Before you apply for our Homebuyer Program, read the frequently asked questions. If your question isn’t answered here, please call (517) 784-6620 or email email@example.com.
How can I buy a home?
We sell homes to buyers who meet our program’s qualifications and agree to contribute sweat equity hours building their home. Therefore, each applicant must agree to partner with us in the program, which includes providing all documentation needed as well as attending financial counseling and working 300 hours of sweat equity. Basic requirements to own a Habitat home are provided on our Homeowner Program page.
What is the first step of buying a Habitat home?
If you are interested in the Habitat for Humanity Homebuyer Program and have reviewed the requirements to see if you qualify, the next step is to attend a New Homebuyer Orientation. Typically, these are held on the last Saturday of the month at our office. To find out when the next meeting will be, register on our website and you will be notified. If you’re unable to attend, contact our Family Services Coordinator at (517) 784-6620 to schedule a one-on-one orientation.
How do you define Family? Do I have to have children to apply?
Habitat serves all types of households and families. A “family” can be singles, couples, partners, households with or without children, multi-generational families, etc. Familial status, age, race, color, religion, sex, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origins play no part in the selection process.
What is Sweat Equity?
Sweat equity is the volunteer time participants invest in earning the opportunity to purchase their Habitat house with an affordable mortgage. Following approval by the selection committee, the applicant must complete 300 hours of sweat equity, the majority of which is completed on the construction site. Habitat makes accommodations for any applicant who cannot work on site due to physical limitations.
Is there any kind of down payment?
We ask that families save a minimum of $1,000 to help with closing costs. You will work with your financial counselor to determine a savings plan and to see how much you can contribute towards closing costs.
What kind of homes does Habitat build or remodel?
We build two- to four-bedroom, wood frame houses with approximately 900 to 1400 square feet. Remodeled house square footage and amenities vary. A stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, and dishwasher are provided with all houses. Habitat builds and sells simple, decent houses.
Do applicants get to pick the location or design of the home?
Habitat does not build custom houses. The location of the house is dependent upon where Habitat is building or remodeling houses.
Will credit and background checks be conducted?
Yes. Habitat checks the credit of applicants and does criminal background and national sex offender registry checks on all adult household members. A criminal history does not automatically disqualify an applicant; any issues that come up in a background check will be dealt with on an individual basis. A financial counselor will work with you on your credit score and budget to get you to the stage where you will be able to qualify for a mortgage.
How are applicants chosen?
Applicants start by completing an intake form. Once you have submitted your intake form, you will be given instructions on how to register to attend financial counseling. You will begin working with a financial counselor, and when they determine that you are ready to qualify for a mortgage, they will refer you back to GJHFH. From here, we will schedule a home visit with two volunteers from our Homebuyer Selection Committee. They will then report on the home visit at our next Committee meeting and if we have a home available, we will consider your application as well as any other applications for the selection of that house.
The selection process is very competitive, if you do not qualify the first time, don’t give up! If you do not qualify at any time during the application process, you will receive a letter in the mail explaining why.
If approved, how long will it take before I purchase my Habitat Home?
Families are in the program until their house has been built or rehabbed. The construction process is complex with many variables depending on funding sources, the construction schedule and building requirements. This complexity makes it difficult to predict the length of time from pre-approval to purchasing a house. Because of this, the completion of the house will vary. However generally new construction will take longer than rehabs. We will be sure to communicate estimates of construction times as best we can throughout the process.
Will I be able to sell my house?
Yes, but there are resale restrictions on all of our properties. The type of resale restriction varies so it’s important that all Habitat homeowners contact our Executive Director at (517) 784-6620 if they want to sell their Habitat home.