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What are the required distances for well and septic on USDA and FHA loans?

Understanding USDA and FHA loan distance requirements between a well and septic are critical when determining eligibility and because it can be common for rural properties to have a well and septic, our topic today discusses the important measurements that need to be accounted for when determining minimum property eligibility for both USDA and FHA loans.

In today’s video, I’ll share the USDA and FHA distance requirements for wells and septic. Watch below and then download our FREE guide USDA Blueprint for Success.  Our Blueprint is designed to walk you through the USDA process step-by-step!

Well and Septic Required Distances for USDA and FHA LoansUSDA and FHA Loans Share the Same Well and Septic Distance Requirements

USDA loans follow FHA HUD Handbook guidelines. This means that USDA and FHA loans share minimum property requirements including the distance requirements for properties with a well and septic.

Below, are the HUD Handbook minimum distance requirements for existing properties with wells and sources of pollution. Please note, the following requirements are for existing properties and not for new construction homes or those on a public water system.

USDA and FHA Well and Septic Distance Requirements:

  • well and septic distances for USDA loans in Florida, Texas, Alabama, and TennesseeA well or septic must be a minimum of 10 feet from the property line.
  • A well must be a minimum of 50 feet from septic.
  • A well must be a minimum of 100 feet from the drain field.
    • The distance may be reduced to 75 feet if allowed by the local authority.
  • If the property is adjacent to a residential property then local well distance requirements prevail.
  • If the property is adjacent to non-residential property or roadway, then there needs to be a well separation distance of at least 10 feet from the property line.
  • The distance requirements of the local authority will prevail if greater than what is stated in the HUD Handbook.

Be Aware of Well and Septic

Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender ListBe aware that distances for well and septic are not customarily calculated until the sales contract is received and the loan application is in process.

Thus, letting us know of any concerns upfront is important for success. Please call (800) 806-9836 Ext. 280 or email if you have any concerns so we can review your case and advise. 

Don’t let the USDA and FHA distance requirements for well and septic overwhelm you… that’s what we are here for! While properties with wells and septic do have extra steps, our expertise is here to help open the door to homeownership!

After filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, many feel homeownership is a dream that is out of their reach. However, in today’s video, I’ll explain how you CAN qualify for a mortgage after Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

In fact, with USDA, FHA, VA, or Conventional loans, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be more flexible than Chapter 7.  Watch the video below, as I explain the differences and qualifying advantages between each program side by side.

Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13

First, let’s review the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy because the type of bankruptcy impacts your future mortgage qualifying process.

  • Chapter 7: You ask the bankruptcy court to discharge most of the debt you owe.
  • Chapter 13: You file a repayment plan with the bankruptcy court to pay back all or a portion of your debts over time.

How soon can you qualify for a mortgage after a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

 Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Once a Chapter 13 bankruptcy has been discharged it’s possible to qualify for a mortgage, but waiting periods vary depending on the mortgage type. Additionally, because of the required repayment period, underwriting guidelines are more flexible with how soon a potential buyer can qualify after discharge.

Here are the standard Chapter 13 bankruptcy qualifying guidelines:

  • Conventional loans under Fannie Mae require a 2 years waiting period from the discharge date.
  • USDA, FHA, and VA Loans will allow financing immediately upon completion of the Chapter 13 repayment plan. This means there is no additional waiting period after the discharge date!

USDA Underwriting Flexibility

When trying to qualify for a USDA loan after Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we have more underwriting flexibility with waiting periods after your discharge has been completed.  It is even possible to qualify for a USDA loan while you are still in the bankruptcy repayment plan!

 Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

It’s possible to qualify for a USDA loan while in Chapter 13 repayment if the following conditions are met:

  1. You are at least 12 months into the plan; and
  2. There have been no late payments; and
  3. The borrower receives written permission from the Bankruptcy Court or Trustee to enter into a mortgage application through a motion to incur debt.

