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No down payment: USDA
No down payment: USDA | iStock.com

No down payment: USDA

The (Department of Agriculture, or) USDA's Rural Development mortgage guarantee program is so popular that it has been known to run out of money before the end of the fiscal year.

Some borrowers are surprised to find that Rural Development loans aren't confined to farmland.

The USDA has maps on its website that highlight eligible areas. In addition to geographical limits, the USDA program has restrictions on household income, and it is intended for first-time buyers, although there are exceptions.

The USDA mortgage comes from a bank, and there is no mortgage insurance. Instead, the USDA levies a 1 percent upfront guarantee fee, which can be rolled into the loan amount, and an annual guarantee fee of 0.35 percent of the loan balance.

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