Interested in becoming a Habitat for Humanity homeowner? Below are some common questions our applicants have. If you do not find answers to your questions below, please call us at 417-829-4001, ext 105 or send a quick email to Nancy Williams.
It’s important to understand that Habitat for Humanity does not give houses away. We partner with families (including couples and individuals) who meet our program’s qualifications and agree to contribute sweat equity hours building their home. Therefore, each applicant must agree to partner with us in the program, which includes providing all documentation needed as well as attending home buyer education classes and working 250-350 hours of sweat equity. Basic requirements to own a Habitat home are provided at the home ownership application meetings and, better yet, can be mailed ahead of time.
If you are interested in the Habitat for Humanity program and have reviewed the requirements to see if you qualify, please contact us to request an application. The next step is to bring the application and supporting documents to a Homeownership application session to learn more about our program and finish the application. We have application sessions for our home buying program twice per month at our office and weekly at the Springfield Affordable Housing Center. You may also return the application to us via mail or by dropping it off, but we strongly encourage you to register and attend an application session to learn more about the home-ownership program and receive help in completing the application.
An application meeting is an informative meeting, which explains how the Home-Ownership Program works, goes over Habitat qualifications and reviews how to complete the application. Once an application is completed, it is reviewed by the Partner Selection Committee.
Applications are reviewed for eligibility based on three standard criteria - need for housing, ability to pay the house payments, and willingness to work with Habitat. We will ask homeowner applicants to submit financial documentation with their application. After completing the financial review, a home visit and interview will be conducted by Partner Selection Committee members. Those members then present the applicant file to the whole committee which approves applicants that best fit the Habitat Home-Ownership Program. The application process generally takes three months from submitting the application to the committee decision.
Yes. Habitat checks the credit of applicants and does background checks on all adult household members. A criminal history does not automatically disqualify an applicant; any issues that come up in a background check will be addressed on an individual basis. Habitat will verify employment, check credit and make an assessment as to whether Habitat is an appropriate program for the applicant(s). Habitat does not have a minimum credit score requirement, but credit history and debt will be assessed; applicants cannot have filed bankruptcy or been foreclosed on within the last three years.
We serve all types of households and families. A “family” can be singles, couples, partners, families with or without children, multi-generational families, etc. The application selection process is impartial. Habitat does not discriminate based on familial status, age, race, color, religion, sex, handicap, sexual orientation, gender identity or national origin.
Families are in the program until their house has been built or remodeled; generally, this takes 12 to 24 months. Ideally, construction of a partner family’s house begins within a year from the time of approval. Completion of the house will vary. The construction or renovation (build) process is complex with many variables depending on funding sources, the build schedule and build requirements. This complexity makes it difficult to predict the length of time from approval in the program to purchasing a house.
Sweat equity is the volunteer time participants invest in earning the right to purchase their home. Each partner individual or one-adult family must contribute a minimum of 250 hours of sweat equity; a two-applicant family must earn a minimum of 350 hours. Sweat equity serves some important purposes: builds pride of ownership, develops knowledge and skills, and instills a sense of community. Habitat Springfield is accustomed to working with partners with disabilities or who juggle school, work, and family, and will help design a sweat equity program appropriate for the individual or family.
We build or renovate and sell simple, decent houses. To view our two-bedroom model home built by Habitat for Humanity of Springfield, MO, check our regularly scheduled open houses dates here.
Our low-cost homes are energy efficient, offer homeowners an open floor plan, quality construction, and the choice of exterior colors, flooring, countertops, lighting packages, Whirlpool appliances a storage shed and more. Because we build for the needs, not wants of the buyer, we determine the house size based on the number and ages of family members.
No. Habitat does not build custom houses. Habitat will choose the size of the house based on household size and makeup. We would provide one bedroom for two children of the same gender and close in age. The location of the house will depend on where we own properties we can sell, and where we currently are building or remodeling houses. The locations available will usually be discussed during the home-ownership application meetings during the application process.
Habitat has an independent appraisal done when the house is almost ready to sell, and the gross sales price is that fair market value. But we reduce the financed cost to the buyer by setting aside some of the cost using a delayed equity model that is essentially a fiNo matter what the price of the house, Habitat is committed to keeping housing payments affordable, at or less than 30% of the applicant's monthly income. The monthly payment on a two-bedroom house is approximately $400, and up to approximately $500 for a five-bedroom home. The payment includes principal on the loan and escrow for taxes, insurance and possibly trash service and homeownership association dues.
Yes, but there are resale restrictions. You may sell the home at any time, but there is a second deed that is written to distribute some of the equity in the home to you over ten years. So, if you sold the home within ten years of purchase, you would have to pay back what remained on the second deed in addition to the amount remaining on the first deed. After ten years, you only need to pay back what is owed on the first deed of trust.
At the sale of the house, we transfer title to you with a warranty deed. You sign a deed of trust acknowledging that you owe Habitat for Humanity the amount that you borrowed from us to buy the house. The warranty deed means that activities like having dogs, making changes to the house, etc. are only limited by what restrictions are covered in local codes and regulations, and in community covenants and restrictions, if applicable. The deed of trust says that if you stop making payments on the house, we can ultimately require that the full amount owed be paid, and, if it's not, begin foreclosure on the loan.
We don't have a waiting list for homes, but at any time there may be several households at different stages working through the program requirements on their way to purchasing their home. The speed with which you move through the program and purchase your home depends on how quickly you accomplish the program requirements and our overall schedule for building or renovating your house. The application process can take 2-4 months, and if your application is accepted, it make take another 12-24 months before it is time to buy the house.
The only amount we need before closing on the sale of the house ranges from $900 (two-bedroom house) to $1,200 (five-bedroom house). Part of it pays for the first year of homeowners insurance and the remainder is deposited into your escrow account for future insurance and real estate tax payments sent on your behalf.