Government shutdown stalling local rural home buyers relying on federal financing


The government shutdown is impacting local prospective home buyers who are relying on financing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's housing loan program.

People in rural areas across the country who rely on housing loans from the US Department of Agriculture are in limbo.

According to a map from the USDA, much of our area, including nearly all of Baldwin County, qualifies for the loan program.

Helga James, owner of Barr Group Mortgage in Baldwin County, said many folks who were in the process of closing could now watch their dream home go to someone else.

"It's a major impact. It could make a lot of people who are just achieving that American dream of home ownership not know what to do. They're lost," said James.

James specializes in USDA loans, which offer attractive incentives, including zero-down payments and favorable interest rates.

"USDA loans are made for those who really can't afford a different kind of loan. So it really helps a lot of people become homeowners," James said.

According to James, as of December 14th, 2018, the USDA isn't accepting any new applications, and not approving any already in motion. That means those who found the perfect home, can't close with the seller.

"There have been people that have been homeless. The seller, once the contract date expires, has the right to pull that contract. These USDA buyers will have to have another appraisal and another home inspection. They cant afford that," said James.

James said once Capitol Hill gets back to business, things likely won't immediately go back to normal.

"We're gonna have this huge back log because people are still shopping for houses. People are still being pre-approved. Right now, we're at a month and we don't even know what the back log is," James said.

James says the standard wait for the Alabama USDA office is 1 to 2 weeks under normal circumstances. Right now, there's no telling how long prospective buyers will have to wait to make their dreams come true.

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