What Is a USDA Loan?

A USDA loan, or a Rural Development Loan, is a mortgage program sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that enables individuals to secure affordable home financing in rural communities and certain suburban areas. USDA loans offer some pretty attractive deals, like low to no down payment requirements and competitive interest rates. That’s why they are popular among folks with tight budgets or those looking to buy property in rural areas.

To qualify for a USDA loan, you have to meet some specific criteria, like income limits that vary depending on where the property is located. Plus, the property itself has to meet USDA eligibility standards, meaning it has to be in a designated rural area as defined by the USDA.

Thinking about applying for a loan for USDA rural development in Hawaii? It’s all about teaming up with a USDA-approved lender. They’ll take a look at things like your income, credit history, and more to see if you’re eligible. If you are approved, the USDA will guarantee a portion of the loan, which makes lenders more willing to offer favorable terms.

In the end, USDA loans give folks the chance to own a piece of the rural Hawaiian dream without dealing with hefty financial roadblocks. And that’s not just good for homeowners—it’s also a win for boosting economic growth in those communities.

USDA Loan Requirements in Hawaii

For individuals seeking a deeper understanding of USDA loan requirements in Hawaii, it is essential to grasp the fundamental prerequisites. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Citizenship: Applicants must hold U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status.
  • Income limits: Prospective borrowers must adhere to the income thresholds established by the USDA, which vary based on household size and geographical location.
  • Location requirements: Properties must be situated within eligible rural areas as defined by the USDA.
  • Lender-specific criteria: While overarching guidelines exist, lenders may impose additional stipulations such as minimum credit scores, debt-to-income ratios (DTI), and evidence of adequate funds to cover closing costs. These lender-specific requirements ensure borrowers possess the financial capability to repay the loan and mitigate the lender’s risk.

Prospective borrowers are encouraged to seek guidance from a USDA-approved lender to gain insight into all requirements and ascertain their eligibility for a USDA loan in Hawaii.

Pros and Cons of USDA Loans

When considering which loan option suits you best, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of USDA loans.


Some of the advantages of USDA loans are as follows:

  • Zero down payment required: One of the standout features of USDA loans is the opportunity for buyers to purchase a house without any upfront payment. This significantly improves accessibility to homeownership for those looking for a low income mortgage
  • Competitive interest rates: Since they’re supported by the government, USDA loans pose less risk to lenders, enabling them to offer borrowers comparatively low interest rates. 
  • Flexible credit requirements: USDA loans typically have more lenient credit score criteria compared to conventional loans, making them beneficial for borrowers with less-than-perfect credit histories. 
  • No PMI required: Unlike most conventional loans, USDA loans do not require private mortgage insurance (PMI). This can lead to lower monthly mortgage payments for borrowers. 
  • No prepayment penalties: USDA loans do not penalize borrowers who decide to pay off their mortgage ahead of schedule, giving borrowers a degree of flexibility in managing their loan repayment.
  • Streamline refinance: Hawaiians with an existing USDA mortgage can streamline it to a lower rate (if available) with little to no paperwork and no appraisal.


Here are some key considerations regarding USDA loans:

  • Property eligibility: Homes must be situated in USDA-designated rural areas, which may limit options for buyers who prefer to be in or around big cities. Also, USDA loans in Hawaii can only be used for primary residences; vacation homes and investment properties are not eligible. 
  • Income limits: USDA loans limit a borrower’s income to 115% of the median income of the area, depending on family size. If you exceed an area’s income limit, then you may have to look elsewhere or consider other home financing options. 
  • Guarantee fees: You must pay an upfront and annual guarantee fee when taking out a USDA loan in Hawaii. The guarantee fee helps keep the USDA loan program running. The current upfront guarantee fee is 1% and the monthly fee is .35%.
  • Funding limitations: The availability of USDA loans depends on the availability of funds, which can vary over time. Low funds can lead to delays in the mortgage application process or other related complications. 

Despite these challenges, USDA loans remain a valuable option for prospective buyers in Hawaii seeking affordable homeownership opportunities in rural areas.

How to Qualify for a USDA Loan in Hawaii

Among the array of loan options available, USDA loans in Hawaii stand out as a viable solution for achieving your home-buying goals. To qualify for a Hawaii USDA loan, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. As mentioned earlier, it’s important for borrowers to thoroughly understand the lender’s requirements to ensure eligibility. Some of the Hawaii USDA loan eligibility criteria is as follows:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen.
  • A minimum FICO score of 600.
  • No instances of collection accounts or late payments within the past 12 months, or bankruptcy or foreclosure within the preceding 36 months.
  • Home must be the owner’s primary residence.
  • An applicant’s adjusted income should not exceed 115% of the median income for the area where the desired home is located, accounting for the size of the applicant’s family.

Apply for a USDA Loan in Hawaii

If you’re prepared to take the next step towards homeownership and apply for a USDA loan in Oahu or other parts of Hawaii, then connect with an experienced USDA lender in Hawaii. At Griffin Funding, we’ve helped many borrowers navigate the USDA loan application process and assisted them in achieving their dream of homeownership. 

We can help walk you through the process, clarify USDA loan requirements, and ultimately work with you to secure a USDA rural development loan in Hawaii. We even offer the Griffin Gold app, which allows you to manage your finances, access smart budgeting tools, privately search for homes, and get personalized help from our mortgage professionals.

By partnering with Griffin Funding, potential home buyers in Hawaii can optimize their experience with USDA loans while receiving tailored support and guidance throughout their homeownership journey. Reach out to us today to learn more or fill out an online application and lock in your rate.