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150 Osmun St Pontiac, MI 48342 | 248-338-1843

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Homeownership Program FAQ

You can call the Partner and Community Programs Department at (248)-897-2592 If you leave a message, your call will be returned by our Program Intake Specialist within the next two business days. You can also email with your question.
If you would prefer to meet in person, you can also schedule an appointment to meet with the Program Intake Specialist in person.

Due to staff capacity, we aren’t always able to answer all calls immediately. If you leave a message, your call should be returned within 2 business days. You can also email with your question.

Application processing typically takes up to 20 business days. We’ll contact you by phone and email as we’re processing your application if any requested documentation is missing or if any items on your application require clarification. Once your application has been processed you will receive an email and a letter in the mail to notify you about your status.

Local libraries typically have free access to computers and the internet. You can find your nearest local library here >

You can also call the Partner and Community Programs Department at (248)-338-1843 x. 200 or email to request a paper copy of the initial intake form. Once you have submitted your intake form and submitted a pre-qualification from a lender you will receive the full program application. The program application can be requested in paper form as well.

You can call the Partner and Community Programs Department at 248-338-1843 x. 200 to schedule an appointment to submit an application and any requested financial documents. If you leave a message, your call will be returned within two business days. You can also email with any questions.

Yes, at this current time we do have partner families and individuals on our program roster. Our approved homebuyers are waiting to select a home based on their affordability, desired location and needs. The program waitlist is fluid and changes based on Habitat’s building plans.

Do not let a waitlist stop you from applying. Homebuyers often need 6-12 months in the program to meet savings and sweat equity requirements. We are always here and happy to help with application questions!

Applications are being accepted now. To get that process started, click here.

There is no upfront application fee, but upon acceptance into the Homeownership program there is a one time $25 program acceptance fee.

To be eligible for the Habitat program, you must be able to secure financing from a reputable lender. Many lenders have specialized programs available to help finance your home with a low interest, affordable mortgage with a minimal down payment.

  • Typically lenders want to see your credit score above 550, and ideally above 620.
  • Most lenders also like to see your overall debt to income ratio fall below 43%.

Lenders may look at things slightly different so you are encouraged to see if you can pre-qualify for a loan from a few lenders to see which one might be the right fit for you. You are encouraged to secure your own financing from the lender of your choice.

Habitat Oakland has built homes all over Oakland County. Home locations are dependent on property donations and the opportunity to acquire affordable homes to renovate and lots to build on.

Our 2023 home builds and renovations will take place in Pontiac and Southfield.

Note: Locations and build schedule are subject to change.

Habitat builds or renovates safe, decent and affordable homes. They typically have 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom and can range from 1,000 square feet to 1,400 square feet. Habitat determines the floor plan to be built for new construction based on the dimensions of the lot. Habitat determines the renovation scope of work for rehabilitated homes based on the most economical way in accordance with Habitat standards. Rehabilitated homes may vary drastically from project to project depending on the condition and layout of the existing home.

“Sweat equity” refers to the homeowners’ hands-on involvement in building Habitat homes and volunteering in the ReStore and other programs. Sweat equity is a critical part of the Habitat program for 3 main reasons.

  1. Sweat Equity Builds Partnership.The goal of sweat equity is to provide opportunities for meaningful interaction between partner homebuyers, affiliate representatives and Habitat volunteers. Habitat for Humanity is not only about building houses; our mission extends to uplifting people and building community. The best way for partner homebuyers and volunteers to get to know one another is to work alongside each other.
  2. Sweat Equity Builds a Sense of Pride.Habitat for Humanity is not a charity or a give-away program. We offer a hand up rather than a handout. Habitat for Humanity works with, rather than for, those in need to build their own homes and brighter future.
  3. Sweat Equity Builds Skills and Knowledge.The sweat equity program is designed to offer future homeowners a wide variety of opportunities to gain skills and knowledge that will help them successfully adapt to their new home. On the building site, partner homebuyers will gain a real understanding of the construction of their home and maintenance issues they will face after occupancy. The homeowner education series offers valuable information to future homebuyers to help them successfully navigate the home buying process.

Up to 300 sweat equity hours are required by each applicant household. An unwillingness to participate in sweat equity is a legitimate reason for disqualification.

Houses are sold to approved homebuyers at the appraised value. Each home is different and subject to an appraisal.

Monthly mortgage payments never exceed 30% of an applicant’s gross monthly income. This mortgage payment includes principal, interest, property taxes, and home insurance (PITI). Each applicant’s monthly payment will be different, as each applicant has different household income.

To purchase a home from Habitat, you must secure financing for an affordable mortgage. Habitat Oakland does not offer mortgage loans. Homebuyers will need to secure affordable financing from a reputable lender.

For a list of lending partners click here.

Lenders often offer a variety of mortgage loan products to help you purchase your home. Some loan features may include

  • 30 Year Fixed Rate
  • Low down payment
  • No mortgage insurance requirements
  • Up to 100% loan-to-value (LTV)
  • Down payment assistance resources – some lenders can help qualified homebuyers secure up to $8,000 for down payment assistance and closing costs.

Habitat is a long-term housing solution. The home buying process typically takes approximately 6-18 months. Timing is subject to current housing availability.

No, Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County only offers homeownership opportunities. We do not offer rental, transitional or emergency housing. Contact Community Housing Network at 248-269-1335 for help with emergency housing needs or click here.

No, the homeownership program requires that homeowners live in the house they buy.

When you initially set out to purchase a home, Habitat will want to know you can actually afford the house. This is also important information for you too!

A pre-qualification is a pretty straightforward, simple check from a mortgage lender to see what you can afford based on your income/debt levels (debt-to-income ratio), assets, down payment, and employment history, credit score, and so on.

You want to have a clear idea of how much you can afford to spend on a home and still keep the rest of your finances under control.

You can get pre-qualified very quickly and easily with a bank or mortgage lender. A good place to start is to check with the financial institution that you currently bank with.

Habitat has partnerships with several local lenders. Click here for a list of lender referrals. You can continue with the process and contact any of these lenders for a pre-qualification or you are welcome to contact a lender of your choice.

Click on the link below and we will connect you with our lending partners to take the next step.
Get Started

Don’t give up on your dream of homeownership! Contact Housing & Financial Counselor Danielle Montgomery at 248-338-1843 x. 234 at Habitat to see if you would be a good fit for our Habitat University Program. We are able to develop a plan to help you work toward improving you situation so you can buy a home.

Habitat University is the name of financial coaching program at Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County. This program offers one on one budgeting and credit review sessions with our HUD Certified Housing Counselor. In addition, educational classes that address money management, credit, debt and banking are offered. For more information about how you can participate in this program, please click here or call Danielle Montgomery at 248-338-1843 x. 234.

Habitat does have a variety of appliances and furniture items available for purchase at very low prices through our Restores. Click here for more information.

Yes, Habitat Oakland has have a formal home repair program. Roofs, Ramps and Repairs is a critical home repair and home preservation program that provides needed exterior repairs for homeowners in Oakland County so that they may maintain a safe, decent and affordable place to live. For more information or to apply click here.

YES! Habitat Oakland has partnered with Consumers Energy Helping Neighbors program.

Homeowners & Renters that qualify for the Helping Neighbors Program receive:

  • A free home energy assessment
  • Installation of free energy-saving products
  • Useful information on ways to reduce energy in your home for long-term savings

Click here for more information on how to schedule your FREE appointment.