What is the first step toward purchasing a Habitat home?
First, you can review the criteria for selection here. If you think the Habitat program may be a good fit for you, fill out our eligibility questionnaire here or call our office at (518) 462-2993 x106 to complete the questionnaire by phone or schedule an appointment to complete it in our office.
How are applicants selected?
Your answers to the eligibility questionnaire will help Habitat staff determine whether or not you qualify to receive a full application. Once you return a completed application and supporting documentation, Habitat conducts an internal review for completeness. Then, we submit your application to one of our banking partners for their underwriting and mortgage loan approval.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of the U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
Will credit checks or background checks be conducted?
Yes, Habitat conducts credit and background checks on all applicants. A criminal history does not automatically disqualify an applicant; any issues that come up in a background check will be handled on an individual basis. Habitat will verify employment, obtain housing and banking references, and check credit to make an assessment as to whether Habitat is an appropriate program for the applicant(s). Habitat does not have a minimum credit score requirement, but credit history and debt will be assessed by us and our banking partners. Applicants cannot have filed bankruptcy in the last four years.
Do I have to have children to be approved?
Habitat serves all types of households and families, including single homeowners, married couples, partners, families with or without children, multi-generational families and other household situations.
If approved, how long will it take before I purchase my Habitat house?
Homebuyers are in the program until their house has been built or renovated; generally, this takes 6 to 12 months. The construction process is complex with many variables depending on funding sources, the construction schedule and building requirements. This complexity makes it difficult to predict the length of time from acceptance into the program to the date of purchase.
What is sweat equity?
At Habitat for Humanity, sweat equity is a new homeowner investing in their home or one for another family. It’s not a form of payment, but an opportunity to work alongside volunteers who give their time to bring to life a family’s dream of owning a home.
Sweat equity can take many forms for partner families working with Habitat. It can mean construction work on their home or on a home for another family, cleaning up the build site, working in a Habitat ReStore, assisting in administrative duties, or countless other ways of helping out.
Homeowner classes — learning how to manage a home or finances — also count as sweat equity. Families invest their time in the long-term success of their homeownership. Throughout the process of purchasing their home, Habitat partner families can earn sweat equity credit as they learn about their mortgage, insurance, maintenance, safety and more.
The idea behind sweat equity, families working side by side with volunteers to build their homes, goes back to even before Habitat for Humanity began in 1976. Clarence Jordan — the founder of Koinonia Farm, where Habitat for Humanity began — wrote in a 1968 letter, “What the poor need is not charity but capital, not case workers but co-workers.”
That co-worker approach informs Habitat’s emphasis on sweat equity: all of us working together so that homeowners can achieve the strength, stability and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and for their families.
What kinds of houses does Habitat build or remodel?
We build and renovate both single-family and two-family homes with various numbers of bedrooms to accommodate a range of household sizes. Thanks to our partners at Whirlpool, a stove and refrigerator are included in all homes. Additional appliances, such as a dishwasher or over-the-range microwave, may be available to add on at a discounted price. Habitat for Humanity Capital District builds and renovates homes primarily in our urban areas, so many Habitat homes are attached town homes.
You can see what homes are currently available for purchase here.
Do applicants get to choose the location or design of the home?
Habitat does not build custom homes. Habitat homebuyers will have the opportunity to purchase a home that is appropriate for the size and composition of their household. To keep the homes affordable, Habitat cannot accept custom design requests. Habitat homebuyers often have the opportunity to select home finishings such as flooring and cabinets, but this is not always the case.
The location of the house is dependent upon where Habitat is building or renovating houses.
How much will the Habitat house cost?
Habitat is committed to keeping housing payments affordable for qualified homebuyers. Your monthly housing payment, which includes your mortgage payment, homeowners’ insurance and property taxes, will not be more than 30% of your gross monthly household income.