Q: How do I get a house?
A: First, it’s important to know that Austin Habitat for Humanity does not give houses away. We provide a hand up rather than a hand out. Therefore, each applicant must agree to partner with us in the program, which includes providing all documentation needed as well as attending homebuyer education classes and working 300 hours of sweat equity. Basic requirements to own a Habitat home are provided in the mandatory orientation session. For a schedule of upcoming classes, please call our office at 512-472-8788 x 100.
Q: How do I know if I qualify?
A: Austin Habitat builds houses along with families who demonstrate a need for housing, the ability to pay a mortgage and also a willingness to partner.
To begin the process, we need you to show documentation proving the following are true:
- You are a first time homebuyer or a previous home owner that has not owned a home for the past three years. (Displaced homemakers may qualify.)
- Your family income is 60 percent of the median family income in Austin.
- Less than 30 percent of your gross annual income will be used to pay the mortgage.
- You are willing to pay a zero-percent fixed rate mortgage loan for 30 years.
- Your credit score is 560 or above.
- Your present living conditions are substandard or renting and that you desire ownership through Austin Habitat for Humanity.
Click here for more detailed information on qualifications.
Q: How much will my mortgage cost?
A: We provide the opportunity for zero-percent interest loans for 30 years. Payments are approximately $500/month for 30 years.
Q: What are sweat equity hours and how many do I have to work?
A: Sweat equity is the Habitat for Humanity term for partnering with us in the process to create homeownership for you and for others. Austin Habitat for Humanity requires each Habitat partner (future homeowner) to complete 300 hours of sweat equity helping build others homes so we can begin building yours. The pace at which you work off your hours is entirely up to you and your family. In general, the process takes approximately 12 months.
Q: Are the houses free?
A: Austin Habitat for Humanity does not give houses away. We provide a hand up rather than a hand out. Therefore, each applicant must agree to partner with us in the program, which includes providing all documentation needed as well as attending homebuyer education classes and working 300 hours of sweat equity.
Q: Do I have to be a first-time homebuyer?
A: By HUD definition you must not have owned a home, independently or with someone else, in the past 3 years.
Q: What if I’m over the income requirements?
A: Habitat has two options for those above the maximum requirements for a home (see sidebar for maximum/minimum qualifications). Our team holds a session titled, “Realizing the American Dream,” for those interested in homeowership but who may need to go through more traditional homebuying arrangements. Also, Austin Habitat recently acquired HomeBase (formerly known as PeopleTrust) that serves those in a slightly higher income bracket. For more information on HomeBase go to www.homebasetexas.org or call 512-410-6616.
Q: What if I’m under the income guidelines?
A: If you are below the income guidelines specified by Austin Habitat for Humanity, we refer you to housing agencies who specialize in your area.
The local resources tab will take you to a list of agencies that may be better equipped to help you or you may dial 2-1-1 for more information on low-income, more immediate, or rental housing options.
Q: Can I sell the house?
A: The Habitat for Humanity program is designed to promote long-term ownership. We find that very few of our homeowners want to sell the home they worked so hard to build. Although it’s unusual, homes can be sold after a period of time. Homes sold within the first ten years will be required to pay back grant funding. Some funding sources require homes to be sold to an affordable-housing qualified applicant.
Q: Can I rent my home to other people?
A: No, Habitat for Humanity homes must be owner occupied.
Q: When is the next orientation session? I can’t wait to get started!
A: We’re excited for you to get started too! If you meet the requirements, have questions or want to register for an orientation session, please call our office: 512-472-8788 x 100. We look forward to hearing from you!