Please note, due to the short time allowed for mortgage qualifying after completion of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, more stringent manual underwriting guidelines may apply.  An additional review will be needed to determine a homeowner’s eligibility.

Qualifying after Bankruptcy

We realize that qualifying for a mortgage after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be complicated, but that’s where my team can step in. Metroplex is built to walk homebuyers through the qualifying process step by step.

We are able to offer specific experience and expertise on how to qualify for a mortgage after a bankruptcy. Please call or email with any questions or scenarios you may have.

Call: (800)806-9836 Ext. 280

Make it a great day, and I look forward to seeing you next week!

How Can You Combine Florida SHIP Funds with a USDA loan?

The goal of Florida SHIP funds is to provide affordable homeownership for first-time homebuyers. They can be used for a variety of purposes, including being combined with a USDA loan. In turn, SHIP funds can help maximize affordability!

Today, we’ll review the basics of Florida SHIP funds and how to combine them with a USDA loan. This helps with closing cost assistance.

Don’t forget, we have a ton of FREE USDA resources here! This includes our USDA Blueprint for Success and our Mortgage Comparison Chart. These amazing educational resources help break down the USDA process and guidelines.

State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP)

Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender ListFlorida Housing Finance Corporation administers the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program (SHIP) to 67 counties in Florida. A homebuyer must qualify with the local government entity or housing office that is responsible for handling the program.

These 67 counties disperse funding on a first-come-first-serve basis. You must first determine if your county currently has funding. If your county does not have current SHIP funds, the next question to ask is, “When is the funding expected to be replenished?”

Homebuyer requirements for SHIP funds are handled at the local government level and can vary. Here are some common requirements:

  • Applicants must be first-time homebuyers;
  • Funding is on a first-come, first-serve basis;
  • Maximum purchase prices can vary;
  • Completion of a First Time Homebuyer Education course;
  • SHIP income limits will apply.

Combining SHIP Funds with a USDA Loan

For homebuyers, SHIP funds are treated as a second mortgage (subordinate lien), so they must be combined with another mortgage type. When they are combined with a USDA loan it offers tremendous flexibility such as being utilized to pay for closing costs as well as reducing how much your borrower on the first mortgage.

Sebring Avon Park Lake Placid Highlands County Florida SHIP Funds

SHIP funds are combined with your USDA mortgage to make up the total financing for the property. This may allow for:

  • A portion of your overall financing to be at reduced terms;
  • Increased affordability;
  • Permit deferred payments;
  • Loan forgiveness after a period of time.*

*Depending on your local program guidelines.

Have you been qualified for your USDA loan yet?

It’s vital for you to qualify for a USDA loan in order to be able to combine it with SHIP funds, but not all lenders work with SHIP Funds… but we do!

Due to our extensive experience and as a top-ranked USDA Approved Lender, we are able to coordinate both your USDA approval and SHIP fund financing at the same time as we prepare for closing.

Call (800) 806-9836 Ext. 280 or email to discuss your scenario.

See you next week!

The maximum loan amounts have increased in 2020! This week’s blog highlights the updated maximum loan amounts for USDA, VA, FHA, and Conventional loans.

Maximum Loan Amounts:

USDA Single Family Guaranteed Rural Home Loan Program

maximum loan amounts for USDA, VA, FHA, Conventional LoansDo USDA Loans have a maximum loan size?

Wait a second, is this a trick question?  Nope, it’s true that USDA loans actually have NO loan limits! Since there’s no maximum sales price for a USDA loan, it can be a powerful option. Especially when compared to conventional or FHA loans because they require a minimum down payment.

While there is no maximum USDA loan size, the USDA maximum loan amount is calculated on the applicant’s ability to qualify. Thankfully, USDA income limits were also increased in 2019  This helps home buyers when trying to qualify for those higher-priced homes.

Department of Veterans Affairs

What is the VA maximum loan amount?

The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 (“the Act”) was signed into law on June 25, 2019 by the President and will apply to all loans closed on or after January 1, 2020.  

