Q: I work for the USDA in California. Your recent article on USDA home loans needs more clarification. The article only spoke of guaranteed loans, which are similar to VA loans. But the Rural Development [division] also has a 100 percent direct loan program that can be accessed at hundreds of local Rural Development offices.

This is a deep subsidy program with assisted rates as low as one percent (1%). The maximum note today would be 5.375 percent, forever. Go to rurdev.usda.gov.

A: Thanks for the update. These are mortgage programs for people who do not live in major metropolitan areas. See the website for more details, or call your local USDA Rural Development office.