What Is a USDA Loan?

A USDA loan, or a Rural Development Loan, is a mortgage program run by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to promote homeownership in rural and less densely populated areas. USDA loans present a compelling package for buyers, featuring exciting terms such as minimal to no down payment requirements and competitive interest rates. These USDA loan options naturally appeal to those with limited financial resources or those eyeing to purchase property purchases in rural locales.

To qualify for a USDA loan, applicants must meet specific criteria, including income thresholds that vary based on the property’s location. Additionally, the property itself must meet USDA eligibility standards, typically pertaining to its rural designation as determined by the USDA.

Prospective buyers looking to secure a USDA loan must go through the application process with a USDA-approved lender. USDA-approved lenders evaluate borrower’s eligibility based on factors like income, credit history, and more. Upon approval, the USDA steps in to guarantee a portion of the loan, mitigating risk for the lender and facilitating the provision of favorable terms to borrowers.

In essence, USDA loans pave the way to homeownership in rural areas with minimal financial hurdles, thereby serving as a vital instrument for fostering economic development within these communities. Borrowers can even take out a USDA construction loan in Colorado if they wish to build a home rather than purchase an existing one. 

USDA Loan Requirements in Colorado

For individuals interested in learning more about USDA loan requirements in Colorado, borrowers should understand what is required. In general, borrowers need to adhere to the general USDA loan criteria as noted below:

  • U.S. Citizenship: Borrowers must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, demonstrating a stable income and an ability to repay the loan.
  • Income Limits: Borrowers must meet income limits set by the USDA, which vary depending on household size and location. 
  • Location Limits: The property must be located in an eligible rural area as defined by the USDA. Income and location parameters are the baseline factors in determining if a borrower is eligible or not. 
  • Lender-specific Criteria: While there are general guidelines, lenders may impose additional criteria such as a minimum credit score, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and proof of sufficient funds for the closing costs. These lender-specific requirements ensure borrowers have the financial capacity to repay the loan and mitigate the lender’s risk.

Before you get too far along in the process, prospective borrowers should consult with a USDA-approved lender to understand all the requirements and determine their eligibility for a USDA loan in Colorado.

Pros and Cons of USDA Loans

There are a few pros and cons of USDA loans to consider before choosing which loan option is best for you. 


Some of the main benefits of USDA loans are as follows:

  • No down payment required: One of the biggest selling points of a USDA home loan in Colorado is that borrowers can buy a house with no money down and that it can also make it more accessible to buy a house with low income. Without needing a hefty cash down payment, homeownership becomes significantly more attainable for individuals. This frees up their cash reserves to cover other essential home-related expenses such as closing costs or home improvements.
  • Competitive interest rates: Since USDA loans are backed by the government, lenders take on less risk and are therefore able to offer relatively low interest rates to borrowers. 
  • Flexible credit requirements: USDA loans also tend to have more lenient credit score requirements compared to conventional loans, which is advantageous for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit histories.
  • No PMI required: Unlike conventional loans, USDA loans do not mandate private mortgage insurance (PMI) if you are unable to put down 20% of the home price. 
  • No prepayment penalties: While many mortgages penalize borrowers for paying off their loans early, USDA loans stand apart by not imposing prepayment penalties. This flexibility allows you the freedom to pay off your mortgage whenever you choose, without facing any additional charges.
  • Streamlined refinance assist program: If you own and home and currently have a USDA you may be able to do a non-cash-out refinance if the rates are lower. There is no need for an appraisal, credit review, or income documentation.


Several factors to consider regarding USDA loans include:

  • Property location: Homes must be located in USDA-eligible rural areas, which may limit choices for buyers favoring urban or suburban settings. Additionally, homes must meet specific criteria regarding size, safety standards, and location within eligible areas.
  • Guarantee fee: Borrowers taking out a USDA loan in Colorado must pay an upfront and annual guarantee fee, which is similar to mortgage insurance. The current fee is 1% upfront and .35% annually.
  • Eligibility standards: USDA loans may have stricter qualification criteria compared to conventional loans, potentially excluding borrowers with limited credit history or high debt-to-income ratios.
  • Funding limitations: The availability of USDA loans depends on funding availability, and there may be occasions where funds are depleted, leading to potential delays in loan approval.

In spite of these challenges, USDA loans still present a valuable opportunity for home buyers in Colorado who are aiming for affordable homeownership in rural areas. 

How to Qualify for a USDA Home Loan in Colorado

In order to be an eligible applicant for USDA loan in Colorado, you’ll need to meet certain criteria established by both the USDA and the lender. Here are some of the basic qualification requirements for Colorado USDA loans: 

  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status.
  • Monthly mortgage payments must not exceed 29% of your monthly income, inclusive of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Other monthly debt payments should not surpass 41% of your income. The USDA may consider higher debt ratios for credit scores above 660.
  • Applicants must demonstrate consistent income over the past 24 months.
  • Your income cannot be more than 115% of the area’s median income according to your family size. 
  • Borrowers with credit scores as low as 600 are eligible. A satisfactory credit history is essential, with no collection accounts reported within the last 12 months.
  • At least three years must have passed since you last filed for bankruptcy or faced foreclosure. 

Apply for a USDA Loan in Colorado

If you’re ready to take the next step in your home purchasing process and apply for a USDA home loan in Colorado, consider taking advantage of Griffin Funding’s resources, including the Griffin Gold app, to make the process smoother and less overwhelming. 

Griffin Funding excels in navigating the intricacies of USDA loan requirements, providing invaluable expertise to borrowers in Colorado. We can assist you in understanding income and location guidelines crucial for eligibility. Better yet, the Griffin Gold app offers a seamless platform that allows you to compare mortgage products, manage your finances, and ask our mortgage professionals any questions you may have about taking out a loan. 

By partnering with Griffin Funding, prospective home buyers in Colorado gain access to USDA loan benefits while receiving personalized support and guidance, ensuring a smoother path to homeownership. Apply now and get started on your homeownership journey.