By |Published On: January 31, 2024|Categories: New Purchase Mortgage|
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USDA loans offer an excellent opportunity for homebuyers in Montana to secure affordable financing in rural areas. These loans are backed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and are designed to promote homeownership in rural communities. However, to qualify for a USDA loan in Montana, borrowers must meet certain requirements. In this article, we will understand the guidelines that borrowers in loan requirements USDA MT. Discover USDA loan requirements Montana. Learn about eligibility criteria, income thresholds, property location, and Montana USDA loan requirements

General USDA Loan Requirements

Here are the general requirements for obtaining a USDA loan:

1. Rural Location:

  • The property must be located in a rural area as defined by the USDA.
  • Prospective homebuyers can check the eligibility of a specific address using the USDA’s official website or by consulting with a USDA-approved lender.

2. Income Eligibility:

  • The borrower’s income should not exceed the limits set by the USDA for the specific area.
  • Income limits are based on factors such as household size and location.

3. Occupancy:

  • The property financed with a USDA loan must be the borrower’s primary residence.
  • USDA loans are not designed for investment properties or second homes.

4. Citizenship and Legal Residency:

  • The borrower must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien to be on a USDA loan.

5. Credit Requirements:

  • While there’s no specific minimum credit score requirement, generally look for a credit score of at least 640.
  • Some lenders may accept lower credit scores under certain circumstances.

6. Debt-to-Income Ratio:

  • Lenders typically prefer a debt-to-income ratio of 41% or lower.
  • This ratio compares the borrower’s monthly debt payments to their gross monthly income.

7. Stable Employment:

  • Lenders assess the borrower’s employment history and stability.
  • A consistent source of income is loan approval.

Eligibility Criteria

Here is a more detailed breakdown:

Borrower Eligibility:

  1. Income Limits: USDA loans assist low to moderate-income households. The borrower’s income must not exceed the limits set by the USDA for the specific area. These limits are based on factors such as household size and location.
  2. Credit Score: While there is no strict minimum credit score requirement, most lenders prefer a score of at least 640. Some lender
  3. s may accept lower scores, but they may require additional documentation or compensating factors.
  4. Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI): Lenders typically have a debt-to-income ratio of 41% or lower. This ratio compares the borrower’s monthly debt payments to their gross monthly income.
  5. Stable Employment: Lenders assess the borrower’s employment history and stability. A consistent source of income for loan approval.

Property Eligibility:

  1. Property Type: Eligible properties include single-family homes, some condominiums, and manufactured homes. The property must be modest in size, design, and cost compared to the surrounding area.
  2. Appraisal Requirements: The property must meet appraisal standards to ensure it is safe, sound, and meets the minimum requirements set by the USDA.
  3. Homeownership Counseling: First-time homebuyers are often required to complete homeownership education or counseling before obtaining a USDA loan.

Employment and Income Verification

Here’s an overview of what this verification process involves:

1. Verification of Employment (VOE):

  • Lenders may request verification of employment to ensure that the borrower has a source of income.
  • This usually involves contacting the borrower’s employer directly or using a third-party service to confirm details such as employment status, position, and length of employment.
  • Borrowers are typically required to provide recent pay stubs as part of the verification process.

2. Proof of Income:

  • Borrowers need to provide proof of income, which includes documents such as pay stubs, W-2 forms, and tax returns.
  • Pay stubs for the most recent 30 days are commonly required, providing a snapshot of the borrower’s current income.

3. Tax Returns:

  • Lenders may request copies of the borrower’s tax returns for the past two years, especially for self-employed individuals with variable income sources.
  • Tax returns provide a more comprehensive view of the borrower’s financial history.

4. Verification of Additional Income:

  • Any additional sources of income, such as child support or rental income, may need to be verified.
  • Documentation supporting these additional income sources is typically required.

5. Debt-to-Income Ratio (DTI) Calculation:

  • Lenders calculate the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, which compares the borrower’s monthly debt payments to their gross monthly income.
  • A lower DTI ratio is generally favorable for loan approval.

