Why Choose Habitat for Humanity?
Before listing the steps you’ll need to follow to become a Habitat for Humanity homeowner, let’s briefly discuss why the program may be the right fit for you.
First, Habitat for Humanity makes owning a home affordable for many families who see it as something that’s way out of reach. While the program’s homes are not free, their mortgages are, on average, lower than what you’d pay for similar homes.
Second, Habitat homes are constructed with efficiency in mind. Instead of having to pay for a home that is larger and more expensive than what you need, you can get a Habitat home that is smaller, energy-efficient, and more cost-effective, so it fits comfortably within your budget.
Third, the “sweat equity” Habitat for Humanity requires gives you leverage for moving into a new home, even if you don’t have a ton of cash for a down payment.
By showing a willingness to partner with the program via helping with construction, administrative work, or attending classes, you can avoid the hefty costs that come with moving into a new home. In short, you can use your sweat equity as a form of currency.
Lastly, Habitat for Humanity has shown benefits that extend far beyond just living in a new home. According to statistics, families that have moved into Habitat houses often see their children attend college at a higher rate than their counterparts.
Homeowners, meanwhile, have also shown a propensity to become financially independent thanks to having a stable foundation at home.
Habitat for Humanity’s Path to Homeownership
1. Get screened by your local Habitat office.
The entire path to homeownership via Habitat for Humanity can take anywhere from four to 18 months. To save time, you will be initially screened to ensure you fit well with the program in terms of income, the ability to pay, willingness to perform sweat equity, etc.
You can begin this part of the process by contacting your nearest Habitat for Humanity affiliate here.
2. Complete the written application.
After you pass the initial screening, you will complete a written application by providing information regarding your household, income, and more and submitting it to your local office, usually in person.
Any information provided on your application will be verified by Habitat for Humanity, and background checks will be run as well.
3. Have your in-person visit.
Think of this as a job interview, where a member of the Habitat team will interview you to verify information and ensure that you have what it takes to become the program’s next homeowner.
After your application and interview are finished, the office will decide to reject or accept your request. If approved, you will then sign the partnership agreement, which will detail what you must do to make homeownership official.
4. Perform sweat equity.
As mentioned, sweat equity plays a large part in the Habitat for Humanity homeownership process. In this step, you will help to construct your home or others nearby or perform administrative duties, plus attend classes on credit repair, maintaining your home, and more.
5. Celebrate with the dedication ceremony.
Some local Habitat offices hold dedication ceremonies where homeowners get handed the keys to their new house once any closing costs (which are usually very affordable) are paid.