Government Shutdown Delays Ability to Buy a New Home

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- Newlyweds Kelly and Tommy Fritz thought it would be difficult to afford their first home until they found an option offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We started searching for houses and were really excited, especially when we found the USDA rural housing loans," said Kelly Fritz.

The rural housing loans involve no down payment and low monthly payments, but their approvals are also on hold due to the government shutdown.

"Right around when we found the house we wanted and put an offer on it, is when it shut down," said Fritz.

The Fritzes aren't alone in the wait.

"We have five customers waiting to close on their home mortgage. They been through underwriting. They've been approved. We're waiting for approval from Rural Development and there's no one to give us approval to do anything for them. I have one customer who is literally sleeping on couch because we can't get their loan done," said Franklin Bank & Trust Company Sr. Mortgage Lender Heidi Estes.

The Fritzes fear they may be next.

"We have a closing date of November 22, which was perfect because it gave us enough time to move out and finish the month of rent. But at this point, if our place is rented out and we've given our notice just hoping for the best, what's going to happen? You know, do we have to just put our stuff in a storage locker and sleep on a friend's couch," said the Fritzes.

Another uncertainty is whether those who have recently locked in loan rates face new potentially higher ones once the government reopens?

"Locks typically last 30, 45, 60 day increments, and if that time has come and gone, and you've not closed your loan, your at the mercy of the market," said Estes.

For now hopeful homeowners like the Fritzes feel they are still at the mercy of the government. Tommy Fritz says he's gone as far as to write his U.S. Representative asking for help.

Estes says Rural Housing Loans aren't the only ones effected. The approval process for many other loans has been slowed, because of the difficulty in verifying income as a result of the government shutdown.

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