.83 per month

USDA: .35% X $100,000 = $350 / 12 = $29.17 per month

Better Borrowing Costs

Does a USDA loan require Private Mortgage Insurance?

USDA loans allow for no down payment and they have better borrowing costs when compared to FHA loans.

Plus, don’t forget that USDA closing costs can be financed within the loan when the appraised value is higher than your purchase price. This does not occur with FHA loans.

Whether it be FHA, VA, USDA, or Conventional – Just call or email to discuss your scenario and let us show you the “Metroplex” difference.

800-806-9836 Ext. 280

I want everyone to make it a great day, and look forward to seeing you right here for the next tip of the week!

P.S. – Go here to download our FREE USDA Blueprint for Success!

How much can a seller pay towards VA loan closing costs in Florida?Unlike USDA loans which allow up to 6% of the sales price towards seller paid closing costs, VA loans can provide for even higher flexibility and have unique guidelines.

However, this topic also brings quite a bit of confusion, and in today’s video, I am going to walk you through the VA specifics and explain how much a seller can actually pay towards VA loan closing costs.

Plus, please download our FREE Loan Comparison chart and see the features of VA, USDA, FHA, and Conventional Loans compared to each other in one simple chart. In it, you’ll discover maximum financing amounts, fees, waiting periods, and more. Download it now!

The VA Loan Closing Cost Myth

Unfortunately, there is a myth passed on by lenders that the maximum the VA will allow a seller to pay is 4% towards closing costs. However, today, we will be busting that myth! Let’s dive into the details.

As a starting point, VA guidelines define a seller concession as:

“a seller concession is anything of value-added to the transaction by the builder or seller for which the buyer pays nothing additional and which the seller is not customarily expected or required to pay or provide”

How much can a seller pay towards VA loan closing costs in Florida

Additionally, VA guidelines state the following with regards to seller concessions:

“any seller concession or combination of concessions which exceeds four percent of the established reasonable value of the property is considered excessive, and unacceptable for VA-guaranteed loans.”

Many lenders mistakenly conclude from this statement that there is a 4% cap on what a seller can pay in total.

However, VA provides further instruction as follows:

“Do not include normal discount points and payment of the buyer’s closing costs in total concessions for determining whether concessions exceed the four percent limit.”

Thus, the 4% limit does not include payment of the buyer’s closing costs and only applies to specific charges. Here are common examples of closing costs that are not included within the 4% limit:

  • title company charges
  • property surveys
  • recording fees
  • loan charges

What can be paid through VA seller concessions?

VA guidelines include the following examples of what could be paid through seller concessions:

  • payment of the buyer’s VA funding fee
  • prepayment of the buyer’s property taxes and insurance
  • gifts such as a television set or microwave oven
  • payment of extra points to provide permanent interest rate buydowns
  • provision of escrowed funds to provide temporary interest rate buydowns, and
  • pay off of credit balances or judgments on behalf of the buyer.

As you can see, a seller can actually pay off a veteran’s credit balances (credit card balances, auto loan balances, etc.) at time of closing through seller concessions!

VA approved lender in Tampa FLorida or Sebring FloridaIn summary, if you have a veteran who wants to purchase a home with no down payment, a VA loan program provides flexibility that can help them achieve homeownership. Plus, they can reduce their costs by using seller concessions.

Remember, as a VA Approved Lender, we offer in-house underwriting and are here as a resource to help our veterans walk through the VA qualifying process.

Plus, feel free to download our Loan Comparison Chart. This chart shows the financing amounts, fees, waiting periods, and more for VA, USDA, FHA, and Conventional Loans. You can download it here!

Simply call or email to discuss your scenario and let us show you the “Metroplex” difference!

800-806-9836 Ext. 280

As always, I want everyone to make it a great day and I look forward to seeing you next week!

What NOT to do when trying to get USDA Mortgage ApprovalLast week we discussed five important things to do during the mortgage application process. Instead, today, we will review what NOT “To Do” while trying to gain USDA mortgage approval.

The following video will help keep your financing from falling off the tracks and provide important USDA mortgage approval details.

However, before we get started, don’t forget to take advantage and download our USDA Blueprint for Success with the link below.

