habitat for humanity homeownership: frequently asked questions

How are families selected to receive Habitat houses?

Families in need of simple, decent shelter contact Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka and begin the process to homeownership by filling out the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire.

Homebuyers are chosen based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program and their ability to repay the no profit, no interest loan.

All applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, gender or national origin.

Are Habitat for Humanity houses free?

No. Habitat builds or renovates homes in partnership with Homebuyers and people from the community. Homebuyers partner with Habitat and then purchase the home with an interest free, 20-30 year mortgage.   Monthly mortgage payments to Habitat Seminole Apopka help to fund homes for future families.

How much is the monthly mortgage payment?

The monthly mortgage payment varies depending on the value of each individual home and the homebuyers’ income. Currently the average monthly mortgage payment for new homebuyers is between $500 and $600.

The application process can take 2-4 months, depending on how quickly applicants complete the required paperwork. Once you have been approved for the program, the minimum requirement is 15 sweat equity hours per month. 

How long before I can begin working my sweat equity hours?

No, but you must have a steady income and meet the household income minimums. To view the income guidelines, go here.  Qualifying income includes, but is not limited to wages, child support, alimony, SSA, SSI, and retirement benefits.

Do I have to be employed?

Single and married people can apply and you don’t have to have children to qualify. If you are separated, we will accept your application after reconciliation or divorce.

Can a single person apply?

Yes. Your complete income tax records for the previous two years will be evaluated closely to ensure that you meet the income minimum and do not exceed the maximum income for your family size.

Can I apply if I own a business?

We do not look for perfect credit.  We consider your whole picture and look for applicants who are ready to accept the responsibility of home ownership.  However, if you have more than $2,000 in non-medical collections, you will not qualify.  If you do have credit issues, we will refer you to Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions, a free, non-profit credit counseling agency.  Once you pay the non-medical collections, you may re-apply to the Habitat program.

What if my credit report shows outstanding collections, debt, bankruptcies, judgments, or liens?

Absolutely. If you are denied from our program, we give you the tools and information necessary regarding what steps should be taken to qualify. 

Can I reapply if I am denied?

Yes, unfortunately, we have. You will purchase your home from us, and we expect you to make timely monthly mortgage payments. If you do not make your payments for three consecutive months or more, Habitat may begin foreclosure. Your payments are important because they help fund homes for future families.

Has Habitat ever foreclosed on a house?

We build all over Seminole County and the Greater Apopka area. For the next two years, we will be concentrating construction in the Longwood, Apopka, and Sanford areas.

Where do you build?

Yes and No. Once you are approved and complete 80% of your requirements, we will offer you the property that is currently available, which might be new construction or a rehab. Home availability depends on the construction schedule and funding. You may have to wait on your home to be built until financial support and/or property becomes available. You will not have the option of searching for a site on your own, nor do we rebuild homes that you currently own.

Can I choose where I want my house to be built?

Your home size will be based on the current needs of your family. Habitat is not a custom homebuilder, but your home will be decent, affordable and energy efficient.

What size house can I get? What will it look like?

Sweat Equity is the time and effort you contribute toward the purchase of you home through the construction of others’ homes as well as your own.  It is a central principle in Habitat’s mission of building community and partnering with families to provide “not a hand-out, but a hand-up!”  Following approval of the selection committee, you must complete the required number of sweat equity hours, but more important than the number of hours, is your consistent, active participation on the job site. Sweat equity also includes participating in required homeowner education classes, working at one of our Habitat ReStores and participating in other approved community activities. Sweat equity hours are 200 hours for a single adult household and 400 hours for a dual adult household.

What is Sweat Equity?

The process from beginning to moving into the home can take from 12 to 24 months or more depending on construction schedules. After you have submitted your application, it takes three to four months to go through the selection process. Once approved for the program, you begin earning your Sweat Equity hours by contributing to the construction on others’ homes and saving for closing costs.  It usually takes over a year to complete and move into your own new home. Your sweat equity must be complete before you can purchase your home.

How long will it take before I move into my house?

Yes, we get the kids involved too. Children receive an hour of sweat equity for each “A” they receive on their report cards and for perfect attendance. They can also participate in community service for another, sanctioned, organization. Children ages 14 and up can work at the ReStore, if they are accompanied by an adult. They can work on the construction site at age 16 and up, if they are accompanied by an adult.

Can my children help with sweat equity?

Yes, three friends and family members can help you work up to 20% of the required sweat equity requirements, or a total combined 50 hours. The friends/family can only work on a construction site or in the ReStore for their hours to count.

Can anyone else help me with my sweat equity?

We do not require any previous skills or knowledge.  Sweat equity is an exciting learning experience in which you work with your family, friends, and community to build other peoples' homes as well as your own. Working alongside volunteers and future neighbors to build your home and community is one of the most unique, empowering, and rewarding aspects of Habitat for Humanity.

What if I don’t know anything about construction?

A class schedule will be made available for your convenience. These classes are mandatory and will help you become a successful homeowner.

When and where are the homeowner classes?