The guidelines for getting a USDA home loan vary by program, according to the USDA website. As with all loans offered by the USDA, households must meet specific income requirements, and the home being purchased must be in an eligible rural area. The USDA spells out the requirements for its loan programs, including both direct and guaranteed loans, on the website.
The USDA's single-family housing direct home loan program is designed to help low and very-low income people obtain housing in rural areas, notes USDA.gov. Applicants must not already have safe, sanitary and decent housing and must be unable to obtain a loan from other resources. They must agree to occupy the property as their primary residence and have the legal capacity to get a loan. They must not be barred from participating in federal programs and be citizens or eligible noncitizens. The program does not require that the applicant make a down payment.
The USDA's direct guaranteed loan program has similar requirements, and the USDA offers an income limit scale on its website. The scale is based on the location of the home and the classifications of very low income, low income or moderate income. For example, a four-person family in Anniston-Oxford, Alabama, cannot make more than $26,500 to receive a loan under program guidelines.