Does the Habitat homeowner own the house?
Yes, partner families who have completed all requisite requirements purchase the house from Habitat through a zero-interest mortgage loan. The average monthly payment is $418, including property taxes and homeowner’s insurance. Homeownership provides each Habitat family the opportunity to build equity in their home. The revenue from mortgages paid by Habitat homeowners is placed in a revolving fund that supports construction of more homes.
How does Habitat qualify its partner families?
These are the criteria for qualification:
- Be living and/or working in Greenville County for at least one year
- Be living below the standard poverty level, having income 30-60% of our region’s area median income (AMI)
- If employed, be employed a minimum of one year with their current employer. If disabled, retired, military, or receiving other income such as Social Security or SSI, show documentation of two years of verifiable income.
- Have a definite housing need—either living in unsafe, substandard housing or paying excessive rent in relation to income.
- Have sufficient income available to be able to enter into an agreement with Habitat to pay a monthly, interest-free mortgage. If credit issues exist, these must be addressed through budget counseling with our staff before approval for participation in Habitat’s homeownership program.
- Complete an educational program provided at no cost by Habitat to prepare applicants for homeownership. This includes 25 hours of classes in personal finance, budgeting, credit, mortgages, home maintenance and repair, conflict resolution, being a good neighbor and others. Classes are offered in the evening and certain classes are available online.
- Be willing to complete a minimum of 200 hours of volunteer service to Habitat, known as “sweat equity.” This includes work on the prospective homeowner's home, other Habitat homes and possibly, volunteering with other nonprofit organizations.
Who pays for the cost of building Habitat homes?
Habitat’s financial partners fund construction of the homes. A business, church or other organization may fund an entire house and supply all the volunteer support, or, several groups may work together to fund and build a home. Volunteers provide much of the construction labor with contractors being brought in for aspects such as grading, foundation work, electrical, drywall, plumbing, cabinetry and HVAC.
How do volunteers participate in home builds?
Aspects of construction such as framing, siding, roofing, interior trim, painting, hardware installation and landscaping are completed by volunteers under the supervision of Habitat’s site superintendent (a member of the Habitat construction department staff). Members of our Quality Assurance Team (QATs) and task leaders (who are trained by Habitat) provide invaluable volunteer leadership on the build site.