USDA Home Loan Program runs out of cash

SPOKANE - The USDA Rural Development Loan Program is out of money, and would-be home buyers depending on it may be out of luck.

The program doesn't actually loan home buyers money; rather it backs or guarantees loans given to home buyers by banks. It's designed to encourage people in buy and build in traditionally rural areas. But as of May 12th the program is out of money, leaving potential home buyers like Mandy Berry in limbo.

"I was really excited about our new house. Now I'm stressed and nervous," she said.

Mandy and her husband decided to buy a Copper Basin home in Post Falls and went with a USDA loan because it required very little down payment. As their new home was built the excitement for this couple grew.

"We got to pick out everything on the house. Everything inside and out, floor plan and color," Mandy explained.

But then last Wednesday the Berrys found out that the USDA program they were depending on was out of money.

"The program ran out of money at the beginning of May," Mandy said. "Now we're stuck, we're in limbo."

That means all USDA homes that were supposed to close after May 12 ? the day the money ran dry ? can?t close. The homes have to sit as the USDA loan can't be processed.

"You have nowhere to live,? Mandy said. ?What if you've already given a rental notice that you can't stay, and then you find out you can't close on your house? Where are you gonna live?"

Mandy and her husband were supposed to close on their house on June 16, they have to be out of their rental by June 20. What happens if the USDA program isn't funded by then?

"We'd probably just have to stay in a motel for a little while until we can find somewhere to go," she said.

The Berry family?s situation is far from unique. Local mortgage companies report that 50-percent of their business is backed by USDA loans, and some local developers have roughly 15-percent of their home tied up in USDA loans. Now all of that business is up in the air.

"I spend days crying, upset ... I just hope this works out," Mandy said.

Unfortunately for it to work out the US Senate will have to vote to fund the program that's been promised to thousands of people across America.