Habitat for Humanity Homeownership ProgramSimple. Decent. Affordable.
Do you dream of owning your own home in a decent neighborhood? Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity may be able to work with you to make your dreams come true. We are dedicated to partnering with qualifying families in Strafford and Rockingham counties to build simple, decent, affordable homes.
We offer our partners a hand up, not a handout.
While homeownership is an exciting thought, we caution potential partner families that the process can be lengthy and that it requires lots of hard work. There are several requirements that partner families must meet in order to successfully own their own homes through our program. It is not an easy process. It is hard work. But what worth having is easy? When you are done, you will have the security and peace of mind that owning a home can provide.
Partner Family Information Meetings
Potential Partner Families need to attend an information meeting. Applications are available only at these meetings. Here you will learn about the homes available, the application process and the selection criteria, the selection process, and what it means to be a Partner Family. There are currently no information meetings scheduled. When we schedule our next habitat house we will update this site with the details of the next information meetings.
Please read below to learn more about the Habitat Homeownership Program.
Family Eligibility CriteriaWhen selecting a new partner family, Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity considers the following criteria:
- Current annual income must fall between 30-60% of the area’s median income. The Family Selection Committee considers the income of the applicant, the co-applicant, and other members of the household. Income must be documented by federal tax returns.
- Current living conditions - unsafe or unsuitable, too many people for the size of the home, no permanent housing, or you share with other families.
- Inability to obtain a loan via conventional mortgage.
- Ability to make a 1% down payment and make monthly mortgage payments (including taxes and insurance) not exceeding 33% of gross income. The range of current mortgages, including escrow for taxes and insurance, is $600 - $800 monthly. This may change from home to home, depending upon the cost of land and materials.
- Willingness to partner also plays a major role in consideration for selection. The foundation of the Habitat mission is partnering with families, working side by side with them as they help build their homes. A huge part of this partnership is “sweat equity” or volunteer time. Our sweat equity requirements are as follows:
- The families must be willing and able to put in a minimum of 250 hours of volunteer time per applicant. If there is a co-applicant, 500 total hours are required.
- At least 75% of that time must be put in at one of our building sites, preferably their own home site whenever that is available.
- Since the program is a partnership effort, families are expected to continue working on their homes through completion, even if they have fulfilled the minimum sweat equity hours.
- Partner families may engage friends and/or relatives to contribute a maximum of 50 hours per applicant towards their total sweat equity. These friends and/or relatives must be identified prior to entering into their partnership agreement. Partner families may not solicit hours from volunteers who happen to be working on the construction site. Southeast NH Habitat for Humanity staff, volunteers, and members of the Board of Directors cannot donate sweat equity hours to a partner family.
- If a member of a partner family is deemed to have a physical condition that prohibits him or her from participating in physical work, the Board of Directors will determine on a case-by-case basis whether exceptions to the sweat equity policy should be made. Partner families are not allowed to move into their homes until sweat equity requirements have been fulfilled.
- Change in income, ability to pay or willingness to partner at any time after a family is chosen for partnership will be grounds for re-assessment of the partnership by Habitat.
|Household Size||Minimum Income Guideline||Maximum Income Guideline|
|30% of median income||60% of median income|
The Selection Process
We are offering an amazing opportunity to the chosen families, and it is one of our highest priorities to assure that our partners are put in a situation in which we are sure they will succeed. We are also obligated to protect our investment, and the trust of our supporters. For these reasons, we must choose families wisely, and take the time and measures to make sure that happens.
The applicant and members of the applicant's household must understand that in-depth investigation will be conducted by the Family Selection team to determine actual need, ability to pay for their Habitat home, and willingness to become a partner with Habitat for Humanity. This will be documented by a combination of credit reference checks, financial reviews and home visit interviews by committee members.
The application process can be lengthy, and can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. Once a call for applications goes out, the family selection team will wait until the deadline for applications before contacting any applicants. They will then review the applications and inform applicants who don’t qualify and the reason(s) why. The team will also begin contacting potential partners. The process could include a phone interview as well as at least two in-home visits. It also includes stringent checks of credit, financial background, criminal background, references and more.
The Partnership Phase – Building a Home, Building a FuturePatience is important for chosen partner families. Although it is our intention to put them in a new home as soon as possible, all work done on the site is completed by the family, the organization and all the volunteers. This takes time – currently, the average build is about a year.
This is not an easy process. Our families invest a lot of their time and effort into their homes and they realize very quickly the amount of work and the number of people it takes to build a Habitat Home.
Once a partner family is chosen, they will be assigned a partner advocate. This is their go-to person from the time they are chosen through the first year of homeownership. The advocate will track the Partner Family’s sweat equity hours, answer questions, and be their liaison with Habitat.
This advocate may also help them find the appropriate training needed to prepare for being a homeowner – from financial planning and budgeting classes, to any appropriate first time homebuyers classes. We want to make sure the family has the know-how and the confidence to start their future from the day they put the key in the door of their new home.