Buying a home is already stressful, but Brittany Croston said the government shutdown has made it the "most miserable experience of my life."
Croston and her husband were trying to buy a house where they live in Banks County, Georgia. They were going to finance it with a rural development loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but under the partial government shutdown that office is closed, according to the department's contingency plan.
She said the family moved in with her husband's in-laws temporarily while the sale went through. They thought they would only be there for three weeks and in the new house in time for Christmas, but now they have to wait until the government reopens.
"I never thought I would be able to purchase my own home, now I'm finally there and I can't get it," she told ABC News on Saturday, adding "basically me and my husband are having to sleep on the bottom of a bunk bed and our kids are having to sleep up top."
Croston, who is 28, said houses are getting more expensive where they live in Banks County, Georgia, and that she needed the loan to buy one of the only houses in the area they can afford. She said she's worried now that the current owners of the house will decide to go back to renting the house or sell it to someone else if their loan doesn't go through soon.
"If they decide to back out on the loan then what do I do? I have to uproot our whole family from the community we love," she said.
She said feels like her three sons missed out on Christmas because they couldn't put up a tree or play with their toys because they don't have room. She said they're storing the gifts in the car because there isn't room in the house.
I never thought I would be able to purchase my own home, now I'm finally there and I can't get it.
"It's been very stressful because you work so hard to be fortunate enough to buy a home," she told ABC News.
The situation has also caused added expenses because they are helping with the bills where they live now, paying for a storage space, and eating out for almost every meal. She said her kids go back to school this week and she may have to work from home, adding even more stress to the situation.
According to an email from the bank, Crosten's loan was cleared but couldn't be issued during the government shutdown ended and the USDA office reopened. "Until USDA reviews it and issues the commitment, we aren't able to close," Marla Loggins,the branch manager of the bank handling the mortgage, wrote in an email to Croston's real estate broker Robert White.
Loggins said the bank has other clients in the area waiting to close on their homes, mostly young families or couples who use a USDA loan that helps when they don't have enough savings for a full down payment.
USDA confirmed in a statement that single-family housing loan applications are not being processed during the shutdown. "Borrowers who didn’t receive an obligation letter and required paperwork from USDA before the shutdown began will not be able to close a loan at this time," a spokesperson told ABC News in an email.
White also said he has at least one other client whose loan is on hold during the shutdown.
"[The government shutdown is] not only affecting government employees, it's also affecting homeowners who are trying to fulfill that dream of home ownership," he told ABC News.
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