Some of our most Frequently Asked Questions about homeownership are answered here. You’ll find information about the following:
Habitat home eligibility.
Owning a Habitat home.
Building a Habitat home.
DO YOU GIVE AWAY HOMES TO PEOPLE WHO ARE POOR, DISABLED OR ON WELFARE?
No. Habitat for Humanity is both a builder and a mortgage company.
All applicants who qualify for a home must have a steady source of income, from working and/or non-working sources, and must repay a 20-30 year mortgage with on-time, in-full payments each and every month.
DO I HAVE TO HAVE CHILDREN TO QUALIFY FOR A HABITAT HOUSE?
No. Habitat is a Fair Housing agency, which means we do not discriminate based on race/color, religion, sex/gender, national origin, disability, or familial status. Thus, our program is open to all household types including individuals, couples, single parents with children, couples with children, etc.
IF I BUY A HABITAT HOUSE, CAN I EVER SELL IT?
Yes. Families who purchase Habitat-built homes can sell them at any time.
Habitat retains a “right of first refusal” that requires an owner to ask Habitat if it wants to purchase the house before the owner sells the home to a third party. Otherwise, just like any other homeowner, selling a house typically requires marketing it through a real estate broker (including paying commission), continuing to pay one’s mortgage until it is sold, and living in it for several years before there’s enough equity to “make money” on it.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER RESTRICTIONS ON OWNING A HABITAT HOUSE?
Yes. Like all other affordable housing programs, Habitat for Humanity requires that its houses are homeowner occupied. This means that you cannot use it for business purposes, move out and leave it empty, rent it out, or move out and let others live there in your place. Sometimes a granting agency will have additional restrictions that apply. After a homeowner has fully paid off the mortgage, these restrictions are removed. And, like all other mortgage companies, Habitat requires that the property (house and yard) are maintained in good condition.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED GROSS ANNUAL INCOME?
Gross annual income is the total amount of income earned annually. Gross annual income represents the amount of money a person earns in one year from all sources before taxes.
IF MY INCOME INCREASES AFTER I HAVE BOUGHT MY HOUSE, WILL THAT AFFECT MY STATUS?
No. Habitat encourages all of its homeowners to continually improve their financial status through additional education, training, or job promotions/changes that provide better pay, hours and/or locations.
Our hopes are that having a stable home will free up time and energy to pursue additional opportunities. We’ve had homeowners who have consistently paid their mortgages, continued to work and returned to school for certifications or degrees to increase their earnings.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I CAN’T WORK DUE TO ILLNESS/INJURY OR HAVE MY HOURS CUT AND CAN’T PAY MY MORTGAGE?
Our staff works directly with homeowners if they cannot pay their mortgage due to temporary or permanent changes in income. Habitat meets with homeowners to better understand the circumstances, puts plans in place to get payments back on track, and sends monthly letters documenting progress.
We work with all of our homeowners who have the commitment, follow-through and resources to help them keep their houses.
The key is open communication between our homeowners and our staff.
IF I WANT HABITAT TO BUILD A HOUSE WITH MORE SPACE OR BEDROOMS THAN HABITAT’S GUIDELINES ALLOW, CAN I DO THAT?
No. Habitat builds houses according to the number of family members in a household. Our homes are affordable, energy efficient and provide adequate living and storage space for most families. Our 3-bedroom houses are typically around 1100 square feet and typically have one or one-and-a-half bathrooms. However, if the homeowner wishes to add on to the home at his or her own expense at a later time, that is up to the homeowner.
CAN I HAVE A GARAGE OR CARPORT ADDED TO A HABITAT HOUSE?
No. Habitat does not build garages or carports. We purchase lots that are large enough to build a house with a 2-car parking pad, but, typically, there is not additional room for these other features. However, if the homeowner wishes to add a garage or carport at his or her own expense at a later time, that is up to the homeowner.
IF I OWN LAND, CAN HABITAT BUILD A HOUSE ON IT?
Our program is for first-time homeowners, anyone who has not owned a house in three years, or ever. If you own land in Madison or Clark County, we might be able to construct a home on it, but our construction department will need to evaluate it. But, more importantly, you will need to apply and be approved for our home ownership program in the exact same manner as all other applicants. Only after you’ve met our home ownership program criteria will we look at this possibility.
HOW DOES HABITAT DECIDE WHERE TO BUILD? CAN I ASK FOR A SPECIFIC LOCATION?
Habitat acquires land either through purchase or donation, so we have limited areas where we build. Applicants who want to be part of our program will need to be open about the location of their future homes and willing to live where we are currently building. Applicants will need to choose a location based on the current/upcoming construction sites at the time they apply. We do not accept applicants requesting specific locations.
HOW LONG IS IT FROM THE TIME I APPLY FOR A HOME UNTIL I CLOSE AND MOVE IN?
Typically, families close on and move into their homes about 18 months after their initial application is submitted. However, because our program relies on sponsors to fund houses and community volunteers to help construct them, this time frame is variable.
On the other hand, this time frame allows applicants to plan for their move, complete the sweat equity hours required by our program (a minimum of 350), and participate fully in the construction of their own homes
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