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 and for aging-in-place.

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 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 seven 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
  • You must be willing to give permission to Alachua Habitat to run credit, criminal, and sexual offender background checks
  • You must be willing and able to give 100 hours of community service, 100 hours to help build other Habitat homes, and work every Saturday (200 hours) on your own house, for a total of 400 sweat equity hours
  • Meet the income guidelines. It is required that your family's total gross monthly income fall between the amounts listed below, according to the size of your household. You may count income from wages, social security (SSI, Disability, or Pension), child support, and Veteran pension.
  • 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 register for a HOO or submit any documentation at the orientation.


2017 HUD Income Guidelines

# people in household

minimum allowed income
(per month)

maximum allowed income
(per month)

1 $1517 $3033
2 $1733 $3466
3 $1950 $3900
4 $2163 $4326
5 $2336 $4673
6 $2510 $5020

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 352-363-6496

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 the Family Services program as soon as possible when there are changes in your phone numbers (cell, home, and work), address, financial/marital status, or employment. 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 towards closing costs, which is paid in four installments of $250. The four $250 installments are paid at the beginning of each step. Payments are non-refundable and we do not accept cash.

Step 1

  • Pay your first $250 installment and sign the Step 1 agreement
  • Attend Finance/Budget class within 30 days of signing the First Step Agreement and take the required educational informational workshops as they are offered
  • Start working on your 200 hours of sweat equity, which must be completed within one year of signing the Step 1 agreement. The first 200 sweat equity hours include:
    • 100 hours community service, which can include volunteer hours at any of the following:
      • Alachua Habitat ReStore
      • Alachua Habitat administrative office
      • Another non-profit organization
  • 100 hours building another family's Habitat house

If you are the only person on your application, you may bring one (1) volunteer to the build site and count their volunteer hours towards your 100 hour requirement

Co-applicants are permitted to count both of your hours towards the 100 hour requirement


Step 2

  • Pay your second $250 installment and sign the Step 2 agreement
  • You must continue to participate in the required homeowner workshops
  • Reaching Step 2 indicates that our Family Selection Committee has reviewed your application package and agreed to place your name on the list for beginning the construction on the home when funding and property are secured
  • Start thinking about:
    • Where in Alachua County you want to live
    • Of the house designs that your family qualifies for, which do you prefer
  • You will be shown properties as they become available. We understand that choosing a place build your home is a big decision. If you pass on an available property, it will be offered to the next family on the list, but your application will still remain in the same spot on the list so there is no penalty for choosing not to build on a particular property.


Step 3

  • Pay your third $250 installment and sign the Step 3 agreement
  • You will be assigned a Family Support Partner (subject to availability) who will be your Habitat contact during the construction and closing on your house
  • 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
  • Final decision and commitment is made on your property and floor plan choice
  • During this period, you will choose exterior paint color, front door paint color, vinyl flooring, and counter tops from the options provided
  • 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


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
  • 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 good faith estimate/HUD 1 meeting
  • Continue relationship with Family Support Services
  • 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 352-363-6496

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 352-363-6496

HOO Schedule

Applications will be available at the Home Owner Orientation (HOO) meetings. You do not need to register or bring any paperwork or documentation to the HOO, but please be there ON TIME as we lock the doors once the HOO has started.


2017 Homeowner Orientations

April 19th, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Alachua County Library Headquarters
401 East University Ave, Gainesville, FL 32601

May 31st, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

McCarty, Naim, Focks & Keeter, P.A. office
(same parking lot as Alachua Habitat for Humanity admin offices)
2630-A NW 41st St, Gainesville, FL 32606
352-363-6493

July 26th, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

McCarty, Naim, Focks & Keeter, P.A. office
(same parking lot as Alachua Habitat for Humanity admin offices)
2630-A NW 41st St, Gainesville, FL 32606
352-363-6493

September 20th, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

McCarty, Naim, Focks & Keeter, P.A. office
(same parking lot as Alachua Habitat for Humanity admin offices)
2630-A NW 41st St, Gainesville, FL 32606
352-363-6493

November 15th, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

McCarty, Naim, Focks & Keeter, P.A. office
(same parking lot as Alachua Habitat for Humanity admin offices)
2630-A NW 41st St, Gainesville, FL 32606
352-363-6493


If you have any questions, please contact our family services department at 352-363-6496

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