Homeowner FAQs

Eligibility and qualification

1. Do you give away homes to people who are poor, disabled or on welfare?

No. Habitat Wake homeowners build and purchase their homes. All applicants who qualify for a home must have a steady source of income, from working and/or non-working sources, and must repay an affordable mortgage with on-time, in-full payments each and every month.

2. Do I have to have children to qualify for a Habitat House?

No. Habitat is a Fair Housing agency, which means we do not discriminate based on race/color, religion, sex/gender, national origin, disability, or familial status. Thus, our program is open to all household types including individuals, couples, single parents with children, couples with children, etc.

Ownership of a Habitat house

3. If I buy a Habitat house, can I ever sell it?

Yes. Families who purchase Habitat-built homes can sell them at any time. Habitat retains a “right of first refusal” that requires an owner to sell his/her house and then ask Habitat Wake if it wants to purchase the house for the same contracted price. Just like any other homeowner, selling a house typically requires marketing it through a real estate broker (including paying commission), continuing to pay one’s mortgage until it is sold, and living in it for several years before there’s enough equity to “make money” on it.

4. Are there any other restrictions on owning a Habitat House?

Yes. Like all other affordable housing programs, Habitat Wake requires that its houses are homeowner occupied. This means that you cannot use it for business purposes, move out and leave it empty, rent it out, or move out and let others live there instead. After a homeowner has fully paid off the mortgage, these restrictions are removed. And, like all other mortgage companies, Habitat requires that the property (house and yard) are maintained in good condition.

5. If my income increases after I have bought my house, will that affect my status?

No. Habitat encourages all of its homeowners to continually improve their financial status through additional education, training, or job promotions/changes that provide better pay, hours and/or locations. Our hopes are that having a stable home will free up time and energy to pursue additional opportunities. We’ve had homeowners who have consistently paid their mortgages, continued to work and returned to school for certifications or degrees to increase their earnings.

6. What happens if I can’t work due to illness/injury, or have my hours cut, and can’t pay my mortgage?

If homeowners cannot pay their mortgage due to temporary or permanent changes in income. Habitat Wake meets with homeowners to better understand the circumstances, puts plans in place to get payments back on track, and sends monthly letters documenting progress. We work with all of our homeowners who have the commitment, follow-through and resources to help them keep their houses.

Building a Habitat house

7. If I want more space or bedrooms than Habitat’s guidelines allow, can I do that?

No. Habitat Wake builds houses according to the number of family members in a household. Our homes are affordable, energy efficient and provide adequate living and storage space for most families. Our 3-bedroom houses are typically around 1100 square feet and have two full bathrooms.

8. Can I have a garage or carport added to a Habitat house?

No. Habitat Wake does not build garages or carports. We purchase lots that are large enough to build a house with a 2-car parking pad, but there is not additional room for these other features. Also, the weather in NC is typically mild so that many houses throughout this area have parking pads for vehicles.

9. If I own land, can Habitat build a house on it?

Maybe. Our program is for first-time homeowners – anyone who has not owned a house in three years, or ever. If you own land in Wake County, we might be able to construct a home on it, but our construction department will need to evaluate it. But, more importantly, you will need to apply to and be approved for our homeownership program in the exact same manner as all other applicants. Only after you’ve met our homeownership program criteria will we look at this possibility.

10. How does Habitat decide where to build? Can I ask for a specific location?

Habitat acquires land either through purchase or donation so we have limited areas where we build. In addition, within Wake County we have seen escalating land prices, increased house sizes, and reduced land availability that have made finding and purchasing land even more difficult. Applicants who want to be part of our program will need to be open about the location of their future homes, and willing to live where we are currently building. Applicants will need to choose a location based on the current/upcoming construction sites at the time they apply.

11. How long is it from the time I apply for a home until I close and move in?

Typically, families close on and move into their homes about 18 months after their initial application is submitted. Since our program relies on sponsors to fund houses and community volunteers to help construct them, this timeframe is an estimate. This timeframe allows applicants to plan for their move, complete the sweat equity hours required by our program (a minimum of 200), and participate fully in the construction of their own homes.