Frequently Asked Questions
What does it take to become a Habitat homeowner?
There are three basic requirements: 1) You must currently be living in inadequate housing 2) You must have a minimum of $30,000 in total annual income 3) You must be willing to participate in the process
What is inadequate housing?
There is no single definition. It could be housing with little or no insulation, lots of people crowded into a small space, structural problems, neighborhood problems, or housing that is too expensive for one’s budget. One key question to ask yourself is “Would other people choose to live here in these conditions?”
What do I count in figuring my income?
All forms of income are included when figuring your income. You can count Child Support (if you receive it regularly), Food Stamps, and government payments in addition to W-2 wages and self-employment income.
How will I need to participate?
Your participation starts long before you actually move into a house. You will attend classes in home ownership and budgeting. All applicants will be required to attend the Finance classes and the Getting Ahead classes prior to board approval to receive your house. We will expect you to participate in the publicity for the building of your house and to actually work on your house and other homes in order to meet requirements for your sweat equity. We also ask you to let others know about Habitat for Humanity.
What is sweat equity?
Sweat equity is credit you are given for doing Habitat-related work and attending classes. Each homeowner whose name will be on the mortgage must earn 200 hours of sweat equity each before moving into a house, so a married couple needs 400 hours of sweat equity.
How can I earn sweat equity hours?
Most sweat equity hours are earned by working at construction sites. Additional hours can be earned by volunteering time at a local nonprofit organization.
How much does it cost to buy a Habitat house?
You will need a $500 down payment. The monthly cost for the house is in the $400-$500 range. Your payment includes taxes and insurance. You will make the payments for 30 years, after which the house will belong to you.
Who pays to build each house?
Habitat for Humanity of Boone County works with the private donors, faith community, local businesses, and other organizations to fund and build the houses. Other funding comes from grants and corporate sponsors.
How does the mortgage work?
Habitat for Humanity of Boone County builds and sells the home, under market value, to the homeowner applicant with a zero percent interest/30 year mortgage. This is no profit first mortgage. Habitat of Humanity of Boone County will require each homeowner to sign a second mortgage. The value of the second mortgage is the difference between the appraised value and the first mortgage. The second mortgage is forgiveable over the lifetime of the 30 year mortgage. The homeowner will not make payments on the second however it will need to be paid back if the homeowner sells.
What kind of interest rate do I pay on the mortgage?
Habitat for Humanity does not charge interest. All of your payments go toward paying off the loan principal, taxes, and insurance.
How do I get started?
The first step is to come to the required Homeowner Orientation meeting. You will learn all about the homeowner program and receive an application packet. You can also download an application off of our website. The meeting is held at the Habitat for Humanity of Boone County office located at 817 W. Pearl Street, Lebanon (on the west side of the Love, Inc. building) at 6pm on the second Tuesday of each month. Plan to arrive promptly at 6pm.
What kind of information is involved with the application?
Copies of your last three months (90 days) of pay stubs for proof of permanent current employment and income (include SSI, disability, child support, etc.) for each applicant. Please also include any legal documents, court orders or judgements that affect your income or expenses.
HFHBC will pull at least one tri-merge credit report for credit history and evaluation.
Copies of your last three (3) month utility bills (electricity, water/sewer, gas, telephone, cable TV, etc.)
Copies of your last two (2) months bank statements showing checking and savings if applicable
Copy of IRS 1040 or 1040a tax form from the previous year, first two pages only.
Copy Will or Trust agreement which might affect your Habitat house (in the event of your death before the mortgage is fully paid).
A signed copy of the last page of the Homebuyers Manual indicating that you have read and understand the content.
Do I have any choices about my house?
The homeowner has some selections to make their house their own. The availability of donated building materials (vinyl siding, carpet, paint, roof shingles, etc.) might restrict the choices. The homeowner may have some choices at no extra cost. In general homeowner has a few choices within a predetermined standard include:
Vinyl siding and exterior door colors
Countertop colors for kitchen
Kitchen cabinet style and color
Carpeting and vinyl flooring selection
What happens after the application has been completed?
Habitat for Humanity will examine your application and the accompanying documentation to see if you can financially afford to make the payments on a Habitat house. You will be interviewed at your current place of residence, and a report on the condition of your house will be prepared. You will meet with a Budget Coach who will offer suggestions on ways to improve your financial circumstances. When all of the information is together, a report on your situation will be presented, anonymously, to the Habitat for Humanity of Boone County Board of Directors. Then, the Board will vote on your application. This full process could take from 6 months to 3 years.
Once I am accepted, how long will it take to get a house?
Before you can move into a Habitat house, you must complete your required hours of sweat equity. You can expect to wait about a year before your house is built.
Does it matter if I don’t live in Boone County?
No, you just have to want to live in Boone County.
What if I need or want to sell my house?
We want to build homes for people to live in and have safeguards against those who would attempt to sell a home to make a profit. We do have guidelines for the ethical sale of a home. These details will be discussed during our homeowners meetings.
My living situation is really bad, and I need help, but I don’t have enough money to qualify. How can you help me?
Habitat for Humanity is based upon helping people to be able to buy their own houses. As such, there are financial requirements, which must be met. If you don’t meet our requirements, you need to contact government or social organizations, which could help. Some suggested contacts are: Boone County Senior Services, The Caring Center, Love Inc., or your township trustee.