What are USDA Loans

Flexible Qualification For Middle to Low-Income Buyers in Rural Areas

The USDA loan offers a low rate and flexible qualification for middle- to low-income buyers in rural areas.


Much of San Luis Obispo County counts as “rural” and is eligible for USDA financing. Qualifying households may have up to 115 percent of the median income in the area.

Benefits You’ll Love About USDA Loans

Enjoy down payments as low as 0%

Total Debt to Income ratio can be as high as 43%

Credit Score as low as 550

Gift payments are allowed

Information on USDA Loans

Below, you will find expandable sections that give you information about USDA loans. If you are ready to apply for a loan, click here and it will take you to our secure online application. If you still have questions, our loan officers are just a phone call away (805.543.LOAN)

USDA Loans Basics

The USDA loan targets rural, middle- to low-income borrowers that don’t have the means to make a down payment and pay large mortgage insurance premiums.  The primary two qualification standards are location (rural) and income (up to 115% of area’s median).

In San Luis Obispo County, families of 1-4 people can make a maximum of $93,950 to qualify and families of 5-8 people can make a maximum of $124,000.

The Basics:


  • Down payment: as low as 0%
  • Credit score: as low as 550
  • Debt-to-income ratio: as high as 31% housing ratio and 43% total debt ratio
  • Gift payments: allowed; gifts, grants, and seller concessions
  • Rate and Term: fixed (30-year)
  • Ceiling: no purchase maximum, but must be “modest in size, design, and cost”
  • Occupancy: owner-occupied, primary residence only
  • Mortgage Insurance: yes; upfront and monthly fees apply

Purchase After Negative Credit

Foreclosure: 3 years from completion date
Short Sale: 3 years from completion date
Bankruptcy (Chapter 7): 3 years from date bankruptcy was completed
Bankruptcy (Chapter 13): 1 year from date of repayment was completed and bankruptcy completed
Deed-in-Lieu: 3 years from transfer of deed date

Click here to read more

GSFA Platinum Down Payment Assistance Program

The GSFA Platinum down payment assistance program was created to help low to moderate income homebuyers in the state of California purchase a home by providing down payment and/or closing cost assistance in the form of a non-repayable grant.


The Program Income Limit for FHA, VA, and USDA First Mortgages

Program Limit - Copy


Click here to read more

Articles and Updates

  • How to qualify for a USDA loan after foreclosure or short sale. (Read more)

Further Reading (from the FAQ Page)


  • Low down payment loan programs. (Read more)
  • Gift giving guidelines. (Read more)
  • Mortgage insurance guidelines. (Read more)
  • Credit qualification standards: FICO and Debt-to-Income. (Read more)

Step 1. Get Pre-Approved.

How Does Pre-Approval Work?

Getting pre-approved is as easy as 1-2-3!

1. Create an Account

Creating an account is fast, easy, secure and FREE! Your account enables you to easily modify your loan application and view the status of your loan anytime day or night.

2. Submit Information

When you register for a Loan Center account, you can submit a loan application online and the sensitive information that you provide will be transmitted securely.

3. Get Pre-Approved

Kick your feet up while we crunch the numbers. Pre-approval can be done very quickly if you provide a complete and accurate loan application and supporting documentation.

You have questions? We have answers.
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