homeownership

every home is a building block for a bright future

Shereka at build site

Alachua Habitat for Humanity’s homeownership program provides families with low income who would not otherwise qualify for a traditional mortgage the opportunity to become homeowners. Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers, and pay an affordable mortgage. Before building their own home, Habitat homeowners commit 200 hours of sweat equity by serving the community through community service hours, and by helping build another Habitat homeowner family’s home. All homeowner families complete a series of workshops, which are designed to empower families to become successful homeowners.

The focus of Alachua Habitat for Humanity's cornerstone program is to empower qualifying families in Alachua County to build and buy their own homes. We partner with families to construct safe, decent, affordable housing through new construction or rehabilitation. These homes are designed for energy efficiency, for aging-in-place, and for those with special needs.

We believe that empowering families with the right knowledge will lead to successful, long-term homeownership. In an effort to support the families we partner with, we require all families who qualify for our affordable homeownership program to participate in a series of homeowner education workshops as part of completing 400 hours of sweat equity. Most Alachua Habitat for Humanity families are first-time homeowners and all fall within the low- to moderate-income levels as defined by HUD.


Eligibility

Eligible applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a US citizen or permanent resident and live in Alachua County for 12 months or longer and provide verification
  • Applicants must not own a home
  • Must demonstrate need for adequate shelter. Need for adequate shelter includes:
    • Unsafe housing conditions
    • Inadequate housing for your family's needs
    • Overcrowding
    • Located in a high crime area
  • Your debt/income ratio must be below 43%. This ratio is calculated by totaling all of your monthly bills and then dividing by your total monthly income
  • No bankruptcy filings within the past four years
  • Applicants must have the ability to pay a modest monthly mortgage payments and be consistently employed for the past year or receiving a stable source of monthly income
  • Have a stable source of monthly income for one year
  • You must be willing to give permission to Alachua Habitat to run credit, criminal, and sexual offender background checks
  • Be willing to give 50 hours helping build the homes of others and 200 hours while your house is being built. You will be required to participate EVERY Saturday
  • Potential homeowners can call our Family Services Department at 352-378-4663 to begin the application process and to attend the next Home Ownership Orientation (HOO). It is required that all parties on housing application attend a Home Owner Orientation (HOO). See the HOO Schedule tab for details. You do not need to submit any documentation at the orientation.
  • Have a total GROSS household income between the following amounts, according to the size of your household. You may count income from wages, social security (SSI, disability, pension), child support, and Veteran pension


If you have any questions, please contact our family services department at 352-363-6493

# people in household

minimum allowed income
(per month)

maximum allowed income
(per month)

1 $1997 $3821
2 $2283 $4367
3 $2568 $4913
4 $2853 $5458
5 $3139 $5896
6 $3424 $6333

If you do not meet all of the above criteria, or if the income for your family size does not fall between the minimum and maximum numbers, you are not eligible for a Habitat home at this time.

If you have any questions, please contact our family services department at 352-363-6493

Steps to homeownership

Each of the four steps in our homeownership program is explained below. Please note that you are required to maintain debt income ratio at 43% or lower and meet a minimum 40% average medium income throughout the duration of the program and your application will be re-certified at each step. You will also be required to notify Family Services Department as soon as possible when there are changes in your phone numbers (cell, home, and work), address, financial, marital status, household size or employment throughout the program. Future Habitat homeowners are also required to participate in 12 educational workshops and attend an eight- hour Home Buyer's Education class prior to closing. Each Habitat homeowner pays $1000 as a down payment, which is paid in four installments of $250. The four $250 installments are paid at the beginning of each step. Payments are nonrefundable and we do not accept cash.

Step 1

  • Pay your first $250 installment and sign the Step 1 agreement
  • Attend Pre-Purchase counseling within 30 days of signing the First Step Agreement and take the required educational informational workshops as they are offered
  • Start working on your 250 hours of sweat equity
    • 50 hours building another family's Habitat house, which must be completed within one year of signing the Step 1 agreement
    • 200 hours building your home
  • Sweat equity hours are NOT reimbursed as a hourly wage if homeowner or Habitat terminates partnership
  • Re-certification of your finances and ability to pay
  • You will be shown properties and house designs for those lots, that are scheduled to be built in the upcoming year. We understand that choosing a place to build your home is a big decision. If you pass on the available property it will be offered to the next family on the list. You will need to submit a new application and requalify for a mortgage the following year. You will retain your sweat equity hours for one year.
Co-applicants are permitted to count both of your hours towards the 50-hour requirement.


