Frequently Asked Questions for Homeownership
If accepted to the program, how long will it take to move into a house?
Habitat is a long-term housing solution. If selected to our program, it typically takes 1-2 years before you would move into your new home. This is because you are completing requirements, then selecting a lot, then we are building a new house from scratch. Generally, the more quickly you complete your requirements and select a lot, the more quickly you will move through the program.
How much will I have to pay monthly?
Monthly mortgage payments are generally a minimum of $500 and up to 30% of an applicant’s monthly income. This mortgage payment includes property taxes, insurances and an annual termite contract.
Where does Habitat currently build homes?
Habitat currently has plans to build newly constructed homes in the Orleans Parish neighborhoods of 7th, 8th and 9th Wards, Central City, and New Orleans East. Partners have up to three opportunities to select a lot at one of Habitat’s lot selection fairs.
What size are the homes?
Our homes are 3 bedroom and 1 bathroom. All homes are approximately 1,100 square feet. Homeowners get a choice in the exterior siding and trim colors, as well as the countertop and flooring colors in the interior. The specific floor-plan is selected by Habitat based on the dimensions of the lot.
I have income such as food stamps, social security or disability. Does Habitat count that?
To be accepted into our program you must demonstrate income within our guidelines, but we count unearned as well as earned income. We will combine all sources of applicants' income to determine the household income total. If you are retired or do not work you must still have an income within our guidelines.
What does Habitat look at on a credit report?
We look at your credit history and want to see that applicants have good or no credit and low monthly debts. We allow up to $2,000 in past due debt (including collections, profit and loss, judgements, and liens). These can be put into payment plans, but must be resolved before closing on the purchase of a home. We do not count medical debt that is 18 months or older.
What if I have filed for bankruptcy before?
In order to be considered for the Habitat program, it must be at least 2 to 5 years since your bankruptcy's discharge date.
If I am married, do I have to apply with my spouse?
If you are legally married you must apply with your spouse because Louisiana is a "community property" state. If you are separated you will need to finalize a divorce before closing on your loan.
What about having a co-signor?
We do not accept co-signors. We do accept co-applicants, but a co-applicant must go through all of the stages of the application process, must plan to reside in the Habitat home, and must also be an active part of the Partnership process (sweat equity, escrow and homeowner education.)
What if I am not a first time home buyer?
You do not have to be a first time home buyer. However, you cannot have owned a home for at least 3 years.
What if I am not a U.S. citizen?
Effective January 1, 2012, all applicants will be required to provide proof of legal residency or lawful status in the U.S.
What if I do not currently live in New Orleans?
You must live in our Greater New Orleans service area to be accepted as a Partner Family (our service area is Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, or St. Charles parishes); all requirements take place in the Greater New Orleans area, and you must be able to demonstrate that you have guaranteed income in the Greater New Orleans area.
What if I don't want to apply with Habitat in the New Orleans area, but I do want to apply in another area of the U.S.?
We only take applications for the New Orleans Area. There are Habitat affiliates all over the United States. You can contact Habitat for Humanity International 1 800 HABITAT for the phone number of a local affiliate or go to www.habitat.org. On the right side of that page, under quick links, click on local affiliates, then enter the zip code of the area in which you want to live.