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Homeowner Help

June 1, 2008
Leader Herald

The Leader-Herald

NORTHVILLE — Chris Doyle of Northville has lived in the same house for several years, but he now owns the home he once leased.

Doyle is a single father of three and qualified for a U.S. Department of Agriculture 502 Direct Loan. He said he has several people to thank for his home ownership.

“Sharon King and everyone at the USDA were great,” he said. “And it may have been possible working for someone else [other] than Allen and Palmer True Value, but [it would] not [have worked out] as well.”

According to the USDA Web site, individuals or families using the Under the Direct Loan program receive direct financial assistance directly from the Housing and Community Facilities Programs in the form of a home loan at an affordable interest rate.

Doyle said his employers allowed him to get to the meetings, inspections and other steps to secure ownership of the house. June is Home Ownership Month, said Sharon King, area specialist at the USDA’s Office of Rural Development in Johnstown. She said Doyle is a good example of how people can benefit from the USDA home loan program.

“The program has been around since the 1970s under various names,” King said. “Applicants must have a low income, which for a family of four means less than $42,150.”

Applicants must be employed and able to pay a modified payment for their home, which for a minimum would be $18,000, according to King.

The payments are partly subsidized based on family income and size of the household, King said, and the home must be outside of a city center.

King said the program is set up so an applicant can put no money down and have up to 38 years to repay the subsidized mortgage.

Doyle said if it wasn’t for the program, he wouldn’t have been able to afford the normal 20 percent down and 8 percent mortgage payment he said a typical bank loan would have entailed.

“It would have taken all our financial safety cushion,” he said.

The school is nearby for his three children, and he said he is happy to raise his children in a rural environment with the stability of home ownership. Doyle’s three children are Kirsten, 13, Brian, 12, and Amanda, 9.

“I put the interests of my kids first,” Doyle said.

The home Doyle purchased also has history and character, he said. It was built in the post-Civil War period, and he has a picture showing previous residents Charlotte Duncan and her younger brother Glenn Duncan about to go skiing down a nearby hill in 1916.

He said when Charlotte Duncan Russel died recently, she was the oldest person in Northville, having turned 100 on Sept. 21, 2005

“The house was built by a guy named Perkins in the late 1800s,” Doyle said.

He said it gave him great place to have a home within his budget “without risking going belly-up with too big a mortgage.”

Doyle said the home had been renovated about 10 years ago and the loan he obtained from the USDA included money to fix up the exterior and install new steps and a garage roof.

“I wanted to make sure the house would go another 30 years with the renovations,” he said.

Richard Nilsen is a general assignment reporter and can be reached at

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Richard Nilsen

Christopher Doyle looks over his home in Northville Wednesday.

Fact Box

502 Loans

• Purpose: Section 502 loans are primarily used to help low-income individuals or households purchase homes in rural areas. Funds can be used to build, repair, renovate or relocate a home, or to purchase and prepare sites, including providing water and sewage facilities.

• Eligibility: Applicants for direct loans from HCFP must have very low or low incomes.Very low income is defined as below 50 percent of the area median income; low income is between 50 percent and 80 percent of AMI.

• Terms: Loans are for up to 33 years (38 for those with incomes below 60 percent of AMI and who cannot afford 33-year terms).

• Standards: Under the Section 502 program, housing must be modest in size, design and cost. Modest housing is property that is considered modest for the area, does not have market value in excess of the applicable area loan limit, and does not have certain prohibited features.

• Approval: Rural Development officials should make a decision within 30 days of the Rural Development office’s receipt of the application.

For more information, visit



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