6. Stable Employment History:

  • Lenders look for a stable employment history to assess the borrower’s ability to maintain a consistent source of income.
  • Frequent changes in employment or gaps in employment may be scrutinized.

7. Explanation for Employment Gaps or Changes:

  • Borrowers may be required to provide explanations for any gaps in employment or recent changes in employment.
  • This helps lenders understand the borrower’s overall financial stability.

Montana-Specific USDA Loan Requirements

Here are some general USDA loan requirements that may apply in Montana:

  1. Location Eligibility: The property you intend to purchase must be located in an eligible rural. You can check the USDA eligibility map or consult with an lender to determine if the property qualifies.
  2. Income Limits: USDA loans have income based on the area and the number the household. Borrowers must meet these income limits to be eligible for a USDA loan.
  3. Credit Score: While USDA loans are known for being more flexible with credit scores compared to conventional loans, there are still minimum credit score requirements. Lenders may have their own score requirements, but a score of 640 or higher is often recommended.
  4. Debt-to-Income Ratio: Lenders will assess your debt-to-income ratio, which is the ratio of your monthly payments to your gross monthly income. Generally, a lower debt-to-income ratio is preferred.
  5. Property Requirements: The property must meet certain standards set by the USDA. This includes safety standards and requirements regarding the size and condition of the property.
  6. U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency: Borrowers must be U.S. citizens, qualified aliens, or legally admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence.

Areas in Montana Eligible for USDA Loans

Here are the general steps to find eligible areas:

  1. Visit the USDA Eligibility Map: Go to the USDA’s eligibility map, which is available on the USDA website.
  2. Enter the Address: Enter the address of the property you are interested in purchasing. The map will then show whether the property is in an eligible area.
  3. Check for Eligibility: The map will indicate whether the property is in an eligible or ineligible area. Eligible areas are typically designated as rural or suburban.
  4. Consult with a USDA-Approved Lender: While the online map is a helpful tool, it’s also recommended to consult with a USDA-approved lender. Lenders have access to the most up-to-date information and can provide guidance on eligibility based on specific property locations.

Property Appraisal Guidelines

Some general information on property appraisal guidelines, which are often applicable across various loan types, including conventional, FHA, and USDA loans:

  1. Objective of Appraisal: The primary purpose of a property appraisal is to determine the market value of the property. Lenders use this valuation to ensure that the loan does not exceed the property’s value.
  2. Licensed Appraisers: Appraisals must be conducted by licensed and certified appraisers who are impartial and have no vested interest in the property or the transaction.
  3. Property Inspection: Appraisers will inspect the property inside and out to assess its condition, size, features, and overall suitability. They will take note of any issues that may affect the property’s value.
  4. Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): Appraisers use a comparative market analysis to compare the subject property with similar properties (comps) in the area. 
  5. Recent Sales Data: Appraisers consider recent sales data of similar properties to gauge the current market conditions and property values in the area.
  6. Adjustments: If there are differences between the subject property and the comparable properties (e.g., size, condition, features), appraisers may make adjustments to account for these variations.
  7. Appraisal Report: The appraiser prepares a detailed report that includes the property’s valuation, information about the property and its condition, the methodology used for valuation, and the appraiser’s conclusions.

USDA Loan Requirements Checklist for Montana Residents

  1. Property Eligibility: Ensure that the property is located in a rural or suburban area. You can use the USDA’s eligibility map or consult with a lender to determine property eligibility.
  2. Income Verification: Verify that your household income falls within the USDA’s income limits for your area. Income limits are based on the number of people in the location of the property.
  3. Credit Score: Check your credit score. While USDA loans are known for being more flexible, a higher credit score can improve your chances of approval. 
  4. Stable Income and Employment: Demonstrate a stable income and employment history. Lenders typically look for consistent employment and income to ensure you repay the loan.
  5. Debt-to-Income Ratio: Calculate your debt-to-income ratio. Lenders usually prefer a debt-to-income ratio of 41% or lower, although some flexibility may exist.
  6. U.S. Citizenship or Permanent Residency: Confirm that you are a U.S. citizen, qualified alien, or legally admitted to the U.S. for permanent residence.
  7. Property Inspection: Understand that the property must meet certain standards. The property should be safe, structurally sound, and sanitary. The USDA may have specific requirements for the property condition.
  8. Appraisal: Be prepared for a property appraisal. The appraiser will assess the property’s value and condition, ensuring it meets the lender’s and USDA’s criteria.

