If your local economic has tanked and home values are still in the basement, you might be stuck with your home for a while. But if you live in the boonies, look into low-cost money for home repair from the USDA. Freshen up the place and make it feel, if not new, a bit new-ER. If your residence requires home improvements and you're wondering how you'll possibly afford them, you might be in luck.

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Interest-ing! VERY interest-ing!

The rate on these loans is one percent. Yup, not kidding. ONE percent! You won't likely find a better time to make necessary repairs or replace a roof, fix electrical boogers, upgrade plumbing, siding, or improve energy efficiency through replacement windows and insulation. You could also replace an old creaky furnace, septic tank, or install accessibility upgrades for a disabled resident.

The home loan repair program comes with a maximum loan amount of $20,000 and features a 1 percent interest rate for up to 20 years. The truly needy 62 and older may even get grants of up to $7,500 that require NO repayment. The low interest rate and extended terms of the loan make repayment more affordable for households with limited income.

How affordable?

Extremely! A $20,000 loan at 1 percent interest for 20 years would have a monthly payment of $92, compared to a conventional home equity loan with an interest rate of 8 percent for 15 years, with a monthly payment of $191.

You have to own and occupy the home and you can't exceed income guidelines that are established by county and household size (sorry, Donald Trump). The income for your household size can't exceed 50 percent of the area median income. For example, in rural areas of Washoe County, Nevada (outside the Reno metropolitan area), the maximum qualifying income for a family of 4 is $56,950. You can run your own scenario through the income and property eligibility page of the USDA, or simply contact lenders who offer these programs in your area.