The Act amends 38 U.S.C. § 3703(a)(1) and expands maximum guaranty amounts for purchase, construction, and cash-out refinance loans greater than the Freddie Mac conforming loan limit in certain circumstances.

In the past, maximum loan limits mirrored the Freddie Mac conforming loan limit, but that is no longer a factor for Veterans who possess their full entitlement. However, the Act does not adjust the maximum amount of guaranty available to Veterans for loans at or below $144,000.

As a quick reminder, the basic entitlement for each eligible Veteran is $36,000 and as a VA approved lender, Metroplex Mortgage Services will walk a Veteran through the steps and help determine how much entitlement is available and what VA loan amount you can qualify for.

Moreover, if a Veteran has previously lost a VA loan through bankruptcy, foreclosure, or a short sale they may still be eligible for a VA “bonus entitlement“.  While this can be complicated, please call to discuss your scenario so we can try to help. Remember, minimum income, credit conditions, and meeting sufficient equity requirements will apply.

Click Here a short video that further explains VA Bonus Entitlement

Conventional Loans (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Conforming)

What are the 2020 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac conforming loan limits?

The 2020 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loan limits have been increased by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The previous 2019 general loan limit was $484,350, and has increased to $510,400 for a one-unit property!

While most of our homebuyers and realtors work in general loan limit counties, below is a loan limit comparison chart for one, two, three, and four-unit properties.What is the maximum USDA loan amount in Florida


For more information go to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announcement for more details.

FHA Loans (Federal Housing Administration)

What are FHA 2020 maximum mortgage amounts?

maximum loan amounts for USDA, VA, FHA, Conventional LoansThe FHA has published its 2020 maximum mortgage amounts for forward mortgages with Mortgagee Letter 2019-19 (remember this is the loan amount financed, not the sales price) for both low and high-cost areas which become effective for case numbers assigned on or after January 1, 2020.

The maximum FHA loan amount, for a one-unit property in a low-cost county, has increased from $314,827 in 2019 to $331,760 in 2020!

Additionally, the respective loan amounts have also increased for 2,3, and 4 unit properties that are eligible for FHA financing.  Additional details can be found in the full FHA announcement here.

2019 county limits have been updated on FHA’s Mortgage Limits Search Engine. To determine the 2019 limit, select “CY2019” from the Limit Year drop-down menu.

We Are Always Available

If you ever need assistance or have financing questions please use my team as a resource. That’s what we are here for!

Whether it’s for a new pre-qualification or to help with an existing transaction, just call (800)806-9836 Ext. 280 or email to discuss your scenario so we can go to work for you!

As per USDA Guidelines under the 3555 Handbook, “Disputed accounts on an applicant’s credit report are not considered in the credit score.” Meaning, the mere presence of a disputed account does NOT automatically deny an applicant’s USDA loan.

A disputed account does not disqualify you from a USDA loan, but it does trigger additional scrutiny and guidelines. Watch today’s video where I explain how a disputed credit account can affect USDA loan qualifying.

Remember, there’s no need to be overwhelmed with all these USDA details because we are here to help. As a USDA Approved Lender, you can rely on our experience and expertise to help walk you through the qualifying process step-by-step. Just call or email to discuss your scenario and let us show you the “Metroplex” difference!

USDA Loan Guidelines for Disputed Accounts

Can you still qualify for a USDA loan with a disputed account on your credit report in FL, AL, TX, or TN?

The presence of a disputed account triggers more stringent underwriting requirements unless one of the following is present:

  1. The tradeline has a zero dollar balance, or
  2. The tradeline is marked “paid in full” or “resolved,” or
  3. The disputed tradeline has a balance owed of less than $500 and is more than 24 months old.

If none of the above are present additional documentation may be required with examples being:

  • Letters of Explanation
  • Verification of Rent
  • More restrictive Qualifying Restrictions

Real-World Example

Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender ListTo help put this into perspective here is a real-world example:

A homebuyer who was recently having trouble with their lender was recommended to us for our USDA 2nd Opinion Service (SOS) due in part to a disputed account on their credit report.

