Homeownership Program FAQ

No, we do not have a waitlist for homes at this time.

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

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 2017 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 Patty Schneider 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 NeighborWorks 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 Patty Schneider 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.

Not at this time. Habitat Oakland does not have a formal home repair program.

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.