7 CFR § 3555.101 - Loan purposes.
(a) Eligible purposes. Loan funds may be used for:
(1) The construction or purchase of a new dwelling;
(2) The cost of acquisition of an existing dwelling;
(3) The cost of repairs associated with the acquisition of an existing dwelling; or
(4) Acquisition and relocation of an existing dwelling.
(b) Eligible costs. Loan funds also may be used to pay for the following items associated with the acquisition of a dwelling:
(1) Purchase and installation of essential household equipment in the dwelling such as wall-to-wall carpeting, ovens, ranges, refrigerators, washing machines, clothes dryers, heating and cooling equipment, and other similar items as long as the equipment is conveyed with the dwelling and such items are typically included in the purchase of similar dwellings in the area.
(2) Purchase and installation of energy-saving measures.
(3) Site preparation including grading, foundation, plantings, seeding or sodding, trees, walks, fences, and driveways to the home.
(6) Loan funds may be used to pay for reasonable and customary expenses related to obtaining the loan. Allowable loan expenses include:
(i) Legal, architectural, and engineering fees;
(ii) Title exam, title clearance and title insurance;
(iii) Transfer taxes and recordation fees;
(iv) Appraisal, property inspection, surveying, environmental, tax monitoring, and technical services;
(v) Homeownership education.
(vii) Reasonable and customary non-recurring closing costs associated with the mortgage transaction that do not exceed those charged other applicants by the lender for similar transactions such as FHA-insured or VA-guaranteed first mortgage loans. If the lender does not participate in such programs, the loan closing costs may not exceed those charged other applicants by the lender for a similar loan program that requires conventional mortgage insurance or guarantee. Allowable closing costs include the actual cost of credit reports, the loan origination fee, settlement fee, deposit verification fees, document preparation fees (if performed by a third party not controlled by the lender), and other reasonable and customary costs as determined by Rural Development. Payment of finder's fees or placement fees for the referral of an applicant to the lender is prohibited.
(ix) The prorated portion of real estate taxes that is due and payable on the property at the time of closing and to establish escrow accounts for real estate taxes, hazard and flood insurance premiums, and related costs.
(x) The amount of the loan up-front guarantee fee required by § 3555.107(g).
(xii) If the seller or other third party pays any of the costs described in this section, the amount of the costs paid by the seller or other third party may not be included in the loan amount to be guaranteed.
(c) Combination construction and permanent loan. Loan funds may be used and Rural Development will guarantee a “combination construction and permanent loan” as defined at § 3555.10, during the term of construction and prior to the borrower occupying the property, subject to the conditions in § 3555.105.
(d) Refinancing. Refinancing is permitted only in the following situations:
(i) The site is free and clear of debt;
(ii) The debt to be refinanced was incurred for the sole purpose of purchasing the site;
(iii) The applicant is unable to acquire adequate housing without refinancing; and
(3) The loan is a present Section 502 Direct or guaranteed loan, authorized under the Housing Act of 1949 subject to the following additional requirements:
(i) Three options for refinancing may be offered: Streamlined, non-streamlined, and streamlined-assist. Other than provided in this paragraph, no cash out is permitted for any refinance. Documentation costs and underwriting requirements of subparts D, E, and F of this part apply to streamlined and non-streamlined refinances.
(A) Lenders may offer a streamlined refinance for existing Section 502 Guaranteed loans, which does not require a new appraisal. The lender will pay off the balance of the existing Section 502 Guaranteed loan.
(B) Lenders may offer non-streamlined refinancing for existing Section 502 Guaranteed or Direct loans, which requires a new and current market value appraisal. The amount of the new loan must be supported by sufficient equity in the property as determined by an appraisal. The appraised value may be exceeded by the amount of up-front guarantee fee financed, if any, when using the non-streamlined option.
(C) A streamlined-assist refinance loan is a special refinance option available to existing Section 502 direct and guaranteed loan borrowers. Applicants must meet the income eligibility requirements of § 3555.151(a), and must not have had any defaults during the 12 month period prior to the refinance loan application. There are no debt-to-income calculation requirements, no credit report requirements, no property inspection requirements, and no loan-to-value requirements. There is no appraisal requirement except for Section 502 direct loan borrowers who have received a subsidy.
(v) The maximum loan amount cannot exceed the balance of the loan being refinanced including accrued interest, the guarantee fee, and reasonable and customary closing costs. When a direct loan is refinanced, any recapture amount owed may be included in the loan amount or deferred as long as the recapture amount takes a subordinate lien position to the new SFHGLP loan. A discount on the recapture amount may be offered if the borrower does not defer recapture or includes the recapture amount in the new loan.
(vi) Two options for refinancing can be offered. Lenders may offer a streamlined refinance for existing Section 502 Guaranteed loans, which does not require a new appraisal. Streamlined financing may not be available for existing Section 502 Direct loans. The lender will pay off the principal balance of the existing Section 502 Guaranteed loan. The new loan amount cannot include any accrued interest, closing costs or lender fees. The refinance up-front guarantee fee as established by the Agency can be included in the loan to be refinanced to the extent financing does not exceed the original loan amount. Lenders may offer non-streamlined refinancing for existing Section 502 Guaranteed or Direct loans, which requires a new and current market value appraisal. The new loan may include the principal and interest of the existing Agency loan, reasonable closing costs and lenders fees to extent there is sufficient equity in the property as determined by an appraisal. The appraised value may be exceeded by the amount of up-front guarantee fee financed, if any, when using the non-streamlined option. Documentation, costs, and underwriting requirements of subparts D, E, and F of this part apply to refinances, unless otherwise provided by the Agency.
(vii) Lenders may require property inspections and/or repairs as a condition to loan approval. Expenses related to property inspections and repairs required of the lender may not be financed into the new loan amount.
(x) The Agency may limit the number of guaranteed loans made for refinancing purposes based on market conditions and other appropriate factors.