Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.

How to get preapproved for a USDA loan

Check your credit score and income to find out if you’re approved for this government-backed loan.

Be ready to submit documents that show your income, employment history and debts during the USDA loan preapproval process. You’ll also need a credit score of 680 for automated underwriting or 640 for manual underwriting.

How to get preapproved for a USDA loan:

Applying for preapproval can help identify potential issues you may run into during the actual application process. Here’s how to get preapproved:

  1. Compare USDA-approved lenders based on the lender’s experience with USDA loans, customer service and underwriting requirements.
  2. Submit details about your income, assets and credit.
  3. Your lender reviews your application and eligibility.
  4. Receive your preapproval application decision.

Compare mortgage lenders and brokers

Compare these lenders and lender marketplaces by the type of home loan you're searching for, state availability and minimum credit score (for a conventional loan). Select See rates to provide the company with basic property and financial details for personalized rates.
Name Product Loan products offered State availability Min. credit score
(NMLS #1121636)
Conventional, Home equity, Refinance
Not available in: AK, HI, MO, NH, NM, NY, SD, WV
No hidden fees, multiple loan terms, and member discounts available.
(NMLS #330511)
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, Refinance
Not available in: HI, MA, MN, NV, NH, VT, VA
Online preapproval in minutes and no origination fees with this direct lender.
Axos Bank
(NMLS #524995)
Axos Bank
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, Home Equity/HELOC, Refinance
Available in all states
Purchase, refinance, and home equity options available with lender fees as low as $0 (restrictions apply).
Rocket Mortgage
(NMLS #3030)
Rocket Mortgage
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, Refinance
Available in all states
Streamline your mortgage from quote to final payment — all from your computer or phone.
(NMLS #1136)
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Home Equity, HELOC, Reverse, Refinance
Available in all states
Connect with vetted home loan lenders quickly through this online marketplace.

Compare up to 4 providers

What questions will I need to answer?

Be prepared to answer questions based on USDA’s strict eligibility requirements. Some questions include:

  • Credit score. USDA’s Guaranteed Underwriting System (GUS) is an automated system that wants to see a credit score of 680. Most lenders who use a manual underwriting system require a minimum credit score of 640. You may qualify with a score below 640, but you’ll need to show extenuating circumstances.
  • Income. USDA income limits vary depending on the property location. Your annual income cannot exceed the median household income by more than 15%. Check an area’s income limit on the USDA website.
  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Lenders prefer to see a DTI maximum of 29% for all your monthly housing expenses and your overall DTI should be no more than 41%.
  • Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. Your LTV can be as high as 100%.
  • Employment history. Lenders will likely request your previous two-year employment history but primarily look at the most recent 12 months on the job to make sure you have a steady income.

The USDA loan preapproval timeline

The preapproval process generally takes less than an hour. Your lender verifies your information and pulls your credit report. You should receive a preapproval letter within three business days.

Your preapproval letter usually lasts from 45 to 90 days, depending on the lender. Speak to a loan officer for a detailed timeline.

What happens if I’m rejected?

Your lender should tell you why it denied your USDA loan so you can try and reapply.

If your credit report is the issue, you can request a copy to check for any errors. If your debt-to-income (DTI) is too high, try to pay off some debts to lower the ratio. If your income is over the limit, you may consider qualifying in a different area with a higher median household income.

Another option is to apply with another lender with different eligibility requirements, or talk to a loan officer to see whether you qualify for another loan program.

If you reapply for preapproval, be sure to apply within 45 days to protect your credit score — some lenders do a hard pull on your credit.

Bottom line.

USDA loan preapproval is a way to check your USDA loan eligibility and address any issues before you apply for the loan. Be sure to compare lenders to see which option is best for you.

Frequently asked questions.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site