The USDA offers a prime choice for low to moderateincome homebuyers

"I'd like to write to the president about expanding this program," says Tom Dixon of Catawba County, North Carolina. In referring to the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Administration mortgage, Tom enthuses that, "It's a great program . . . this loan can get people into their own houses. This loan makes a tremendous difference to their lives. Under this program, anyone who has a steady job and good credit can afford a house. That's the wonderful thing about this loan."

Although you have heard of FHA financing, do you know its cousin, the Rural Development Administration (RDA, formerly known as the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA)? If you can live in a small city or rural area outside a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the Rural Development Administration could provide your easiest route into home ownership. RDA offers several low- or no-down loan programs. In addition, if you earn less than 80 percent of a rural county's median income, RDA will subsidize your mortgage payments.

Funding amounts and specific eligibility requirements for RDA mortgages change frequently. To learn what's currently available in your area, call a mortgage lender who is familiar with RDA loans. Look in the yellow page mortgage ads for FmHA or Rural Development Administration loans. For great financing on low- to moderate-priced houses, it's tough to beat RDA.

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