Frequently Asked Questions:

How can I buy a home?

If you meet our qualifications, you can look at our homes to find one that you would like to apply for. You will need to provide all the required information in the application, and then email all of your required documents to After completing your application, our selections team will let you know if you are financially eligible for the home. If you are, you will meet with our selections team to talk about our program, your interest in the home, and confirm your willingness to complete Sweat Equity hours. If you are selected, you will pay your program deposit, begin your sweat equity hours, and eventually complete your official closing once the home is fully constructed and ready for move-in.

If there are no open applications that you would like to apply for, you can join our mailing list to be notified each time we open a new application.

What is the first step of buying a Habitat home?

The first step is to review our qualifications to ensure you qualify for our program.

If you meet our qualifications, you can review our homes and sign up for our mailing list. Email notifications will be sent each time we open an application along with a link to apply.

What is a Resale home?

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 for move-in much sooner than new construction. These homes are sold on a first-come-first-serve basis, so please join our mailing list to be notified when we have a resale home available.

How do you define Family? Do I need 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. Once selected, King County homebuyers must complete 150 hours of Sweat Equity, at least 50% of which is completed on the construction site. Kittitas County homebuyers are required to contribute 20 Sweat Equity hours each week during the construction of the home. Homebuyers can have up to 50% of their hours donated by family and friends. Habitat makes accommodations for any applicant who cannot work on site due to physical limitations.

What is a pre-approval letter?

A 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 is a requirement to purchase the home, but this does not need to be done until after applying. Our team will let you know when you need to get a pre-approval letter. Learn more about pre-approval letters and review a list of suggested lenders.

Is there any kind of down payment?

Families must possess a minimum of 1% of the purchase price at the time of applying. Upon being selected, families must pay a $1,000 non-refundable deposit which will later be applied to the cost of the home at closing. The rest of the 1% buyer contribution will be paid at closing after Sweat Equity hours have been completed and homes are ready for move-in.

Some homes may require more than 1% depending on the specific home and your finances.

What kind of homes does Habitat build?

Habitat builds a wide range of homes ranging from studios to 4-bedroom homes. Habitat builds and sells simple, decent houses. A stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, and dishwasher are provided with all houses.

Habitat Seattle-King County does not build single family homes.

What is a Homeowners Association?

Most Habitat homeowners are part of a Homeowners Association along with the other families in their development.

A Homeowners Association is a non-profit corporation that is democratically run by owners within the community. Owners pool resources (through monthly dues) and agree on what to use the money for, whether it be upkeep of common spaces, exterior maintenance of homes, or other priorities.

Living in an Association comes with responsibilities that continue throughout your time in the home. Paying monthly assessments on time to contribute to the operation and maintenance of the property, preparing for future needs of the Association, and building a vibrant community of connected neighbors making these decisions together. With the help of a professional Association manager and Habitat, owners commit to serving terms on the Board of Directors, volunteering when called, participating in meetings and elections, paying their assessments on time, and building a lasting community.

To learn more, please see our HOA information page.

Do applicants get to pick the location or design of the home?

Habitat does not build custom houses. The location of the houses depends on where Habitat is able to acquire land.

Will a credit check be conducted?

Yes, Habitat checks the credit of applicants and makes an assessment as to whether Habitat is an appropriate program for the applicant(s). There is technically no minimum credit score required to qualify for our program, but you do need to meet our debt-to-income ratio requirements. For more information on our requirements, please go here.

How are applicants chosen?

If you are determined to be financially eligible based on your completed application, you will have a meeting with our selections team. This meeting will give you the opportunity to learn more about our program, and Habitat the opportunity to learn more about you. Final selection will be based on the extent to which applicants demonstrate the following:

  • Ability to pay – Applicants must demonstrate that they can afford the home’s mortgage payment without being cost burdened. For more information on Ability to Pay, please see our qualifications.
  • Connection to community – Utilizing resources in the development neighborhood, living or working in the development neighborhood, or having family that has previously lived or currently lives in the development neighborhood.
  • Willingness to partner – Applicant must demonstrate willingness to complete at least 150 hours of Sweat Equity and attend homebuyer education classes if selected. Applicants can demonstrate additional willingness to partner by attending an info or application session hosted by Habitat staff, and by demonstrating timely communication with Habitat staff during the application process.

If approved, how long will it take before I purchase my Habitat Home?

For new construction, we do our best to select families when the homes are approximately 1 year from being move-in ready. Due to the unpredictability of the construction industry, we can’t guarantee that it will be exactly 1 year, but we keep families updated on the timeline as we move through the construction process.

For resale homes, it depends on the repairs that are needed, but they are usually ready within a matter of weeks or months.

Will I be able to sell my house?

Yes, but there are resale restrictions on all of our properties. If a Habitat homeowner wishes to sell the home to another family, that family must be income-qualified according to Habitat’s qualifications. Otherwise, the Habitat homeowner can always sell the home back to Habitat.

The type of resale restrictions can vary, so we recommend that all Habitat homeowners contact our Director Homeowner Services at (206) 855-5213 if they want to sell their Habitat home.

What is the Debt Barrier Removal Program?

The Debt Barrier Removal Program aims to remove debt as a barrier to homeownership for those who would otherwise qualify for a home. Habitat will pay off your debt (up to $50,000) to help you qualify for a home loan, allowing your debt to become an asset and build equity.

All applicants are screened to see if they qualify for this program. To learn more about the Debt Barrier Removal Program, click here.