Because Surry, Wilkes and Yadkin counties are considered rural areas, the United States Department of Agriculture can assist potential homeowners who qualify with low-interest loans or with existing homeowners in need of funding for home repairs.
Kelley Woodley, team leader for USDA’s Rural Development single family housing program, recently gave a presentation to church and community leaders about the services his office can provide for residents of Surry County and the greater Yadkin Valley community.
The presentation was coordinated by the staff of the Upper Yadkin Valley Habitat for Humanity, who wanted to share other resources that might be available even if a family doesn’t qualify for the habitat program.
Woodley explained that qualifying applicants can received home mortgage loans at an interest rate of 3.25 percent for 33 to 38 years. There are a few stipulations such as the purchaser must occupy the property as a primary home, so it can’t be used for rental property.
Income guidelines do not follow poverty incomes, instead in Surry County a family of up to four members seeking a loan must have an annual income of $40,650 or less. With more than four family members, that maximum income level increases to $53,650. For Yadkin County, those levels are $45,350 and $59,850.
Loans can be accessible up to $235,612 for potential homeowners in Surry and Yadkin counties, but the final amount awarded is based on what a family can afford, Woodley said.
The only cost to apply for these loans is a $25 fee to pull credit score information, he explained.
“If there are no negative blemishes, then we move to the next step, making sure they are income eligible and making sure they have a stable and dependable employment,” said Woodley.
He said every application is handled on a case-by-case basis, but typically a credit score of 640 or higher with no civil actions attached are considered.
Help is available to fill out applications for those who may need it. Woodley said he is occasionally available to meet with applicants in Dobson, though he’s more likely to be available in the Shelby, Statesville and Winston-Salem offices.
Another program those in the area could be eligible for helps fund needed home repairs. The loans for home repairs can be spread over 20 years of payments at a 1-percent interest rate. The maximum loan amount is $20,000, but those applying must own and occupy the home, and they must meet income and credit requirements.
Repairs funded by loans can include projects like roof, heating and air, weatherization, flooring and other needed items.
In addition, $7,500 grants are available for applicants who are 62 years or older and own and occupy their own home. Those grants are allowable only to repair health and safety hazards or to make a home accessible for residents with disabilities.
“We have seen folks that really need the help,” Woodley said.
He and his staff are available to visit and speak with groups about what the USDA offers and how they can help people in the community, Woodley said of these and other programs available.
More information on these programs can be found at www.rd.usda.gov/nc, and Woodley can be reached at 704-284-5770 or via email at [email protected]
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.