Become A Homeowner
Thank you for your interest in becoming a Habitat homeowner. We believe that everyone should have a safe, affordable place to call home.
There are four stages of the application process including the initial expression of interest, the application, home interviews, and the final decision is made by the Board of Directors.
1. Initial ‘Expression of Interest’ is submitted to HFHSSMA
2. Applications are submitted to HFHSSMA
- Applicants are required to submit a Credit Check - free of charge from Equifax / TransUnion
- Applications that fall within the annual income parameters and pass the credit check will be reviewed by the Family Services Committee
3. Home Interviews are scheduled with HFHSSMA
- First home interview is intended to get to know the applicant and their family
- Second home interview is to determine the need for adequate housing and the ability to partner
4. Board of Directors
- Recommendation is made to the Board of Directors by the Family Services Committee
- Approval of home owner application
If you are accepted:
If you are accepted into the program it is important to know in advance what is expected of you. Before you move into your home we will have some expectations of you and there are a few things that need to be completed.
1. Letter of Agreement
- The Letter of Agreement summarizes the partnership you’ve entered into with HFHSSMA. It outlines your responsibilities to Habitat and Habitat’s responsibilities to you.
2. Volunteer Hours
- All families must contribute 500 hours of voluntary service.
- You, your family, and friends help build your home and the homes of other families, as well as assist at the ReStore and in other capacities with HFHSSMA.
- Prospective homeowners may enlist the support of family, friends or other volunteers who have been personally recruited. Recruited individuals cannot be pre-existing volunteers with HFHSSMA. At no time will HFHSSMA pay or compensate in any way for volunteer hours.
- The purpose of the 500 volunteer hours are to add value to HFHSSMA.
3. Public Relations Work
- HFHSSMA asks that as a homeowner you advocate for our program by speaking publicly or by writing about your experience and how the program has made a difference in your family’s life. This increases awareness within the community of the program and the impact our program has.
- You may be asked to speak public events, including:
- Ground Breaking
- Home Dedication Ceremonies
- Fundraising Events
- HFHSSMA will approach you in advance of any necessary public relations work.
- You should start saving as soon as you are approved for Habitat’s Affordable Homeownership Program. A good goal would be $1000 - $2000.
- There may be other upcoming costs for you associated with moving house, utility company deposits, home insurance, and so forth.
- When you are ready to sign your mortgage, you will pay approximately $1,000 to cover the legal costs of signing your mortgage.
- Even after you’ve moved and signed your mortgage, we recommend you continue to save money (at least $1,000-$2,000 per year) to pay for the costs of maintaining your home.
5. Homeowner Education Program
- As part of your volunteer hours, you are required to complete Habitat’s Homeowner Education Program. You will need to attend each seminar in totality otherwise you will have to repeat the whole seminar later.
There are 4 modules, totaling approximately 12 hours:
- Buying and Funding Yours Family’s New Home
- It is important for you to understand the agreement you are entering in to with Habitat. In this seminar the mortgage agreement is broken down to help you understand the details.
- Protecting Your Home and Family
- Financial Foundations
- You learn about your risks, home insurance, perspective on money, how to evaluate priorities, build a budget, and stick to it.
- You will also learn how to save money and build a stable future for your family.
- Maintaining a Healthy Home
- This module takes place in your home to help you learn the basics of taking care of your home.
Your Habitat House
Homes are available on first-come, first-served basis. Your home may be newly constructed, but from time-to-time other partner families “graduate” from our program and sell their homes back to HFHSSMA. These homes are then sold to prospective homeowners and if you are “next in line,” this existing home will be offered to you.
HFHSSMA will confirm the move-in date as early as possible, based on the construction process and/or the availability of a “buy-back” home.
All homes are built to code.
Standard Features in a Habitat Home:
- Gravel driveway
- Seeded or sodded front lawn
- Vinyl siding, vinyl or aluminum framed windows, soffits, fascia, eaves and downspouts
- Fully painted walls, ceilings and trim
- One bathroom equipped with standard vanity, tub, toilet, paper holder, towel bars, shower rod and exhaust fan
- Kitchen equipped with sink, cabinets, laminate countertop, rangehood
- Vinyl/laminate/carpet flooring
- Closets in each bedroom
- Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
- Roughed-in wiring for phone and cable
- Hot water tank
- Air exchange system
Basic appliances such as fridge or stove may be provided by HFHSSMA if there is an agreement with a supplier.
What’s NOT included:
- Air conditioning
- Paved driveways
- Garbage disposal units
- Central vacuum or rough in
- Whirlpool tubs
We make affordable homeownership accessible by removing barriers that can make owning a home impossible for many low income working families and individuals. Although Habitat homes are sold at fair-market value, Habitat homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are interest free and set at no more than 30 percent of their gross household income, including principal repayment and property tax. Each year, the gross household income is reviewed and adjustments to the monthly mortgage payment are made based on that income assessment.
When you move into your Habitat home you are responsible for home maintenance. It is important that you save for these expenses.
List of common home maintenance issues:
- Replacing the hot water heater on average costs $1,500
- Calling a plumber for toilet or drains issues can cost $80 to $120 per hour
- Blown off shingles can cost between $1,700 and $3,000 depending on damage and replacement area
- Blown off siding can cost $3 - $10 per installed square foot
- Appliances breakdown and can have a significant cost to repair or replace, such as a new stove for $700 or a new fridge for $1000
You are responsible to cover your home with Home Insurance. In fact, this requirement is included in your legal agreement with Habitat when you sign your mortgage. This means that if you fail to obtain or hold home insurance, you are in default of your mortgage agreement. HFHSSMA will insure the home for the remaining mortgage balance only to protect our interests. Your interests are not covered. Habitat will invoice you for the payment of insurance.
HFHSSMA will register with Tarion Warranty Corporation and provide home warranty coverage.
Each year you will be responsible for checking in with HFHSSMA.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with HFHSSMA, please complete a Volunteer Application.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with HFHSSMA, please complete a Volunteer Application and bring it into the ReStore