After careful review, I found that the disputed account in question actually had no balance. As discussed above, this would not automatically require more stringent USDA manual underwriting guidelines.

We were able to qualify them for a USDA loan even though a disputed account was on their credit report.


USDA qualifying guidelines can be complicated but that’s where my team and I can step in to help.  We understand how to explore a disputed account and work towards USDA qualification. Simply call or email us to discuss your scenario, schedule a convenient callback time, or complete our 1-2-3 online pre-qualifier to get started.

(800)806-9836 Ext. 280

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

P.S. – You can download our “USDA Blueprint for Success” by CLICKING HERE

Avon Park, Lake Placid, Sebring FL USDA Approved Lender

How soon can you qualify for a mortgage after a Short Sale?

Florida USDA, VA, FHA, and Conventional Loans after Short SaleIt is possible to qualify to purchase a home after a short sale, but waiting periods will apply and vary between USDA, FHA, VA, and Conventional loans.

Depending on the type of loan program, some waiting periods are longer than others. In today’s video, I will compare the differences between USDA, FHA, VA, and Conventional loans and explain how soon you can qualify for a mortgage after a short sale.

Plus, if you have recently been denied for a mortgage because of a previous short sale, please take advantage of our FREE Second Opinion Service (SOS)

Short Sale Guidelines

A short sale is considered a pre-foreclosure activity, and Sebring Highlands County USDA Loansover the years my team and I have seen many of them occur due to unforeseen circumstances outside of the homeowner’s control. Once a short sale has been completed, waiting periods will determine how quickly you are able to requalify for a mortgage.

Qualifying Guidelines

Listed below are the published short sale qualifying guidelines for Conventional, VA, FHA, & USDA loans:

Conventional Loans

When qualifying for a conventional loan after a short sale, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have different guidelines.

  • Fannie Mae requires 4-years from the short sale completion date.
  • On the other hand, Freddie Mac has no waiting period after a completed short sale provided the loan receives an eligible response through Loan Prospector which is their automated underwriting system.

VA Loans

  • VA guidelines treat a short sale similar to a foreclosure.
  • They require a 2- year waiting period along with re-establishing credit.

FHA Loans

  • Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender ListFHA guidelines for qualifying after a short sale require a 3-year waiting period.
  • The waiting period begins on the date of the transfer of title.


  • USDA guidelines to qualify after a short sale require a 3-year waiting period.


Please be wary of lenders stating they can get an exception for less than the standard waiting periods discussed above.  While it can be possible, there is limited opportunity for these type exceptions and are truly on a case by case basis.

We are Here to Help

Remember, if you need help or have questions, that is exactly what we are here for.

Just call 800-806-9836 x280 or email to discuss your scenario. My team and I are known for returning calls, replying to emails, and responding to your messages!


How soon can you qualify for a mortgage after Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

According to statistics released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, from 2015-2019 there have been over 2.5 million Chapter 7 Bankruptcies filed. However, even with a previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you can still qualify for a mortgage after a specified waiting period.

Waiting periods differ between USDA, FHA, VA, and Conventional loan programs and in today’s video, I’ll compare them side by side.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

How soon can you qualify for a mortgage after Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida?

In many cases, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can happen outside of the homeowner’s control such as a major illness, divorce, or death of a spouse.

A home buyer who previously filed for bankruptcy and is once again trying to qualify for a mortgage is sometimes called a Boomerang Buyer. These Boomerang Buyers are still a large and valuable portion of the home buying market.

Waiting periods will apply once a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy has been discharged. This determines how quickly a homebuyer can qualify for a mortgage.

Waiting Periods

Currently, the published Chapter 7 Bankruptcy qualifying guidelines for USDA, FHA, VA, and conventional are as follows:

VA Loans

  • VA Loans are the most lenient.
  • They allow for 2-years after a bankruptcy discharge.

