Frequently Asked Questions
What is the first step toward earning a new home?
If you are interested in the Habitat for Humanity program and have reviewed the requirements to see if you qualify, the next step is to attend a Homeownership Application meeting to learn more about our program and receive an application. Information sessions are generally held once or twice a year depending on the construction schedule. To get information about the next upcoming meetings, please call 503-287-9529 or fill out the homeownership interest form with your contact information. You will be put on our mailing list, and we will send information about our next meetings as soon as we have the dates confirmed. If you have already received a meeting announcement, you must sign up again to receive future meeting announcements.
How are the families selected?
Applicants must attend a Homeownership Application Meeting at which applications are distributed. Applicants will then submit the completed application and paperwork within 30 days of the meeting. Applications are reviewed for basic eligibility. After completing the financial review, a home visit and interview will be conducted by Family Selection Committee members. Those members then present the family file to the whole committee which selects families that best fit the Habitat Homeownership Program. The application process generally takes three months from the Homeownership Application Meetings to the committee decision.
Will credit checks be required? What if I have ‘bad’ credit?
Habitat checks the credit of applicants. We will also ask homeowner applicants to submit financial documentation. Habitat will verify employment, check credit and make an assessment as to whether Habitat is an appropriate program for the family or individual. Habitat does not have a minimum credit score requirement, but credit history will be assessed; applicants cannot have filed bankruptcy in the last three year.
How long is the process to complete a home?
Families are in the program until their home has been completed; generally this takes 12 to 24 months. Ideally construction of a partner family’s home begins within six months from the time of approval. Completion of the home will vary depending on whether it is a regular or accelerated build. The construction process is a complex one with many variables depending on funding sources and building requirements; this complexity makes it difficult to predict the length of time from purchase of a property to completion of the homes.
What is sweat equity?
Sweat equity is the volunteer time participants invest in earning the right to purchase their Habitat homes with a 0%-interest mortgage. Following approval by the selection committee, the future homeowner must complete 500 hours of sweat equity hours before being able to purchase their home.
What kinds of homes does Habitat for Humanity build?
We build one to four-bedroom wood frame homes with approximately 900 to 1200 square feet depending on the family size. A stove, refrigerator, washer, dryer, and dishwasher are provided with the home. One and ½ bathrooms is standard. Habitat homes can be condominiums, duplexes, multiplexes, or single dwelling.
Do program participants get to choose the location or design of the home?
No. Habitat does not build custom homes; Habitat will choose the size of the home based on household size and makeup. We expect two children of the same gender to share a bedroom. The location of the home is dependent upon where Habitat is building. The locations available will usually be discussed during the Homeownership Application meetings and the application process.
Would I be allowed to sell my home?
Yes, but there are resale restrictions. If a family sells their Habitat home within 20 years of occupancy Habitat has the first right of refusal and a shared appreciation model. The longer the family lives in the Habitat home, the larger the percentage of appreciation the family receives upon resale; after 20 years the family receives 100% of the appreciation of the home.