Step 2

  • Reaching Step 2 indicates that you have completed your first 50 sweat equity hours
  • Re-certification of your finances and ability to pay
  • Pay your second $250 installment and sign the Step 2 agreement
  • You must continue to participate in the required homeowner workshops
  • Certify for a mortgage
  • Sign a construction agreement


Step 3

  • Pay your third $250 installment and sign the Step 3 agreement
  • Re-certification of your finances and ability to pay
  • Register for the Home Buyer's Education class within 30 days. It is required to attend the Home Buyer's Education class before the Certificate of Occupancy is issued
  • Construction begins!
  • You and the co-applicant (if applicable) must be on site every Saturday to work beside volunteers and Habitat staff on your house
  • During this period, you will choose exterior paint color, front door paint color, vinyl flooring, and counter tops from the options provided


Step 4

  • Pay your final $250 installment and sign the Step 4 agreement
  • Re-certification of your finances and ability to pay
  • Verification of your final 200 sweat equity hours and your presence at your home build site every Saturday while your home was being constructed
  • Confirmation of required workshop attendance and certification of Home Buyer Education
  • Receive "Caring for Your Home" manual
  • You will choose a homeowner's insurance policy
  • Attend final walk-through with Director of Construction
  • Schedule electric service to be turned on at your new address
  • Attend Loan estimate and meeting to sign DPA documents.
  • Certificate of Occupancy issued
  • Assist with Home Dedication and attend closing


Once the closing and the home dedication have taken place, you and your family move into your very own home!


If you have any questions, please contact our family services department at 352-363-6493

FAQs

How are applicants chosen for participation in the homeownership program?

Interested families submit an application to our Family Services Department. Applications are examined for demonstrated need for housing, ability to pay an affordable mortgage, and willingness to partner with Alachua Habitat. Applications are available at Home Ownership Orientations (HOOs) which all applicants are required to attend. Alachua Habitat for Humanity does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, age, handicap, sexual orientation, family status, or because all or any part of income is derived from any public assistance program.


Are the houses given for free?

No. We partner with the applicant candidate, businesses, and volunteers to build houses. Once a house is complete, the Habitat homebuyer purchases the house with a zero-interest or zero-equivalent interest mortgage with affordable monthly payments. Habitat homeowner families then pay it forward through their mortgage payments that help fund Habitat houses for other local families.


How much is the monthly mortgage payment?

The monthly mortgage payment varies depending on the value of each house once it's complete and the homebuyer household's income.


Do I have to have a job?

No, but you must have a steady income and meet the household minimum requirements as outlined in the eligibility section. Qualifying income includes (but is not limited to): wages, child support, alimony, SSI, SSA, veteran's pension, and retirement benefits.


Can a single person apply?

Yes, single as well as married individuals can apply, and you do not need to have children to qualify.


What if I own my own business?

You are eligible to apply if you own your own business. You will need to provide your complete income tax records for the previous two years, which will be evaluated to ensure that you meet the minimum and do not exceed the maximum income for your family size.


Can I re-apply if I am denied?

Yes. If your application is denied, we will provide referrals and information on what steps to take to gain eligibility and to re-apply.


Has Alachua Habitat for Humanity ever foreclosed on a house?

Yes, unfortunately we have. Homeowners are expected to make timely monthly mortgage payments. Your payments are important because they help fund homes for future Habitat homeowners.


What is sweat equity?

Sweat Equity is the time and effort you contribute toward the purchase of you home through community service and the construction of others' homes as well as your own. Following approval of the selection committee, you must complete the required number of sweat equity hours, but more important than the number of hours, is your consistent, active participation on the job site. Sweat equity also includes participating in required homeowner education classes, working at our Habitat ReStore, and participating in other approved community activities.


What if I don't know anything about construction?

We do not require any previous skills or knowledge. Sweat equity is an exciting learning experience in which you work with your family, friends, and community to build other peoples' homes as well as your own. Working alongside volunteers and future neighbors to build your home and community is one of the most unique, empowering, and rewarding aspects of Habitat for Humanity.


Other questions?

Contact our family services department at 352-363-6493

How to Apply

We are in the process of updating the procedure and forms to apply for the Homeownership and Mortgage program. Keep your eyes on this website or on our Facebook page for instructions on how to obtain a Prescreen Application.

Please review the eligibility requirements under the first tab to determine if you meet the initial guidelines.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 352-363-6493. We look forward to working with you on your journey to Homeownership.



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