Interested in Habitat for Humanity houses? This amazing program has been helping low income families obtain safe, affordable housing for years… and we are thrilled to be able to show you how to qualify and obtain your own Habitat home.
What is Habitat for Humanity?
Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit organization that focuses on creating safe, affordable housing for people worldwide.
You can find Habitat for Humanity houses in 1,400 United States communities. There are Habitat homes in all 50 US states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
How does Habitat for Humanity work?
This program isn’t like the other low income home buyer programs we’ve written about. Habitat for Humanity is completely unique in their approach to low income home ownership.
If your application is accepted, you will work closely with Habitat for Humanity. You will even invest “sweat equity” in your new home by helping construct your new home or other Habitat for Humanity houses in your area, volunteering at a Habitat ReStore or by taking classes.
Sometimes, Habitat will even allow children to contribute to the required “sweat equity” by earning good grades in school! The Jackson County Florida Habitat office awards one hour of sweat equity for every “A” grade a child earns.
Sweat equity helps offset the down payment and keep your initial costs low. According to David Rubel, author of If I Had A Hammer: Building Homes and Hope with Habitat for Humanity, “Habitat affiliates require only a small down payment because few low-income families can afford more than that. Instead, partner families are required to contribute sweat equity. The phrase sweat equity refers to an ownership interest created by the sweat of a person’s labor.”
Some people falsely believe that Habitat homes are free. This is not the case. In addition to your sweat equity, you must be able and willing to pay an affordable mortgage. Your mortgage payments are used to construct additional Habitat for Humanity houses.
Who qualifies for Habitat for Humanity houses?
Habitat for Humanity follows a strict nondiscriminatory policy when selecting homebuyers. Race and religion are not considered as factors. Anyone can apply to be a Habitat homeowner!
You need to be patient and committed to receive a Habitat house. Be prepared for a long road toward your home ownership because this is not a quick process.
You will also need to meet the following criteria, as listed on the Habitat website:
You must be in need of better housing. If you are dealing with poorly built, unhealthy, damaged or too-expensive housing, you’re an ideal candidate for a Habitat home. If you are disabled and living in an inaccessible home, you may also qualify.
You must be willing to invest sweat equity. Hundreds of hours of sweat equity are required of Habitat home buyers. Your hours may be spent building your own home or someone else’s. You may be volunteering in a Habitat ReStore or taking classes. Regardless, you have to be willing to commit to the required amount of hours.
You must be willing to pay an affordable mortgage. Habitat focuses on providing affordable housing to low income families. You must agree to pay an affordable monthly payment, which will then be used to build more Habitat homes.
How do I get a Habit house?
First, you will need to find your local Habitat for Humanity office and complete an application.
You will also be expected to participate in some financial education classes, even before your home is being constructed. You will learn about budgeting, credit repair, checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, loans, estate planning and much more. These classes often feature guest speakers from local banks and financial institutions. The financial education program is a part of the sweat equity that is required to purchase a Habitat home.
You will also spend hundreds of hours working on your home or the homes of others. You’ll partner with other volunteers and Habitat homeowners during this process. You may also be able to count other activities, such as volunteering in the Habitat ReStore, toward your required sweat equity.