How does Habitat work?
Habitat for Humanity (HFH) renovates and builds houses in partnership with qualifying families, using donated material and volunteer labor to keep costs low. HFH then sells the houses for no profit.
Who qualifies for a Habitat house?
Habitat has three criteria that applicant families must meet to be considered for selection as a Habitat homebuyer: (1) ability to re-pay a mortgage loan, (2) genuine need for adequate housing and (3) willingness to partner in the building and caring for the home. Applicants must have sufficient income and reasonably good credit to qualify for a mortgage loan. Applicants who meet these criteria are then considered by a Homeowner Selection Committee, without discrimination of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or age.
How much does a Habitat house cost?
The average appraised value of a HFH house is approximately $115,000. Mortgage payments ultimately determine the home’s affordability for a family, and are generally set at 24% of the home buyer’s monthly gross income. Mortgage payments include principal and escrow (taxes and insurance). On average, house payments are $450/month, but will not exceed 30% of the family’s monthly gross income. A down payment of $500 is required.
If I qualify, how long does the process take?
The average time for a family to move into their home once accepted is 18 months, depending upon the time of year, building schedule and the family’s level of participation.
How much choice will I have about my house?
There will be choices you will make. You may choose to live in the area where Habitat is building or wait until Habitat builds somewhere else. You are allowed to decline 2 times before being disqualified the third time. Choices about the number of bedrooms Habitat will build for a family are made by the Homeowner Resource Committee based on the household size and make up. You will usually have choices of color for siding or counter tops, cabinets or flooring, but at times our resources don’t allow for such choices.
What will my house be like?
Habitat provides simple decent houses that usually require little exterior maintenance. It is likely to have wood laminate and vinyl flooring. Your house will include a new washer and dryer, as well as dishwasher, range, refrigerator, and lawnmower. There may be times when these items are not available. New houses do not include a garage or carport.
What is my responsibility?
Selected families must be good partners in our housing ministry. They must meet requirements and deadlines as they move through the process, cooperating with others and keeping communication open along the way. After moving in, families are expected to make monthly mortgage payments to their lender on time and keep the house and yard well-maintained. Homeowners are totally responsible for their property and monthly utility bills.
Can I sell and/or make necessary repairs to my house?
If a homeowner needs to sell their house, Habitat for Humanity may have the first option to buy it at a fair market price. Once a home is purchased, it’s like buying a car; you may still owe the bank money, but the maintenance and care are your responsibility. Houses require maintenance and repair that make saving at least $150/month for those expenses important for successful homeownership.
Will there be publicity?
Habitat raises much of its funds through publicity throughout the community. Thus, homeowners will occasionally be asked to participate in events that will help publicize the work of Habitat. Such events might include fundraisers, newspaper or TV coverage, and photographs. This is necessary to maintain community involvement, but every effort is made to make the experience comfortable for the family. Each home is publicly dedicated with a ceremony and the family is presented a Bible and a hammer.
Does Habitat stay involved with the homeowners once they’ve moved in?
If the homeowners are paying their mortgage on time and keeping their house in good repair, Habitat is only as involved as the homeowner wants us to be.
What if a homeowner can’t pay their mortgage?
Habitat will work with the homeowner to come up with a different repayment plan. Every effort is made to keep the homeowner in their home; however, in the rare instance when a homeowner is unable or unwilling to cooperate, Habitat must foreclose.
Where does Habitat get the money to build houses?
Habitat relies on donations and grant monies from individuals, churches, businesses, and other organizations. Additional revenue comes from sales through the Habitat ReStore and from the mortgage payments made by homeowners.