What is the first step for Habitat homeownership?
The process of home ownership begins by submitting an application during the designated open application period. Applications are generally accepted once per year. Check the “Apply” page to see if we are accepting applications at this time. Applications are available in our office and at the Habitat ReStore. They will also be available on our website during the open application session.
If we are not accepting applications, please check back later. We will post on the website as soon as we have the next application period scheduled.
Can only families with children apply?
People qualify for a Habitat home by needing adequate, affordable housing, being able to pay for their mortgage, in addition to other monthly expenses, and have a willingness to partner with Habitat to build their home and support the Habitat mission. Habitat for Humanity of Cabarrus County does not discriminate against race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin.
What documents are required to apply for a Habitat home?
- Application completely filled out, signed and dated
- Birth certificates for Applicant, Co-Applicant, and dependent children
- Social security cards for Applicant, Co-Applicant and dependent children
- Last two years Federal Income Tax Returns
- Last two years W-2 forms
- Income verification (check stubs from most recent 60 days, award letters and verification of other income)
- Marriage certificate, Separation Agreement or Divorce Decree
- All bank statements from the most recent two months (checking, savings, money market, etc.)
- Last month's original utility bills and debt statements
- HFHCC Request for Employment Verification filled out and signed by employer
- HFHCC Request for Landlord Reference filled out and signed by landlord
- HFHCC Government Monitoring Form
- Child Support Order (if applicable)
- Car title or Payment Receipt (if applicable)
- Bakruptcy Discharge or Dismiss Notice (if applicable)
- Visa / Work Visa / Permanent Residency Card / Citizenship Papers
How do you choose homeowners for the Habitat homes?
After an applicant hands in a complete application for housing with the required support documentation, the Homeowner Services Coordinator begins by evaluating an applicant’s financial eligibility. This consists of reviewing income documentation and a credit report. Items that may detract from an applicant’s financial eligibility include outstanding collections, excessive debts, recent bankruptcy and any unpaid judgments or liens. The Coordinator is also looking for sufficient stable income to ensure the applicant is ready for the financial responsibility of homeownership.
If the applicant meets financial requirements, there will be a home visit from the Habitat Homeowner Selection Committee. Here the Committee gathers information about the applicant’s need for housing and willingness to be an active partner with Habitat throughout the program. After the Homeowner Selection Committee approves an applicant’s eligibility it presents recommended applicants to the HFHCC Board of Directors for final approval.
One of the selection criteria is “need for housing.” What does “need for housing” mean?
“Need for housing” generally means that an applicant’s current housing is inadequate. The Homeowner Selection Committee typically chooses applicants who can prove at least one of the following housing conditions:
- Substandard Housing:Your housing may have maintenance and/or structural issues that create health and safety problems (such as mold, poor heating or plumbing, or unsafe construction.) Your house is overcrowded or is not good for handicapped/disabled family members.
- Temporary Housing:You have temporary living arrangements or transitional/subsidized housing.
- Excessive Cost:Your total housing costs (rent and necessary utilities) are more than 30% of your income.
What is good credit?
Good credit means that you pay all your bills on time each month and you don’t have excessive debt. Your credit is your responsibility and maintaining good credit is one of the most important things you can do for your financial health. Having good credit means that you have a good credit report. A credit report is a record of the personal financial transactions that make up your credit history, such as credit cards, car loans, personal loans and negative items such as collections from utility or telephone companies.
How does your credit history look? You can check yours by getting your credit report. You can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. To obtain a copy of your free credit report click on the following link: www.annualcreditreport.com.
What if my credit report shows outstanding collections, debt, bankruptcies, judgments or liens?
The Homeowner Services Coordinator considers the whole picture of an applicant and looks for applicants who are ready to accept the responsibility of homeownership. At the same time, we do not want to sell an applicant a home that she or he cannot afford. We do not expect applicants to have a perfect credit history. We do require applicants with negative credit accounts to have a plan to fix any outstanding collections or past-due items. We are unable to partner with applicants who have active, unpaid judgments or liens. Excessive debts and/or very recent unresolved collections may also disqualify an applicant.
Applicants who have filed for bankruptcy in the past should show a good credit history since the bankruptcy, and bankruptcies must have been discharged at least three years prior to the application for housing.
What can I do to prepare before applying to Habitat?
If you plan to apply for Habitat’s Homeownership Program during the next application period, you can prepare by collecting your financial documents. Get a recent copy of your credit report and check to make sure the information is correct. You can get one free copy of your credit report each year at www.annualcreditreport.com
If you have outstanding negative credit items, you may want to develop a plan to address them with a credit counselor. You can contact Prosperity Unlimited, Inc to obtain credit counseling. To learn more, please visit their website (http://www.prosperitycdc.org/programs.html) or call 704-933-7405.
