What does it take to own Habitat for Humanity housing? Is the application process complicated? We’ll answer those questions and more in this article.
For over 40 years, Habitat for Humanity has been building safe, affordable homes for over one million families. While the organization won’t give you a house for free, their application process is pretty straightforward.
What does the Habitat housing application process entail? We’ll take a look at those steps, but first, let’s take a look at what it takes to qualify for one of their homes in the first place.
Qualifications to Become a Habitat for Humanity Homeowner
Since Habitat for Humanity operates all around the world, each local office or affiliate has its own set of requirements for homeownership.
According to their main page, however, here’s what it takes to be considered an eligible Habitat homebuyer:
1. You must be in need of better housing.
If you currently live in housing that is inadequate, damaged, unhealthy, or poorly built, you could pass the first test of the Habitat housing application process.
Other situations that show a need for better housing include having a disability and living in an inaccessible home. If a natural disaster damaged your home, that could indicate a need for better housing as well.
2. You must be willing to become a Habitat partner.
As mentioned, Habitat homes are not free. You will have to pay a mortgage on your home, although that payment will likely be low when compared to standard housing.
Although paying your mortgage on time is essential, Habitat places even more emphasis on its “sweat equity” principle.
This entails helping to build your own home and the homes of others in the program or volunteering at a Habitat ReStore project where repairs are performed.
The amount of sweat equity hours you must put in varies according to your local affiliate. You can expect it to be in the hundreds, however. You may also have to take classes on home maintenance, personal finance, and other topics that can help you become a responsible homeowner.
3. You must be able to make timely payments on your mortgage.
To repeat what was said above, mortgages are a must on Habitat homes. Luckily, they are low since the costs to build such homes are smaller than typical housing.
Habitat takes mortgage payments and cycles them back into the community to build even more homes for other families.
4. You must meet specific financial requirements.
Your Habitat housing application will only be approved if you meet certain financial requirements from your local affiliate.
Showing a history of savings, even if it’s in small amounts, can help. Decent credit will be necessary too. Last but not least, your family’s income must meet a certain threshold for your area. It cannot be too high nor too low.
How to Apply for a Habitat House
If you feel like you could be eligible for a Habitat house, call 1-800-HABITAT (1-800-422-4828) or go here to find your nearest affiliate.
Each affiliate has its own website that may list the actual income requirements, plus other information on how to get your Habitat housing application in motion.
The typical approval process includes the following:
- Attending a local information session.
- Setting up an appointment to complete your application.
- Completing your application.
- An in-home interview with a member of Habitat’s staff.
- Getting approved.
- Attending orientation.
- Gathering your initial deposit (like a down payment on a regular home).
- Starting your sweat equity.