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Homeowner FAQ

Does Habitat give houses away?

No, Habitat for Humanity is not a giveaway program. Habitat homeowners buy the houses that Habitat builds.

Habitat makes no profit on the sale. In the United States, Habitat homeowners purchase their houses through affordable monthly mortgage payments. In other countries, Habitat also works with partner organizations to serve even more families through innovative financing methods.

Habitat’s homeowners also invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, called "sweat equity," working alongside volunteers and other Habitat homeowners to keep the cost of their home low and affordable.

How are Habitat’s homebuyers chosen?

Families or individuals in need of decent, affordable shelter apply to their local Habitat organization, called an affiliate. Each affiliate’s homeowner selection committee chooses Habitat homebuyers for their local area, based on three criteria:

  • The homebuyer's level of need.

  • Their willingness to become partners in the program.

  • Their ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable payment plan.

Every affiliate follows a nondiscriminatory policy of homeowner selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in the Homeowner Selection Committee's choosing of potential homeowners.

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, age or familial status. Thus, our program is open to all household types including individuals, couples, single parents with children, couples with children, etc.

Are there any other restrictions to owning a Habitat house?

Yes. Like all other affordable housing programs, HFHNRV 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 instead. After a homeowner has fully paid off the mortgage, these restrictions are removed. 

If my income increases after I have bought my house, will that affect my monthly mortgage payment?

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.

How does Habitat determine the house size for each homebuyer? 

HFHNRV builds houses according to the number of members in a household. Our homes are affordable, energy efficient and provide adequate living and storage space for most homebuyers.

Can I have a garage or carport added to a Habitat house?

No. HFHNRV does not build garages or carports.

How does Habitat decide where to build? Can I ask for a specific location?

HFHNRV acquires land either through purchase or donation. 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. Homebuyers must first complete half of their "sweat equity" house and make half of their required down payment propt to becoming eligible to selecting a lot. 

How long is it from the time I apply for a home until I close and move in?

Typically, homebuyers close on and move into their homes about 18-24 months after their initial application is submitted. Since our program relies on sponsors to funds houses and community volunteers to help construct them, this timeframe may slow down slightly due various factors. This timeframe allows applicants to plan for their move, complete the "sweat equity" hours required by our program, and participate fully in the construction of their own homes.

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