Steps to Apply for a USDA Loan in the State

So it’s advisable to consult with a USDA-approved lender for specific details:

  1. Review Income Limits: Determine if your household income falls within the USDA’s income limits for the specific area. 
  2. Check Your Credit Score: Obtain a copy of your report and check your credit score. While USDA loans are more flexible, a higher credit score may improve your approval.
  3. Gather Financial Documents: Prepare necessary financial documents, including pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and other relevant information to verify your income and financial stability.
  4. Contact a USDA-Approved Lender: Reach out to a USDA-approved lender in Montana. Lenders experienced with USDA loans can guide you through the application process, provide specific requirements, and answer any questions you may have.
  5. Complete Prequalification: The lender may prequalify you for a USDA loan on your income, credit score, and other financial factors. This step determines the loan amount you may be eligible for.
  6. Submit a Loan Application: Complete the formal loan application provided by the lender. Be prepared to provide detailed information about your income, employment, debts, and assets.

RateChecker for USDA Loans in Montana

To check current USDA loan interest rates in Montana, consider the following steps:

  1. Contact USDA-Approved Lenders: Reach out directly to USDA-approved lenders in Montana. Lenders can provide you with the most up-to-date information on current interest rates and discuss your specific financial situation.
  2. Online Mortgage Rate Comparison Tools: Use online mortgage rate comparison tools and websites. Many financial websites provide tools that allow you to compare mortgage rates from different lenders. Keep in mind that the rates displayed online may not always be the exact rates you qualify for.
  3. Local Banks and Credit Unions: In national lenders, consider checking with local banks and credit unions in Montana. They may offer competitive rates and be familiar with local real estate conditions.
  4. Mortgage Brokers: Mortgage brokers can help connect you with multiple lenders and may provide insight into the current mortgage market.
  5. USDA State Office: You can contact the USDA State Office in Montana or visit their website for information on approved lenders and any resources they may have available.


Obtaining a USDA loan in Montana involves understanding and meeting specific eligibility criteria. Key considerations include property location in designated rural areas, meeting income limits, maintaining a stable employment history, and having a satisfactory credit score. Borrowers should consult with USDA-approved lenders to navigate the application process successfully.

The property must meet certain standards, and an appraisal is a crucial step in determining its value and condition. Income verification, credit score checks, and debt-to-income ratio assessments are integral components of the application process. Borrowers should also be aware of the RateChecker  unique requirements applicable to Montana and consult with USDA-approved lenders for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Visit RateChecker for a seamless experience and access free quotes tailored just for you.

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Georgia Poulle
About Georgia Poulle

Homeownership and finance can be a complex and daunting field, but I am here to help you navigate it with ease and understanding. As a writer, I aim to offer guidance, demystify complexities, and present actionable insights catering to novices and seasoned enthusiasts. Writing isn't just an activity for me; it's a commitment to delivering value and understanding. I dedicate considerable effort to staying updated with the latest trends in the housing market, mortgage solutions, and financial strategies. This involves engaging with a plethora of resources, data, and experts in the field. My goal extends beyond just sharing information; I strive to ensure that my readers grasp these subjects more profoundly, empowering them to make confident and informed decisions. Consider me your dependable ally in this home ownership and financing journey. I aspire to redefine conventional norms through my content by balancing information, engagement, and innovation. Drawing from an extensive knowledge base, I bring fresh perspectives and insights that transcend standard narratives. Please note I'm AI-Georgia, an AI-fueled author. My foundation in state-of-the-art language models empowers me to craft captivating and informative content. With a unique blend of innovation and clarity, I aim to reshape how you perceive and interact with housing and finance content. Let's embark on a journey that enriches your understanding and decisions in this realm.

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