Florida USDA Loans after Bankruptcy

USDA Loans

  • USDA Loans require 3-years after a bankruptcy discharge.
  • However, exceptions can be possible.
  • My office has successfully processed and closed the USDA waiting period exceptions.

Conventional Loans

  • Conventional Loans under Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a 4-year waiting period.

FHA Loans

  • FHA loans have a 2 year waiting period after a bankruptcy discharge.
  • Be extremely cautious when a mortgage is included in the bankruptcy.

Mortgage Included

Florida USDA, VA, FHA, and Conventional Loans after BankruptcyIf there was a mortgage discharged through bankruptcy, it’s vital to find out when the deed to the property actually transferred out of their name.

While FHA guidelines only have a two year waiting period after a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, once the deed transfer actually occurs, foreclosure waiting periods will also apply based on that date – not that date of the bankruptcy discharge!

Thankfully, when a mortgage is included with Chapter 7, USDA, VA, and Fannie Mae guidelines are more lenient for homebuyers. They don’t restart the foreclosure waiting period based on the deed transfer date.

USDA Waiting Period Exceptions

My office has been able to successfully process USDA loan exceptions after Chapter 7. These exceptions are on a case by case scenario and based on individual circumstances.

If you are trying to qualify for a mortgage and have recently been denied due to a previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, please take advantage of our FREE Second Opinion Service (SOS).

Do foreclosure waiting periods depend on the mortgage type?

After a foreclosure, how soon can you qualify for a mortgage in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, or Texas?

In working with so many of our customers over the years, we have found that foreclosures often occur due to circumstances outside of the homeowner’s control, rather than financial mismanagement.

With that being said, once a foreclosure has been finalized, a waiting period is required before another mortgage can be provided.

However, USDA, FHA, VA, or Conventional loan waiting periods are different. That’s why in today’s video, I’ll compare the programs side by side and keep you in the know about this important topic.

After a foreclosure, how soon can you qualify for a mortgage?

What are foreclosure waiting periods?

A waiting period determines how quickly you can qualify for a mortgage after an event such as a foreclosure, bankruptcy, or short sale and can vary depending on the mortgage type you are attempting to qualify for.

Presently, the published foreclosure guidelines for VA, USDA, FHA, & Conventional waiting periods are:
What are USDA Foreclosure Waiting Periods in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, or Texas

  • VA Loans: 2 years after a foreclosure
  • USDA Loans: 3 years after foreclosure (Exceptions can be possible!!!)
  • FHA Loans: 3 years after a foreclosure
  • Conventional (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac): 7 years after a foreclosure

Are USDA Foreclosure exceptions possible?

As noted above, USDA loan exceptions are possible after foreclosure, but depend on the on the factors involved and will be on a case by case basis.

However, due to our USDA expertise and experience, the “Metroplex” team has successfully approved USDA foreclosure exceptions over the years.

What needs to be checked?

Do Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, or Florida foreclosure waiting periods depend on the mortgage type

When you have had a previous foreclosure on a government loan such as VA, USDA, or FHA, it’s vital for your lender to check the CAIVRS database.

The CAIVRS database documents liens, defaults and other outstanding debt owed to federal agencies.

This is crucial because an outstanding claim could stop your loan application from proceeding.  If there is a claim reporting a previous foreclosure, be prepared to wait for clearance prior to qualifying for another government loan.

USDA, VA, FHA, and Conventional Foreclosure Guidelines

Remember, the required waiting period after a foreclosure will vary and depends on the mortgage type with any exceptions being possible on a case by case basis.

If you have recently been denied for a mortgage because of a previous foreclosure, please take advantage of our free Second Opinion Service (SOS) which is great for both new pre-qualifications and existing transactions.

Lastly, you can always find more FREE USDA resources on our downloads page. It’s valuable information, including our USDA Blueprint for Success!

What is the Closing Time on A USDA Loan?

How long is the USDA loan process? It is common for us to receive questions on how long it takes to close a USDA loan, and in today’s short video we are going to dive into the details and keep you in the know!