This free guide is designed to walk you through the process step-by-step and is a great tool for both homebuyers and Realtors alike.

USDA Mortgage Approval: What NOT “To Do”

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Meaning, many of the mortgage qualifying issues that occur are unfortunately self-inflicted. That’s why the following list includes common mistakes that should be avoided when applying for a USDA loan.

Do NOT Apply for Credit

It can be common to receive invitations for credit cards, furniture stores, electronics,  and on and on. Simply put, do NOT respond to these offers because any additional inquires can be a factor towards lowering your credit score.

USDA minimum credit score requirements are critical and you don’t want to put yourself in a position for your loan application to be denied.

Be Cautious with Charge-offs and Collections

While this may sound like the complete opposite of what you should do, whenever you make a payment on a negative account (depending on the date it last reported to the credit bureaus) the recent payment updates the most recent activity. In turn, an old collection can turn into a new problem.

Sometimes paying off negative accounts may be a requirement of your loan approval, but that is not always the case. With our credit expertise, we can provide the pros and cons before you make a collection or charge-off payment.

Do NOT Increase Credit Card Balances

Increasing credit card balances is one of the fastest ways to bring your credit score down. Thus, make sure to NOT go on a spending spree and keep an eye on those credit card balances.

Do NOT Close a Credit Card Account

Closing out a credit card can have an immediate negative impact on your credit score because you are eliminating available credit. This can impact the very important ratio between your credit card amount owed and your available credit limit.

Do NOT Make Unexplained Deposits into your Bank Accounts

Underwriting guidelines are very strict when it comes to verifying deposits and the source of where they come from. Regardless of the amounts, be prepared to document any deposits including tough to verify cash deposits.


While this is not an all-inclusive list of what NOT “To Do” during the USDA mortgage approval process, just remember to be proactive! Ask questions so you can know how any decision can impact your financing.

If you have a qualifying question or a loan approval that is experiencing trouble, remember that I started the company way back in 2001. Let our experience be a resource for you!

free USDA mortgage resources800-806-9836 Ext. 280

Plus, you can download any of our FREE USDA Resources here. These ready to download PDFs will answer your pertinent questions.

As always, I want to thank everyone for the continued recommendations and trusting us with all of your mortgage needs.

Five things “To Do” for a successful USDA applicationQualifying for a mortgage, looking at properties, and preparing an offer are all steps that require professional guidance. However, with all of the information available, it can be hard to know what is right and wrong during the USDA application process.

In today’s short video tip, I’ll review five important things “TO DO” for your USDA application in order to keep your dream of homeownership on the right track. Plus, go here and download all of our FREE USDA Resources to help each step of the way!

5 Things “To Do” for a Successful USDA Application

1. Stay current on your existing accounts

If there are late payments on your existing mortgage, car payment, or any other loans that report to the credit bureaus, it could dramatically drop your credit score. This can eliminate your ability to purchase a home.

Just one 30-day late payment has the ability to quickly and drastically reduce your credit score.

Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender List2. Maintain appropriate credit card balances

It is very important to make sure that your credit card balances are low in comparison to your credit card limit. In fact, it isn’t the balance that counts, but the ratio of your balance in comparison to your credit limit.

Having credit cards that are at or near their limit can greatly damage your credit score.

3. Make sure medical collections are taken care of

Often, I see a small medical collection that was a result of miscommunication between the insurance company, doctor’s office, and the patient. This can rapidly decrease your credit scores and in some cases can be a reason for loan denial.

Sebring, Avon Park, Lake Placid USDA Loans in Highlands County4. Gather proof of Rental History

When rental history is required, paying by check is a clear way to verify your payment history. While paying by cash or money order may seem convenient, it will not always be an acceptable form of verification by underwriting.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice

As an approved USDA mortgage lender, we are your best resource for details about what actions can help or hinder your loan approval.

If you have any questions or concerns about a financial event you are considering during the loan process, please let us know prior to taking action.

We are here to help you navigate the USDA process and make it as smooth as possible. In fact, we have created several free USDA resources to help you along the way. Plus, you can always call or email to discuss your scenario and let us show you the Metroplex difference!

800-806-9836 Ext. 280



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