How long does it take before I can move into a home?
Habitat for Humanity is not a quick housing solution. The application process usually takes several months. If an applicant is accepted into the Homeownership Program, the process from acceptance through moving into a home can take from a year to two years, depending on available funding, construction schedules and the future homeowner’s Sweat Equity progress.
If my application for the Homeownership Program is not approved, can I reapply later?
Absolutely. We have limited available spots in our Homeownership Program. Sadly, this means we cannot accept every qualified applicant. If an applicant is not approved during the current application period, we encourage her/him to improve eligibility (if applicable) and reapply during a future application period.
Some of our homeowners were denied the first time they applied due to outstanding collections and debts, income that was below our limits or other issues. They successfully improved their eligibility, reapplied and were accepted into the program.
If you need help finding community resources, our Homeowner Services Coordinator can refer you to tools and resources available to help you improve your situation.
What is Sweat Equity?
Sweat Equity is the work a future Habitat homeowner spends helping to build his/her own home as well as the homes of other future homeowners. It is a central principle in Habitat’s mission of building community and partnering with individuals to provide “a hand up, not a handout.” Providing the opportunity for our future homeowners to work alongside volunteers and future neighbors to build their homes is one of the most unique, empowering and rewarding aspects of Habitat for Humanity.
Once you are approved by the Board of Directors to become a part of our Homeownership Program, you must complete the required number of Sweat Equity hours at Habitat’s construction sites. The required sweat equity hours are a minimum of 250 hours for each adult 18 or over in the household and a minimum of 100 hours for each child 16 and 17 in the household.
It’s important for a future homeowner to give consistent, active participation on the construction site. In fact, most individuals exceed the minimum required hours. Friends and family may help a future homeowner by volunteering with Habitat and donating their hours to help fulfill your Sweat Equity requirement.
If a future homeowner has conditions that prevent her/him from volunteering on an active construction site, staff will arrange for other opportunities to fulfill the Sweat Equity requirement.
What if I don’t know how to build houses?
Habitat does not require any previous construction skills or knowledge to be a volunteer or a future homeowner. We have a fully trained staff and long-term volunteers who are eager to teach our future homeowners and volunteers the skills they need to be successful on the construction site.
How much does a Habitat home cost?
The current average cost for a Habitat home is $145,000. Habitat homes are sold to Future Homeowner for no profit and are financed with an affordable mortgage. The cost of the homes may be different depending on the number of bedrooms and construction phase.
Monthly mortgage payments vary depending on the length of the mortgage but will not be more than 30% of a homeowner’s monthly income. Monthly mortgage payments include an escrow for homeowners insurance and property taxes.
Habitat requires closing costs to be made at the time of closing (right before a homeowner moves into her/his home). The amount is approximately $2,000.
Homes are financed in a fashion to ensure equity and affordability for the homebuyer:
- 1st Mortgage with 0% interest and is payable over 30 years.
- 2nd Forgivable Mortgage with a 0% interest. After the homebuyer has been in the home for 3 years, 10% of the 2nd mortgage is forgiven per year for each of the next ten years. Following 13 years, the 2nd mortgage is completely forgiven, thus giving the family a substantial amount of guaranteed equity in their home.
- Revenue from mortgage payments is recycled back in to operations to build more homes. Current homeowners pay it forward so that other families can work to get a new home.
When will I know if my application has been approved or not?
HOW LONG IS THE WHOLE PROCESS?
The application process takes roughly 3-6 months. The sweat equity requirement usually takes between 12-18 months. It generally takes about 1.5 to 2 years to complete the entire process once approved.
WHAT IF I AM NOT APPROVED?
If applicants do not meet Habitat for Humanity Cabarrus County’s criteria for homeownership, and are not selected into the program, they will receive a letter with a description of the reason and a list of HUD approved Financial Counselors or a referral to another qualified organization.
IS THERE A LIMIT TO HOW MANY TIMES I CAN APPLY?
There is no limit to how many times an individual can apply for a Habitat home, so we encourage applicants who do not make it the first or second time to reapply!
IS THERE SOMEONE I CAN SPEAK TO ABOUT THE APPLICATION PROCESS?
Does Habitat for Humanity only build new houses?
Habitat for Humanity works in a number of different ways to create decent, affordable housing.
- In addition to new construction, Habitat also renovates existing homes in many communities, particularly in urban areas.
- Habitat for Humanity helps people repair and improve their own homes and neighborhoods.
- Habitat’s Disaster Response works with local communities to address a variety of housing needs after natural disasters.
- Habitat’s advocacy work raises awareness and support for decent and affordable housing around the world.