Frequently Asked Questions for Homeownership
How long will it take for me to get a home?
The whole process from application to move in may take up to 18-24 months. There are many factors involved with getting your home: available land, sweat equity hours, specific needs, etc. We are committed to getting you in your home as quickly as possible and in return we appreciate your hard work and patience.
Do I get to choose where I live?
Lots are offered as they become available. We have built homes in all parts of Hamilton County, so there is no guarantee where your lot will be. You have the option of refusing the first lot offered to you, but you will be asked to reapply to the program if you turn down a second lot offering.
Who pays to build each house?
Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County works with faith communities, businesses, and other organizations and individuals to sponsor the building of a house. Such sponsors contribute a donation that goes towards buying materials for the house. Typically, sponsoring organizations also volunteer skilled and unskilled workers to build the house they sponsor, together with the prospective Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County homeowners. Once an affiliate has built 40 houses, the monthly mortgage payments from those 40 families are sufficient to build an additional house each year. Thus, as mortgage payments are recycled, homeowners also sponsor Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County houses. Other funding comes from grants, corporate donations, individual donations, and the Virtual ReStore.
How can I earn sweat equity hours?
The primary way to earn sweat equity hours is by working at construction sites. At least 100 of your hours must be completed on site. Additional hours may be earned by working in the Habitat office, attending Habitat classes, helping at ReStore, and attending special events. New ideas to earn sweat equity are always welcome but must be approved ahead of time by the appropriate committee or by the Board at large. At a minimum, each adult member must complete four hours a month. A friend may donate up to 50 hours towards a family’s sweat equity.
What are homeowner classes?
An important part of preparing Partner Families for the responsibilities and potential pitfalls of homeownership are the classes that Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County provides. There are at least three series of classes on the topics of Habitat Philosophy and Partnership, Financial Planning, and Home Maintenance and Neighborhood Development. Partner families are expected to attend these classes (counted towards sweat equity hours).
How big will my house be?
House size depends on the number of family members who will be living there. The following is the typical square footage for each house size: 950 square feet for a two-bedroom house, 1,100 square feet for a three-bedroom house, 1,250 square feet for a four-bedroom house, and 1,400 square feet for a five-bedroom house. The square foot numbers describe living space not including stairwells, crawl space and exterior storage.
Do I have a choice about what goes into my home?
Yes, you do have some choices. Please see the Home Features section for more information. Or you may contact the office for a comprehensive list of house features.
Does my house come with any warranties?
There is a one-year warranty on all work done by Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County. This warranty excludes damage resulting from wear and tear. There is also a one-year warranty on all subcontracted work such as plumbing, electrical, and heating and cooling.
How does a Habitat mortgage work?
Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County's home ownership program is unique in two ways: (1) Habitat sells houses at the cost of materials plus real estate without adding in profit; 2) Habitat provides the money to buy the house without charging interest. The no-interest mortgage is significant because a loan from a commercial bank adds interest payments, which more than doubles the "cost" of the home to the buyer. Our policy is that families should repay their mortgages as fast as they are able. A typical mortgage is 20 years. Mortgages may be extended to 22 or even 25 years in order to keep payments affordable. There is no penalty to the buyer for paying off the mortgage ahead of schedule – though other restrictions may remain in place for the entire original mortgage period.
What if I need or want to sell my house?
We want to build homes for people to live in, not to sell and make a profit. We do have guidelines for selling your home, though. All of the details will be discussed during our homeowner meetings.