Frequently Asked Questions
Looking to become a Habitat for Humanity homeowner? Below are some common questions our applicants have.
If you do not find answers to your questions below, please call us at (501) 376-4434 or send a quick email.
How is a Habitat Partner Family selected?
The families go through a family selection process that seeks homeowners based on their level of need, their willingness to become partners in the program through performing "sweat equity" in the building of their home, and their ability to repay the zero percent interest loans.
The length of the family selection process varies depending on the availability of homes. It may be more than a year from the beginning of the selection process until the family can move into their home. Habitat follows a nondiscriminatory policy in family selection. Neither race nor religion is a factor in choosing families who receive Habitat homes.
How can I get an application for housing?
Potential homeowners who are interested in applying for a Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas Habitat home should complete a Habitat Homeowner Application.
How does a Habitat mortgage work?
Habitat acts as the lender for a 20-year to 30-year 0% - interest mortgage. The monthly payments that the family pays to Habitat are then used to help build additional homes for more families.
How much does a Habitat home cost and how much are the monthly payments?
Recent homes that Habitat has built and sold cost between $80,000 and $130,000. Monthly mortgage payments are approximately 33% of the family’s monthly income. This includes the principal, house insurance, and property taxes.
Do I have to be a U. S. citizen to qualify?
No. However, you must be a permanent resident to qualify.
What is "sweat equity" and when can I start working on my hours?
Through our partnership with families and individuals, we equip future home buyers with the strength and self-reliance they’ll need to be successful homeowners. Families who are accepted in the Habitat partnership will be required to complete 300 sweat equity hours.
Take a look below at a few of the ways this important investment of time is made:
Work Sites - Being involved in the process of building or renovating Habitat homes - including your own
ReStore - Lending a hand at a Habitat ReStore to collect, organize and sell gently used home building and decorating supplies
Does Habitat prevent homeowners from selling their homes and making windfall profits?
Habitat retains the "Right of First Refusal" to purchase back any home in the event that a homeowner needs to sell. Habitat buys the home back at a price that shares with the homeowner the appreciation in the value of the house.
To become Habitat Homeowners, all applicants must meet the following three (3) basic criteria:
Demonstrated Need for Improved Housing
Potential homeowners must show that they have a current need for improved housing. A need for shelter can be determined by many factors such as lack of space, overcrowded housing, rental costs that are over 50% of a family's monthly income, unsafe living conditions, dangerous environment, problems with major utilities, or other general structural problems.
Willingness to Partner
Purchasing a home through Habitat requires a commitment of time and energy. Habitat strives to select homeowners who will be active participants in the construction process and positive representatives of Habitat in the community.
"Sweat equity" is the future homeowner's contribution of labor in the construction of their home. All selected future homeowners are required to complete 300 sweat equity hours per adult in order to move into their new home. These hours can be completed by the family working on their own home, working on the construction sites of other homes, working at the Habitat ReStore, or other Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas projects.
Ability to Pay
A future homeowner must have a steady source of income and they must demonstrate financial responsibility. Family income must fall within established Habitat income guidelines for the past three years.
Homeowner Selection Process
Once your application has been submitted and approved, it takes up to a year to move into your new Central Arkansas Habitat home.
Here is the process we follow:
1. Application Submission
Everyone interested in purchasing a Central Arkansas Habitat home must fully complete the application forms. Spanish application forms are available. There is no application fee charged. Once we receive your application, there are three things we review before moving on to the next step:
Income – Required employment for one year or more with the current employer.
Credit check – Show any outstanding debt.
Background check – Criminal background is conducted on all adult applicants.
2. Ability to Pay
You will need to submit several other documents at this meeting, such as tax returns, paycheck stubs, driver’s license, and proof of legal residency.
Each adult family member who will be on the mortgage and/or living in the home will be required to attend an ability-to-pay meeting where financial obligations will be explained.
3. Homeowner Selection Meeting
The Homeowner Selection Committee meets once a month to review each family in the application process who have shown that they have a need, the ability to pay and the willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas
If the reviewed applicant passes the Homeowner Selection Committee, then the family proceeds to the Board of Directors.
4. Board of Directors Approval
The Board of Directors of Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas reviews each applicant for final approval. The Board makes the final decision on all applicants to our program.
5. Sweat Equity & Construction Meeting
Once final approval is received, the family is required to attend a sweat equity & construction meeting to discuss ways in which the family can work to achieve their 300 hours of sweat equity and discuss all the components of the home.
This new home buyer will need to select and discuss various aspects of the house pertaining to carpet, vinyl flooring, countertops, etc.
6. Complete 300 Hours of Sweat Equity & Homebuyer Education Course
The home buyer, along with help with friends and family, will work to complete 300 hours of sweat equity. This can be completed by volunteering on the construction site, attending workshops, and volunteering in other Habitat programs.
The Homebuyer Education Course helps future Habitat homeowners understand the homebuying process and how to develop a financial plan for the future. The class is available in-person and online. It comes with a certification certificate that must be shown to HFH of Central Arkansas.
7. Second Income Qualification, Credit & Background Review
This serves as an update to all financial documents before closing.
8. Escrow Closing Process
The homebuyer, along with HFH of Central Arkansas staff, works together to close on the house.
9. Move into Your New Home