Saturday, February 27, 2010

USDA Guaranteed Mortgage is a Great Alternative

Qualifying for a VA mortgage is not always easy.  The credit guidelines are very strict and not all homes will qualify.  If you fall a little short on qualification consider the USDA Rural development mortgages as a great option.  They are 100% loans too.

USDA basically has two purchase mortgage programs:  Direct and Guaranteed.  Both programs require that the property be located in a rural eligible area.  That generally means an area with a population less than 10,000.  You can determine if a property is eligible from this website:

Each program also has limitations on income and the income is derived from the median income in each county.  The guaranteed program is focused on the median income buyer.  The direct mortgage is for low and very low income families.  Low is defined as 50 to 80% of the median income and very low is 50% or less.  Yes, people on a fixed income can qualify.

The credit guidelines are different for each program.  Guaranteed is similar to conventional guidelines but there are exceptions and they allow for scores as low as 620.

The Direct Mortgage really lowers the bar on credit requirements.  It even allows for alternative credit if you don't have traditional credit.  There is no minimum score.  Sometimes they allow medical collections but cell phone, cable company, or credit card collections must be paid off if you don't have extenuating circumstances.  This is not a comprehensive list.

The USDA Direct mortgage is called direct because the funds for this loan come directly from the government.  (tax payer money, ... that is where the gov gets it's money)  A good thing about this loan is that if your income is low to very low the government will subsidize your payment.  That means they will make part of the monthly P&I for you.

The Guaranteed loan is actually originated through outside lenders or banks and then submitted to USDA for final approval and Guarantee.  USDA only guarantees the loan, they do not fund it.  You can research the guidelines from this site.  USDA Mortgage Guidelines

If you have questions submit them in the comment section and we will respond.

For more information about VA guidelines go to this site:  VA Mortgage Guidelines

Good Luck

Sunday, February 14, 2010

USDA and Department of the Navy Team Up

This is an article put out by USDA Rural Development.  I'll let you draw your own conclusions.


WASHINGTON, January 21, 2010 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of the Navy (DoN) today announced that leadership from the two departments have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to encourage the development of advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems.

"This agreement is part of President Obama's vision of a coordinated federal effort to build a clean energy economy, create new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "USDA looks forward to working with the Navy and other public and private partners to advance the production of renewable energy by sharing technical, program management and financial expertise."

Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus emphasized how partnering with USDA supports his vision for energy reform. Mabus' overarching goal is to increase warfighting capability. "In order to secure the strategic energy future of the United States, create a more nimble and effective fighting force, and protect our planet from destabilizing climate changes, I have committed the Navy and Marine Corps to meet aggressive energy targets that go far beyond previous measures."

From a strategic perspective the objective is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels from volatile areas of the world. Tactically, on the battlefield, the costs of transporting fuel is exponentially increased; in extreme cases a gallon of gasoline could cost up to $400. Mabus continued "Even more serious and sobering, we are putting our Sailors and Marines in harms way as fuel convoys often meet a lethal enemy." To address this reality Mabus recently announced five ambitious energy targets for the Navy and Marine Corps and biofuels are a major component of four of those goals. Those targets are summarized below:

  • When awarding contracts, appropriately consider energy efficiency and the energy footprint as additional factors in acquisition decisions.
  • By 2012, demonstrate a Green Strike Group composed of nuclear vessels and ships powered by biofuel. By 2016 sail the Strike Group as a Great Green Fleet composed of nuclear ships, surface combatants equipped with hybrid electric alternative power systems running on biofuel, and aircraft running on biofuel.
  • By 2015 cut petroleum use in its 50,000 non-tactical commercial fleet in half, by phasing in hybrid, flex fuel and electric vehicles.
  • By 2020 produce at least half of shore based installations' energy requirements from alternative sources. Also 50 percent of all shore installations will be net zero energy consumers.
  • By 2020 half of DoN's total energy consumption for ships, aircraft, tanks, vehicles and shore installations will come from alternative sources.
The MOU complements USDA and The Navy and Marine Corps' existing renewable energy programs and efforts. USDA has a variety of programs and services that support renewable energy development, including:

  • Rural Development loan and grant programs focused on developing renewable energy systems and helping agricultural producers and businesses adopt energy efficiency improvements;
  • The Farm Service Agency's Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which supports the establishment and production of crops for conversion to bioenergy, biobased products and power, and
  • The Research, Education and Economics division's comprehensive bioenergy research program focused on developing new varieties and hybrids of bioenergy feedstocks.
The Department of the Navy recently established a Naval Energy Office to develop and employ proven business models and investment strategies that leverage public and private investment to achieve naval, defense, and national energy goals.

The parties will work together to support President Obama's initiative to make the United States a global leader in developing a renewable energy economy, reducing energy consumption derived from fossil fuels, and increasing energy production from renewable energy sources. The United States has abundant natural resources – including wind, solar, hydrokinetic, ocean, geothermal, and land for biomass energy crops – that can be refined into biofuels to meet commercial, military transportation and other energy needs.

