Making Homeownership Dreams Come True for Young Mitchellville Family

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Darin Leach
(515) 284-4747
Celebrating homeownership with Heather Trotter

Heather Trotter, a Des Moines native and mother of two very active young boys, always dreamed of raising her family in a smaller, rural community. 

Trotter recently accomplished this goal by using a USDA Rural Development home loan program to purchase a home in Mitchellville, a community with around 2,300 residents just 30 miles east of Des Moines

“I felt like the USDA program was designed specifically for me,” said Trotter. “It has allowed me to put my boys in the best possible place in my eyes and helped me find the home of my dreams, two important steps that I otherwise would not have been able to achieve.”

Trotter was introduced to USDA’s program through Heather Lampe, a real estate agent with Century 21.

“I knew I found the right home the minute I walked inside,” Trotter added. “By the time I toured the basement I whispered to my realtor ‘I want this house!’

Earlier this summer USDA Rural Development staff visited with Trotter in her home to celebrate her accomplishment and present her with a flag that was flown over the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Recent changes to USDA Rural Development’s housing programs mean more rural Iowans can now achieve their homeownership goals.

Earlier this year the maximum mortgage limit for a USDA Rural Development direct home loan increased to $220,532, a jump of nearly $3,700 from the previous mortgage limit.

Also, a typical income limit for a one-person household using the USDA direct home loan program to purchase a home in an eligible rural Iowa community or area is now $41,250. For a family of four a common limit is $56,600.

Income limits vary by county and household size, so applicants are encouraged to contact USDA Rural Development staff for limits in their specific area.

“Homeownership provides a strong foundation to help build household wealth, start a business, fund education through home equity, or give someone a chance to build a better future,” said Timothy Helmbrecht, USDA Rural Development Acting State Director in Iowa.

The interest rate for USDA Rural Development’s direct home loan program is 3.25 percent for a 33-year term. The program can be used to assist rural Iowans with buying a home, financing the construction costs of a new home or making significant home repairs.

Program features include no down payment and long-term, fixed-interest-rate financing. Also, payment assistance with interest rates as low as 1 percent may be available to applicants with qualifying incomes. 

The lower interest rate makes monthly payments affordable, and often may be less than rent.  For example, a $100,000 loan at 3.25 percent would have monthly principal and interest payments of $413. If an applicant qualified for a 1-percent loan the monthly payment would be only $297.
USDA Rural Development also offers a guaranteed home loan program with a typical income limit for a one- to four-person household of $78,200 with no down payment required. Applicants work directly with their lenders to establish mortgage rates and terms. 
Loans, and some grants, are also available to help families make needed repairs to their homes.

Applicants are encouraged to contact USDA Rural Development staff before September 1, 2017 to take full advantage of all the agency’s housing programs.

Further information about housing programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by calling (515) 284-4444, visiting, or emailing

USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas.  Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.

Fast Facts

Obligation AmountDirect Home Loan
Date of ObligationJuly 2017
Congressional DistrictCongressman Young
Senator's Last NamesGrassley and Ernst