The homeownership program with Habitat for Humanity is unique. For starters, there are many misconceptions and misnomers when it comes to the partnership that we have with our homeowners. They are just that, homeowners. The process looks remarkably like a traditional home buying scenario. The same regulations that your typical mortgage lender follow are the same ones that we follow throughout the process. We are certified, loan originators, within the confines of the organization. All of the notices and red tape still exists and our homeowner partners sign a promissory note and security deed at the completion of the build, just like every other homeowner.
While the differences between our program and traditional home buying are minimal, they tend to make the process more difficult, not easier. Things our homeowners must do:
-Apply, qualify, submit to a site visit, complete an in-person interview, be selected, sign homeowner agreement
-Complete 300 sweat equity hours, attend six financial classes, one on one coaching with our Family Services Manager, help build their house
The End (or more realistically, the start):
-Enter a 6 month lease period to ensure a smooth transition, close on the home and begin paying an affordable mortgage
This message is important, our families are HOMEOWNERS. Our program is truly a partnership. It cannot be one-sided. As an organization, we require a strong level of buy-in because that is where change happens. When our goal is to end generational poverty the program cannot be lax. Accountability matters and our homeowners rise to that challenge.