Have you had a chance to view our FREE USDA resources page? These free guides are designed to help walk you through the USDA loan process and are a great educational resource for both home buyers and their agents.

How Long Does it Take to Close on a USDA LoanClosing Time

Many banks, lenders, or credit unions are not USDA approved, therefore they must submit to a 3rd party USDA approved lender to handle the underwriting process. This is obviously less efficient and because it is not a streamlined process it customarily takes longer to complete.

As a USDA approved lender, we have the ability to work directly with realtors, home buyers, and then with  USDA field offices when submitting for approval. This provides us with the ability to manage the entire loan process from start to finish at our office.

In short, as a USDA approved lender, this permits us to streamline the process so closing on a USDA loan becomes much faster.

So, are you working with an actual USDA Approved Lender? Here is a link to find out: USDA Approved Lender List

Approved Lender

Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender List

Being an approved USDA lender means the following events take place ALL under one roof:

  • Pre-Qualification
  • Loan Application
  • On-Site Underwriting and Loan Approval
  • Submitting the file to USDA
  • Ordering closing documents, and
  • Loan Funding

This type of control combined with giving you the same point of contact throughout the process allows us to save time where possible and keep all parties on the same page.

On the other hand, if you’re not working with a USDA approved lender prepare yourself for a longer time commitment. They will have to submit to another lender who has USDA approval to underwrite, approve, and submit the files to USDA. That’s time-consuming and another source for delays during the process.

Approval is CriticalTampa Florida USDA Approved Lender List

In Summary, while many may offer the USDA program, it is important to find out who has the required experience to help navigate the USDA loan approval process successfully. 

It may sound funny, but we truly eat, breathe, and sleep USDA Loans each and every day because we understand the tremendous value that this program brings to our rural communities.

800-806-9836 Ext. 280

Have questions? Call or email to take advantage of our free 2nd opinion service which is great for those existing transactions.

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

P.S. – You can also download our “USDA Blueprint for Success” by CLICKING HERE

Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender List

Do you need to prove rental history in order to qualify for a USDA loan?

Everyone’s USDA qualifying situation is different and rental history is one component of that. That’s why today we are focusing on when rental history is a requirement and when it is not.

Remember to make sure you are working with a lender that understands the USDA program! Keep in the know with our free USDA resources. Download them all here!

Do USDA Loans Require Verification of Rental History

USDA Loan – Rental History Requirements

As a starting point, USDA guidelines state that in cases where the qualifying credit score is below 680 and there is rental payment history, the lender should obtain a rent payment reference either as:

  • Part of the credit report, or
  • Directly from the landlord, or
  • Through canceled checks covering the most recent 12 months prior to the loan application.

As USDA guidelines state, it’s the “lender’s responsibility to confirm the applicant’s history of payment towards housing expense is acceptable”.

The documentation to prove rental history is dependent on how rent is paid and the type of landlord you make the payments to. Just note, when an individual is living with family or rent-free, they do not have a verifiable rental payment history.

Remember, “one rent or mortgage payment paid 30 or more days late within the last 12 months is an indicator of unacceptable credit”, unless further consideration is used due to extenuating circumstances.

When is Rental History Not Required for a USDA loan?

Here are the situations where a USDA loan would NOT require verification of rental history:

  • USDA Applicants with credit scores of 680 and above are not subject to verification of rent or housing history
  • USDA Loans processed through the GUS underwriting system that receive an “Accept” response are not subject to verification of rent or housing history.

Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender List

In summary, USDA loans don’t always require verification of rental history, but when they do, it’s dependent on how your rent is paid and the type of landlord you make the payments to.

Have you been denied for a USDA loan due to rental history?

If you have been denied for a USDA loan due to verification of rental history, please call or email us today and get access to a free expert second opinion!

(800) 806-9836 x 280

P.S. – You can also download our “USDA Blueprint for Success” by CLICKING HERE

Tampa FL USDA Approved Lender List


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