Frequently Asked Questions
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 homebuyer education classes and working 250 hours of sweat equity. Basic requirements to own a Habitat home are provided on our homeownership qualification page.
What is the first step of buying a Habitat home?
If you are interested in the Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Program and have reviewed the requirements to see if you qualify, the next step is to sign up for the mailing list. Email notification will be sent of any upcoming housing opportunities and you’ll be given instructions on how to apply if interested.
What is a Resale home?
A resale home is a home that a Habitat family has sold back to us. We repair and update the home then sell it back to another income qualified family. These can show up all over King county and because they are already built, they are typically ready to move in much sooner than new construction. These homes are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis.
What is the Minimum Buyer Financing?
The minimum buyer financing is the minimum amount Habitat will accept for the home. At minimum, a Habitat homebuyer must earn a high enough income to finance the minimum buyer contribution.
Will I pay the Minimum Buyer Financing?
No. You will pay more, remember this is the minimum required amount. What you pay for the home is based on your income and the income of your co-applicant (if you have one). Habitat works with you and the lender to make sure your housing costs are within 33% to 35% of your gross (pre-tax) income. We do this by providing you with additional financing to keep your costs down.
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, families 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 right to purchase their Habitat house with an affordable mortgage. Following approval by the selection committee, the applicant must complete 250 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.
What is a pre-approval letter
The pre-approval letter is a document from a lender that specifies you have been approved for a mortgage of a certain amount. Getting a pre-approval letter that meets or exceeds the minimum buyer financing is a requirement to purchase the home. Learn more information and review a list of suggested lenders.
Is there a way to know how much money I will get pre-approved for?
The best way to know how much you will be pre-approved for is to go to a lender. However to give you an idea of roughly how much your household must make, each available home will have a table that will show you the income range your household would need to fall within to be approved for a mortgage equal or greater to the minimum buyer financing.
Is there any kind of down payment?
We do not require a certain percentage down, like you would when buying a home in the open market. We do ask that families save a certain amount to help with closing costs. This amount is calculated based on your personal finances and will be an amount you can realistically save for.
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. Often Habitat houses or remodeled houses are attached, and share walls. Habitat houses can be condominiums, duplexes, multiplexes, or single dwellings. 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. Habitat will verify employment, check credit and make an assessment as to whether Habitat is an appropriate program for the applicant(s). While Habitat has a minimum credit score requirement of 620, the applicant will need to meet the credit requirements of both Habitat and the lender they choose.
How are applicants chosen?
Applications are first reviewed for basic eligibility. We will ask homeowner applicants to submit financial documentation with their application. Applicants are asked to meet with an WSHFC-approved lender to secure financing for an “Affordable Mortgage.” At the same time an in-office interview will be conducted by our Family Selection Committee. Once Habitat has all of your information and a pre-approval letter from your lender, your file is evaluated by the Selection Committee. 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 remodeled. 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 completion of the house will vary. However generally new construction will take longer then resales. 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 Director Homeowner Services at (206) 855-5213 if they want to sell their Habitat home.