Homeownership FAQs

♦ How do I find out if I am eligible for a Habitat home?

The criteria for determining eligibility for a Habitat home are: 1) Need for Housing, 2) Ability to Pay the Mortgage, and 3) Willingness to Partner with SCHH.  Click here to see a list of critera


♦ Can I still apply if I live on my own and do not have a family?

Yes, SCHH is an equal opportunity, fair housing provider with broad definitions for family.


♦ What happens after I apply?

SCHH will keep you updated as your application goes through the selection process. First, your application will go through a financial review. Next, a committee of volunteers from the Family Selection Committee will review your application and schedule a home visit with you to decide if your family is eligible for the program. The selection committee will submit their recommendations for final approval by the Board of Directors.


♦ How much money do I need to earn in order to qualify?

The monthly mortgage payment cannot exceed 30% of your monthly income. The selling price, taxes, insurance, and ground lease fee determine the monthly mortgage payment.  Further, SCHH uses Federal income guidelines to determine financial eligibility. Your total household income must be less than 60% of the HUD median income for the town in which the home is in. This amount varies based on the number of people in your household. In addition to meeting this guideline, a financial review of your application looks for evidence of a steady income for two years. SCHH considers all sources of legitimate and verifiable income (employment, child support, Social Security, etc.) in determining your ability to pay the mortgage. Determining financial eligibility is a complicated issue; SCHH can help you through the process.


♦ Do I have to be a Christian to qualify for a Habitat house?

SCHH is a Christian organization, but, we do not require applicants to have particular, or any,  religious’ affiliation. SCHH is an equal opportunity, fair housing provider and does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, family status, disability, ethnicity, religion, or any other basis protected by state or Federal law in its selection process.


♦ Once I submit my application, how long does it take to process?

If all required information and documentation has been submitted, you will receive written notification of the committee’s decision as soon as possible. The entire process may take a number of months to complete.


♦ If my application is denied can I reapply?

You may reapply at any time in the future.


♦ Can I call to check on the status of my application?

SCHH will update you as your application is moving in the selection process. However, you may contact us at any time.


♦ Once my family is accepted, what is the next step?

Once your family has been selected, you will attend an orientation where we will discuss the process and requirements of becoming an SCHH Homeowner. Additionally, your family will be introduced to your Family Partner (a Habitat representative who will be your family’s primary source of support and information during the transition to homeownership.)


♦ If I am selected, how long will it take before I move in?

Many factors contribute to the construction time required to complete a house so there is no definite timeline.


♦ What is a “rehab” home?

A rehab is an existing home that has been renovated by SCHH to prepare for a new family.   Typically, rehab homes only need minor repairs and updating before a family can move in.


♦ Can I choose where I want to live?

We only accept applications for projects currently being constructed or rehabbed. If the location of the current projects do not meet your geographic preference, you may wait, if you choose, to apply for a home in an area more to your liking. However, SCHH cannot guarantee that you are selected, or that we will have property available in your preferred location.


♦ How can I help build a house if I don’t know anything about construction?

Most Habitat homeowners and volunteers have never built a house before. SCHH’s construction staff and skilled volunteers will teach everything you need to know and will closely supervise the work.


♦ Will I get to help build my own house?

If you are purchasing a new construction, you are expected to work on your own house as much as possible. If you are purchasing a rehab home, you are expected to work on the rehab, unless the renovations are complete, then you are expected to work on other sites. Since SCHH is a partnership effort you may be working on other families’ houses at least until your sweat equity is completed.


♦ What will be the amount of my monthly mortgage payment?

SCHH provides a 0% interest mortgage to its homeowners. Under the terms of the mortgage, homeowners make 360 monthly payments to the holder of the mortgage. Your monthly mortgage payment includes a principal payment, tax and insurance escrows, and a ground lease fee, and should not exceed 30% of your monthly income. In addition, as part of your mortgage payment, $65 per month is collected and set aside for you in a maintenance escrow account for future use for major home repairs and maintenance. Other fees may be collected that are specific to your house or situation.


♦ Where does Habitat get the resources with which to build houses?

As an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, SCHH is a private, non-profit organization that relies on donations from individuals, churches and businesses to fund home building projects. Habitat also receives financial support in the form of Federal, state and local grants as well as private and public foundations. The ReStore is also a major fundraising source for SCHH.


♦ What is the ReStore?

This is our retail outlet that sells new and gently used items that can be found in a home or used to make a home (items range from appliances and building materials to furniture and kitchenware). The items are sold the public at discounted prices, and the funds go directly back into funding the mission of SCHH.


♦ How much land comes with the house?

In order to ensure long term affordability, SCHH retains ownership of the land, through a ground lease agreement. With this agreement, you have most of the typical rights and responsibilities of homeownership – such as mowing the lawn, planting a garden, keeping the yard neat and tidy and paying property taxes. Lot sizes vary greatly depending on availability.


♦ Can I do anything to the house once I have moved in?

Because of the ground lease there are some restrictions in order to maintain affordability, but you can do most anything allowed by applicable ordinances, laws and codes. However, any activity requiring a building permit will require SCHH’s written permission.


♦ What if I decide I want to sell my house?

In some cases, under the ground lease agreement, when you wish to sell your house you are required to sell the house back to SCHH, and SCHH will re-sell the home to another eligible family. However, the process for the sale of homes varies from property to property.