USDA Rural Development administers and manages more than 40 housing, business, and community infrastructure and facility programs through a network of 6,100 employees located in 500 national, state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $125 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) facilitates income support, disaster assistance and conservation programs for the nation's farmers. It provides operating loans for the procurement of farm equipment, seed and fertilizer, and offers ownership loans to help new and veteran producers purchase a farm. FSA also works to procure various commodities to benefit low-income families through domestic food assistance programs.

The Research, Education and Economics mission area is dedicated to the creation of a safe, sustainable, competitive U.S. food and fiber system and strong, healthy communities, families and youth through integrated research, analysis and education. This mission area includes the Agricultural Research Service, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the Economic Research Service, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Military Homosexual Guidelines

I spent 6 years in the United States Navy.  I think this article is over the top.  It does not represent reality or the relationships in the military, ... or in civilian life either.  Hello, ... homosexuals do not prey on heterosexuals.   Below is the article I found and it was sent by contact, ... who ever they are.  Sometimes they send good military stuff, sometimes not.  This article is total bullshit.

I am not homosexual but some of my friends are.  And they are friends that would back me up no matter what.  They are just people.  Hello.  Here is the article:

Gays showering with straights? Absolutely.

If President Obama, congressional Democrats, and homosexual activists get their wish, your son or daughter may be forced to share military showers and barracks with active and open homosexuals who may very well view them with sexual interest.

Talk about creating a hostile work environment for people who practice normative sexuality!

As former General Colin Powell observed in 1993 (before bowing to pressures of political correctness), " would be prejudicial to good order and discipline to try to integrate gays and lesbians in the current military structure."

He compellingly argued against the completely bogus comparison between race and sexual preference: "Skin color is a benign, nonbehavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument."

Here are some important facts:

Both the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (which includes four million vets) have come out strongly against overturning the ban, with the VFW calling it a "new social-engineering project."

More than 1,160 retired admirals and generals strongly oppose the change, saying that overturning the ban would "undermine recruiting and retention, impact leadership at all levels, have adverse effects on the willingness of parents who lend their sons and daughter to military service, and eventually break the All-Volunteer Force."

Richard H. Black, the former chief of the U.S. Army's criminal law division, citing numerous "criminal reports document[ing] serious offenses being committed frequently by homosexual GIs," calls the ban "an essential element of military discipline" which "must be retained."

Overturning the ban will likely preclude advancement and promotions for officers and chaplains who do not publicly affirm homosexual behavior, essentially ending their military careers.

If we do not insist that the ban on homosexual military service be retained, our military will no longer be the place America's families want to send their best and brightest young men and women.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Military Tax Tips

It's tax time again and ain't it just wonderful.  Seriously though we all need to take advantage of any deductions we qualify for.  Here are a few tips for military men and women.  I hope it helps you get through it.  You should also look through the Armed Forces Tax Guide put out by the IRS.

First you must understand just what is your Gross Income and what can be excluded, or not counted.  Not all the money you receive is taxable. These exclusions generally include: living allowances, moving allowances, travel allowances, combat zone pay, and death allowances.

If you are serving in a designated combat zone, then you can exclude certain pay from your income. The month for which you receive this pay must be a month in which you either served in a combat zone or were hospitalized as a result of wounds, disease, or injury obtained while serving in the combat zone. You need only serve for one or more days in a month to qualify for exclusion for the entire month. A few examples of pay types eligible for exclusion include:
  • Active duty pay earned in any month you served in a combat zone
  • Imminent danger/hostile fire pay
  • A reenlistment bonus if this extension occurs in a month you served in a combat zone
  • Pay for accrued leave earned in any month you served in a combat zone
  • Portion of any student loan repayment made for the year while serving in a combat zone

If you are on active duty and you move because of a permanent change of station, then you are entitled to a deduction for reasonable un-reimbursed moving expenses related to travel and the cost of moving household goods and personal effects.

You are able to deduct un-reimbursed work-related travel expenses when you are traveling away from your permanent duty station. You cannot deduct expenses related to travel overseas when you are stationed there, or when you are traveling for personal reasons. You are considered away from home when you are away from your permanent duty station for longer than an ordinary day’s work and you need sleep or food. Eligible expenses include business-related meals, lodging, laundry, and business phone calls.

If you are a member of a reserve component of the Armed Forces that must travel more than 100 miles away from home in connection with your service, then you can deduct your travel expenses as an adjustment to income.

The costs of traveling from one workplace to another, attending a business meeting away from your regular workplace, or traveling away from home overnight can be deducted from your income. However, the expenses of commuting to your regular place of work are not deductible.

Uniform expenses are not deductible, except when regulations prohibit you from wearing uniforms off duty. In this case, you can then deduct the un-reimbursed cost and expense of upkeep of the uniforms.

You can deduct dues paid to any professional society that is directly related to your military position (ex. engineering society), but you cannot deduct dues paid to an officers’ club or a noncommissioned officers’ club.

You can deduct the cost of work-related education if it is required by your employer or the law to maintain your salary, status or job or if it maintains or improves skills needed in your present work.

Good luck