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Habitat homebuyers build their home alongside volunteers and purchase their home with an affordable mortgage
We are not currently accepting applications. Please check back on the 10th of each month to see if applications are open.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati is a partnership housing program in the truest sense of the word. Applicants must demonstrate a need for housing, ability to pay back a mortgage estimated at $800 per month (including taxes and insurance) and be willing to partner with Habitat in the building and buying of their home.
Habitat homebuyers work side by side with volunteers each week building their own home and the homes of others, attend homeownership and Financial Peace University classes, and are positive ambassadors for HFHGC throughout every step of the process. In exchange, Habitat homebuyers are provided the opportunity to build and buy a home with Habitat for Humanity with an affordable mortgage payment. We give away nothing, but opportunity.
Step 1: Review Habitat's Qualifications for Applying
1. Must have a need for adequate housing:
Must be living in substandard or inadequate housing that does not meet your needs, living in subsidized housing, or your current housing expenses exceeds 30% of your monthly income.
We encourage you apply and let us determine if you meet this criterion.
2. Must have the ability to pay estimated monthly mortgage of $800:
This estimated amount includes closing costs, taxes, and insurance. The ability to pay criteria is listed as a part of step 2.
3. Must be willing to partner:
This is a public partnership with many responsibilities and expectations for each Habitat for Humanity homebuyer. At Habitat, we often say we give away nothing to homebuyers, but an opportunity. To be considered to build and purchase a Habitat for Humanity home, you must be willing to invest “sweat equity” hours. You earn sweat equity hours by working to help in building your home and the homes of others, attending homeownership classes, working in the Habitat ReStores or other approved activities.
One applicant households must earn 200 hours of Sweat Equity and two applicants households must earn 300 hours of Sweat Equity.
Please Note: You must be comfortable with friends and family knowing you are purchasing a home with Habitat. This is a public partnership that can involve news coverage, social media coverage and information about homebuyers and build sites are shared on our website.
Tip: Don't put off applying!
Many Habitat homeowners said they took months, or even years, to finally apply to build and buy a home with Habitat for Humanity. If you are concerned, or unsure if you qualify, please do not assume you are not qualified. Even if you apply, and your application is denied, you will be provided with the reason(s) for the denial so you can possibly reapply in the future. You will never know if you are eligible unless you apply.
Minimum Monthly Gross Income
Maximum Monthly Gross Income
Step 2: Confirm Your Household Meets the Following Income Requirements
Step 3: Confirm you meet credit requirements
1. No bankruptcy within the past three years
Must be three years free from date of discharge
2. No evictions within the past 12 months
3. Must be a first-time homebuyer
An individual or a family who has not owned a home during the three-year period prior to purchase of a Habitat home, some exclusions may apply
4. No felony convictions for anyone in household, over age 18, within past five years
5. No open judgements or liens
6. Debt to income ratio cannot exceed 40% of monthly income spent on an estimated monthly mortgage payment of $800 and monthly debt combined
7. No more than $2,000 in uncollected, past due, bad debt
Example: If a credit card has $3,000 balance and payments are current, this is not considered a "bad" debt. However, if a credit card is in default and is in collections, that would be considered a "bad" debt.
You can check your credit by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. You are entitled to receive one free copy from each of the three credit reporting agencies one time per year by visiting this website.
Please note: Married applicants can apply individually, but spouse must be listed on application as member of household, provide all income and asset information, consent to a background check and agree to sign a release of dower rights at time of home purchase. The spouse, who is not an applicant, will not have their income or debts counted when determining if the applicant meets the ability to pay criteria, but their income and assets will be considered to determine if the household income is within Habitat’s guidelines.
Step 4: Confirm You Are Interested in One of our Build Sites
No homes currently available.
Step 5: Fill Out An Application
Please review the steps first before completing your application.
Applications are not currently open. Check back on the 10th of each month to see if any homes are available.
The list of required documents is extensive and can be overwhelming. It's best to get started early so that you're better prepared when the time comes. A complete list of necessary documentation is included in the application.
Please download the application below, print and submit to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati (4910 Para Drive) when we are accepting applications.
Fill out the Homebuyer Interest Form to request that one be sent to you. We cannot guarantee that your mailed application will be received in time for you to complete and return by the deadline date. If you are not able to download an application, applications can also be picked up at our office, Monday through Friday, from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. We do not accept online applications.
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does the process take?
Building and buying a home with HFHGC is not a quick process. From approval to purchase of your home can take anywhere from six to eighteen months. However, once Habitat receives your initial application, you will be contacted by mail within 30 days and notified either:
Application is complete, you meet our ability to pay and general requirements and we are ready to schedule a home interview to assess your need for housing and willingness to partner and complete the application process to determine if you are eligible.
Your application is incomplete and a list of required documents will be provided.
Your application has been reviewed and denied. The notice of adverse action will list the reason(s) that your application was denied.
How is income calculated?
Income is calculated using the total household’s gross monthly income, considering everyone over the age of 18 in the household when we determine if the total household is within the minimum and maximum range of income allowed.
