Lenders have various "credit overlays" on this product. I have seen minimum credit score requirements, restricted seller's assist (USDA is unlimted), and homebuyer's counseling (USDA does not require) imposed by lenders and we do not.
Check out this 30 minute workshop on USDA when you have a moment.
Joseph S. Cordova NMLS# 146855
Lincoln Mortgage Company
8003 Lincoln Drive West, Suite F
Marlton, NJ 08053
direct fax: (206) 333-0946
cell: (856) 304-2381
I just worked with a buyer who closed on a house in Hunterdon County. The process went pretty smoothly. We closed in under 60 days. We had anticipated closing a little sooner but the USDA approval took about a week longer than expected. I'd recommend giving yourself a minimum of 45 days to close to be safe in case there are any hiccups along the way.
Overall though, it was a smooth transaction, and no harder than a conventional or FHA loan.
Best of luck,