Looking to become a Habitat for Humanity homeowner? Below are some common questions our applicants have. If you do not find answers to your questions below, please call us at (206) 855-5193 or send a quick email.
How can I buy a Habitat home?
We sell homes to families who meet our program’s qualifications and agree to contribute sweat equity hours building their home. Therefore, each applicant must agree to partner with us in the program, which includes providing all documentation needed as well as attending homebuyer education classes and working 250 hours of sweat equity. Basic requirements to own a Habitat home are provided on our homeownership page.
What is the first step toward purchasing a new house?
If you are interested in the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Program and have reviewed the requirements to see if you qualify, the next step is to sign up for the mailing list. Email notification will be sent through email of any upcoming housing opportunities and given instructions on how to apply if you are interested.
How are the applicants selected?
Applications are first reviewed for basic eligibility. We will ask homeowner applicants to submit financial documentation with their application. Applicants are asked to meet with an WSHFC approved lender to secure financing for an “Affordable Mortgage.” At the same time an in-office interview will be conducted by our Family Selection Committee. Once Habitat has all of your information and a pre-approval letter from your lender, your file is evaluated by the Selection Committee. The selection process is very competitive, if you do not qualify the first time, don’t give up! If you do not qualify at any time during the application process, you will receive a letter in the mail explaining why.
Will credit checks or background checks be conducted?
Yes. Habitat checks the credit of applicants and does criminal background and national sex offender registry checks on all adult household members. A criminal history does not automatically disqualify an applicant; any issues that come up in a background check will be dealt with on an individual basis. Habitat will verify employment, check credit and make an assessment as to whether Habitat is an appropriate program for the applicant(s). While Habitat has a minimum credit score requirement of 620. The applicant will need to meet the credit requirements of both Habitat and the lender they choose.
How do you define “family?” Do I have to have children to be pre-approved?
Habitat serves all types of households and families. A “family” can be singles, couples, partners, families with or without children, multi-generational families, etc. Familial status, age, race, color, religion, sex, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origins play no part in the choice.
What is sweat equity?
Sweat equity is the volunteer time participants invest in earning the right to purchase their Habitat house at an affordable mortgage. Following approval by the selection committee, the applicant must complete 250 hours of sweat equity hours, the majority of which is completed on the construction site. Habitat makes accommodations for any applicant who cannot work on site due to physical limitations.
What kinds of houses does Habitat build or remodel?
We build two to four bedroom, wood frame houses with approximately 900 to 1400 square feet depending on the family size. Remodeled house square footage and amenities vary. A stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, and dishwasher are provided with all houses. Often Habitat houses or remodeled houses are attached, and share walls. Habitat houses can be condominiums, duplexes, multiplexes, or single dwellings. Habitat builds and sells simple, decent houses.
Do applicants get to choose the location or design of the home?
Habitat does not build custom houses. Habitat will choose the size of the house based on household size and affordability. The location of the house is dependent upon where Habitat is building or remodeling houses.
How much will the Habitat house cost?
Habitat sets the sales price at what it costs to build the home. Because of this, the actual sales price cannot be determined until construction is complete. Habitat will work with you and a WSHFC approved lender to secure financing. The amount of the financing you get will be based on your income, your credit history and the amount of money you owe on things like car payments and credit cards. Most Habitat homebuyers are unable to get enough financing to cover the price of the home. This is where Habitat comes in, providing you with additional financing.
No matter what the price of the house, Habitat is committed to keeping your monthly housing payments affordable. This monthly amount will include the mortgage and interest payment, homeowners’ insurance, HOA dues, ground lease payment and property taxes. Habitat homebuyers generally pay no more than 35% of their gross income on their monthly housing payments.
Will I be allowed to sell my Habitat house?
Yes, but there are resale restrictions on all of our properties. The type of resale restriction varies so it’s important that all Habitat homeowners contact our Director Homeowner Services at (206) 855-5213 if they want to sell their Habitat home.