However only the income of the applicant(s) will be used to determine if the ability to pay requirements are met to qualify for a Habitat mortgage. Income is counted from sources such as employment wages, child support, alimony, Social Security Survival benefits, SSDI, & SSI. Unearned income for minors such as child support and SSI, etc. is typically not counted for children over age 15.
Households whose monthly income is not within the income qualification range will not qualify or where the applicant (s) are not meeting income requirements, will not qualify.
Is there a down payment required?
No. But, homebuyers are required to pay up to $800.00 towards the first year’s premium for homeowner’s insurance prior to purchasing home.
What is sweat equity?
Sweat equity is the cornerstone of Habitat and the strategy used to empower our homebuyers that sets us apart from other affordable housing providers. Habitat is not a “hand-out,” but a “hand-up.” A home is not being built for you or given to our homebuyers. Each Habitat homebuyer builds their home side by side with volunteers and then purchases the home when complete. Nothing is given away but opportunity.
Habitat uses the term “sweat equity” to refer to the hours of labor our homebuyers dedicate to building their homes, and the homes of their neighbors, as well as attending homeownership classes and Habitat events. HFHGC homebuyers begin their sweat equity after being accepted into the program, earning a minimum of 8 hours of sweat equity per month until their home begins construction.
Once a home begins construction, homebuyers are required to work each Saturday side by side with the volunteers building their home. Sweat equity reduces the amount of paid labor needed for a house, which in turn helps reduce cost. Additionally, time spent building your own home can instill a sense of pride and ownership, teaching you the basic building and house-maintenance skills that are necessary for successful homeownership. Note: A single applicant will need to earn a minimum of 200 hours of sweat equity, while two applicant households will earn a minimum of 300 hours.
How much is the monthly mortgage payment?
Monthly mortgage payments vary, but will never be more than 30% of a homebuyer’s monthly income. Monthly mortgage payments include an escrow payment for homeowners insurance and taxes. Payments are approximately $800/month (including taxes and insurance).
Do you have a waiting list?
No, we do not keep a waiting list. Applications are only accepted when build sites are available, please continue to check our website the 10th of each month to confirm if we are accepting applications.
Can I reapply if I am denied?
Absolutely! If you are denied for our program, the reason(s) for denial will be listed. This provides you with the opportunity to correct any issues and resubmit another application. We can help these applicants with strategies to improve their financial situation, refer them to other agencies that may be able to assist and encourage them to apply to the program again.
Some of our homeowners were denied the first, second and even third time they applied due to outstanding collections and debts, income that was below our limits or other issues. They successfully improved their eligibility, reapplied and were accepted into the program.
If you need help finding community resources, our staff can refer you to tools and resources available to help you improve your situation.
Do I need to be employed?
No, but you must have a steady income for at least the prior year that does meet our income guidelines. Qualifying income may include, but is not limited to child support, alimony, SSA, SSI, retirement and income from your employment.
What is the U.S. Citizenship requirement?
All applicants must be U.S. Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents. Copies are required of two (2) of the following documents for each applicant and co-applicant: driver’s license, Permanent Resident Card (Green Card), Social Security Card, state photo ID, passport.
Can only families with children apply?
No. Individuals and families qualify for a Habitat home by needing adequate, affordable housing, ability to pay their mortgage in addition to other monthly expenses and have a willingness to partner with Habitat to build their home and support the Habitat mission. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Cincinnati does not discriminate against race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin.
Can I apply as a single applicant if I am still legally married?
Married applicants can apply individually, but spouse must be listed on application as member of household, provide all income and asset information, consent to a background check and agree to sign a release of dower at time of home purchase. The spouse, who is not an applicant, will not have their income or debts counted when determining if the applicant meets the ability to pay criteria, but their income and assets will be considered to determine if the household income is within Habitat’s guidelines.
Can I qualify if I have had a foreclosure?
It must be three years from date of foreclosure.
Can I qualify if I have had an eviction?
It must be one year from the date of the completed eviction.
How can I find out what is on my credit report?
You are able to access a free credit report once a year from each of the three reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. To obtain a copy of your free credit report, go to the website www.annualcreditreport.com.
What if my credit report shows outstanding collections, debt, bankruptcies, judgments or liens?
Your credit history is a good indicator of your ability to meet your financial obligations and therefore Habitat takes credit reports into account when determining an applicant’s eligibility. We do not use credit scores in our assessment of eligibility; however, we evaluate whether you are timely in paying debts. We carefully review your credit report to see if there are collections, open judgments, or recent bankruptcies/foreclosures.
Bankruptcies and/or foreclosures must have been discharged for 3 years before applying.
Lastly, an applicant’s debt-to-income ratio (DTI) may not exceed 40%.
We will not consider an applicant(s) who has over $2,000 in uncollected, past-due debt. We do require applicants with negative credit accounts (as long as they total under $2,000) to have payment plans in place. We are unable to partner with applicants who have open unpaid judgments or liens.
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