How do I apply for a Habitat home?
Visit the Habitat Office between June 18-29 to pick up a pre-application. If, by the pre-application and credit report, it looks as though you have a chance of qualifying, we will contact you so that you may pick up a Homeowner Application between July 16-27. Fill out the application and return it to the Habitat Office no later than Friday, July 27 at 5PM.
What do I have to do to qualify?
You must owe less than $3,000 ($5,000 if most of your debt is for a car, medical bills, school loans, or refugee travel loan and you have a clean credit history), fall within the income guidelines, and/or currently live in housing that is inadequate for your needs.
I have turned in my application and all the documents. What happens now?
Your application will be assigned to an “application screener.” The screener may call you to confirm information that is on your application and to ask about information that may not be clear. The screener will request verification of income from your employer and rent paid from your landlord. He or she will also ask you for proof that you are paying on all bills that appear on your credit report.
Once the screener confirms that your situation falls within Habitat’s guidelines, he or she will call you to arrange for a home visit. Two screeners will visit you at your home, answer questions you may have, and look at your current housing situation. Habitat also checks to see if there are any outstanding liens against you.
How long will it be before I know if I am approved?
You will be notified within 30 days of submitting a completed application whether your application has been approved or denied.
What happens if my application is denied?
You will receive a letter from Habitat giving you the reasons it was denied and telling you what you need to change in order to be approved. There is help available for people who are seriously pursuing homeownership. We can lead you to those resources.
What happens once I am approved?
Once you are notified that you are approved, you will meet with one of the Habitat Family Services staff for an orientation. You will get all the information you need to start working on your “Sweat Equity” hours—a list of tools you will need, and an orientation to the job site. You will need to set aside some time (preferably every week) to work at Habitat. You will work on other people’s homes, and eventually you will begin building your own.
I work full time. When will I be able to earn Sweat Equity hours?
Most people earn their hours on their “off” day from work, usually Saturday. If your job requires you to work on Saturday, then we would expect you to work whenever your “off” day is.
You will have opportunity to earn your Sweat Equity in several ways: construction sites, ReStore, and the office. While we invite you to earn hours by working in the ReStore and in the office, our preference is that as you get closer to building your home, you spend hours working on the construction sites. We want you to become familiar with the staff and volunteers who will be working with you once your home gets started. The hours are listed below. (100 hours must be completed on YOUR home.)
- Construction Sites: Monday and Friday, 9AM – 3PM
Tuesday – Thursday, 9AM – 1PM
Saturday, 9AM – 3:00PM
- Habitat ReStore: Monday – Friday, 9AM – 5PM
Saturday, 9AM – 2PM
- Habitat Office: Monday – Friday, 9AM – 5PM
I don’t have any construction experience. Can I still qualify?
Of course! We teach people what they need to know. All you need is willingness to learn and a positive attitude.
I have disabilities that prevent me from doing construction work. Can I still qualify?
Of course! Habitat, as an equal opportunity lender, does not discriminate on the basis of disabilities. We will work with you to find other sweat equity opportunities that you are able to do.
Do I have to work all 500 hours (250 hours if single) by myself?
100 hours must be earned by the family—anyone 16 or over who will be living in the Habitat house. Friends and other family members can help with the other 400 hours (or 150 if you are single).
Where will I live?
Habitat builds simple, decent homes in areas where we can obtain inexpensive land. Homes are primarily in Elizabethtown, but we also build throughout Hardin County. You will be notified prior to start of construction on the location of your home.
When will I get to start on my own house?
Generally, families start building their own homes 6-9 months after they are approved for the program. Houses take approximately 18 weeks from start to finish.
Can I have a basement and a garage?
No. Habitat builds houses with crawl spaces or concrete slabs, not basements. We do not build garages. Habitat homes have central air conditioning, refrigerators and ranges, washer and dryer, and carpeting in the living room and bedrooms.
How much money does it REALLY cost?
You will need $1,200 before you move into your new home. This money is used for closing costs, which are expenses anyone purchasing a house has to pay.
In 2018, we sell a three-bedroom home for $85,000 and a four-bedroom home for $90,000. Prices will increase each year. Approximately $40,000 of the mortgage is forgiven over 20-25 years. Monthly payments will be approximately 25% of your gross monthly income, and will include principal, taxes, and insurance. It will take 20-25 years to pay off Habitat’s no-interest mortgage.
Can I sell my home after I move in?
Habitat intends for families to live in their Habitat homes. Sponsors and grants pay for part of the cost of a house and Habitat does not make a profit when you purchase the house. If you decide to sell your home before it is paid for, then only a portion of the $40,000 second mortgage may be forgiven, as well as the balance of the first mortgage. A forgiveness schedule is included in the closing documents.