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How to Sell a Home Purchased With a USDA Loan

By Neighbors Bank Team May 9, 2024

Selling a home backed by a USDA loan presents a unique set of considerations and opportunities. This type of loan, designed to support rural homebuyers, carries specific conditions that can influence the timing and strategy of a sale.

In this USDA selling guide, we'll navigate through the essential factors you should consider when selling a home purchased with a USDA loan, from the intricacies of USDA loan obligations to analyzing market trends and assessing your financial standing. Whether you’re seeking to upgrade, downsize, or change your environment, understanding when and how to sell can lead to a more seamless and rewarding experience.

When can I sell my USDA home loan?

If you purchased your home with a USDA loan, you can sell the property at any time without penalty. USDA loans do not have a specific timeframe for how quickly you can sell your home after purchase.

Though there aren’t any specific limitations for when you can sell your house, the USDA does have other conditions to promote homeownership rather than real estate investments or house flipping. For example, USDA occupancy requirements state that you must occupy the home as your primary residence within 60 days of your closing date.

When to Sell Your USDA-Backed Home

When deciding when to sell your USDA home, it's smart to think about certain aspects like how much equity you've built up, the timing of the sale and current market factors. You'll need enough to cover the costs of buying and selling the property, and these elements can heavily influence your profit potential.

Here are the primary factors to consider to determine when you should sell your USDA home:

Home Equity: Equity, the value difference between your home's market price and the remaining mortgage balance, essentially determines your financial flexibility and potential profit from the sale. Accumulating enough equity usually results from consistent mortgage payments that reduce the loan balance, complemented by any increase in your home’s market value over time.

Timing: If you opt to sell too soon after purchasing, you might discover that the equity you’ve accumulated does not adequately cover all expenses associated with the transaction, such as agent fees, closing costs, and any home improvements made to attract buyers. On the flip side, allowing more time to build equity can provide a more substantial financial cushion, ensuring the sale covers all costs and potentially leaves you with a profit.

Market Trends: While USDA loans offer a forgiving structure for early mortgage payoff, sellers should strategically plan when to sell their homes based on current market trends. This planning involves a careful assessment of market conditions and comparable home sales and consulting with real estate experts for insights into the most opportune moment to sell.

Can you pay off a USDA loan early?

Yes, you can pay off a USDA loan early. USDA loans do not have prepayment penalties. This means you can make additional payments towards the principal balance of your loan without facing any penalties or fees.

This also means you can sell your home even if you haven’t paid off the entire USDA mortgage. This is a common scenario, where the sale proceeds are used to pay off the remaining mortgage balance at closing. Any remaining funds after paying off the mortgage and closing costs then go to the seller.

The sale price of your home affects your equity and potential profit from the sale by determining how much is left after settling the loan balance and any associated selling costs. A higher sale price may cover all debts and expenses, possibly leaving you a considerable profit, while a lower sale price could diminish or nullify any profit after mortgage repayment.

Paying Off a USDA Loan While Selling

To smoothly pay off your USDA loan when you sell your home, follow these 8 steps:

Steps to Pay Off a USDA Loan While Selling

Step 1. Inform your lender about your plan to sell your property as soon as you list it.
Step 2. Approximately 30-60 days before your anticipated closing date, get a payoff quote from your lender that outlines the total needed to settle your loan. This will include the remaining balance, accrued interest, and potential fees.
Step 3. Collect all necessary documents, such as your loan agreement and the property deed, for the sale and loan payoff.
Step 4. Work with a title company or real estate attorney to manage the closing process and ensure the loan payoff is handled correctly.
Step 5. Ensure the sale proceeds are used to pay off the loan amount directly to your lender at the property's closing.
Step 6. After fully repaying the loan, your lender should issue a lien release, indicating the property is no longer under their legal claim.
Step 7 . Verify with your lender and the USDA that your loan account is fully closed after receiving the lien release.
Step 8. Notify your homeowners' insurance provider and local tax office of the sale to update their records accordingly.

Potential Issues When Selling a USDA-Backed Home

Once you’ve decided it’s time to sell your USDA-backed home, there are certain considerations that come into play. Preparing for potential obstacles can help you navigate the selling process more effectively.

Here are some potential issues to be aware of:

  1. Building enough equity: Make sure you have enough equity in the home to cover all selling costs.
  2. Finding eligible buyers: If you're selling soon after purchasing, finding a buyer eligible for a USDA loan might speed up the process.
  3. Dealing with market conditions: The current real estate market might affect your selling price and timeline.
  4. Managing loan payoff: Coordinate the sale to ensure your USDA loan is paid off immediately.
  5. Obtaining a release of lien: You'll need to secure a release from the USDA after your loan payoff.
  6. Navigating USDA paperwork: Completing and submitting all necessary USDA paperwork correctly is vital.
  7. Adjusting property boundaries: If there have been any changes to your property's boundaries, these might need USDA approval before selling.
  8. Handling shared utilities: If your property has shared utilities with neighbors, this could complicate the selling process.
  9. Updating insurance and tax records: After the sale, promptly update your homeowners' insurance and property tax records.

Selling a House Purchased With a USDA Loan

The sale of a home purchased with a USDA loan involves a series of important steps to ensure the transaction is completed successfully and complies with the loan's terms. If you navigate these steps correctly, you can proceed to closing on the sale of your USDA-backed home.

Working with a title company or a real estate attorney can help manage the closing process, ensuring that the loan payoff is correctly processed and any issues are addressed. A title company or closing attorney will typically handle the USDA loan payoff, ensuring your mortgage repayment will be settled through the sale’s proceeds.

Once the loan is paid off, the lender will release a lien, indicating that the loan obligation has been fulfilled and the property ownership can be transferred to the buyer. From here, confirming the loan closure with your lender and the USDA and updating any relevant insurance and tax records are the final steps to conclude the sale and transfer of your USDA-financed home.

Written by:
Neighbors Bank Team
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