- As a nonprofit, how are you able to provide these services to residents?
- Where does your funding come from?
- How does the HomeBuyer Program work?
- Does Skagit Habitat build houses only for minorities?
- Do you have to be a Christian to become a Skagit Habitat Homebuyer?
- Can only families with children apply?
- What kind of homes does Skagit Habitat build?
- Where does Skagit Habitat build homes?
- What is sweat equity?
- How much does a Skagit Habitat home cost?
- How does a Skagit Habitat mortgage work?
- What counts as income on my application?
- Do I have to have a job to become a Skagit Habitat homeowner?
- What is a credit score and why is it so important?
- Do I/we need a good credit score to qualify for a house?
- What is good credit?
- What if my credit report shows outstanding collections, debt, bankruptcies, judgments or liens?
- What if I have student debt?
- What if I have some issues I know will come up on my criminal background check?
- What if I'm not financially ready to apply?
- What can I do to prepare before applying to Skagit Habitat?
- Who can be a part of my household? How is my household size determined?
- Can I apply as a single applicant if I am still legally married but living separately from my spouse?
- Can the design of the house be changed?
- Can I choose where I want to live?
- Will the homebuyer actually own the land?
- Will the homebuyer actually own the home?
- Am I allowed to plant a garden, put up a fence, have pets, ect.?
- Are homeowners permitted to sell their Skagit Habitat house?
- If I own another home, can I still qualify for Skagit Habitat's Homeownership Program?
- Can I rent out my Skagit Habitat home if I need to move to another place?
- Do I have to help in the construction of the house?
- How long does it take to build a house?
- How long will it take me to move into my new home?
As a nonprofit, how are you able to provide these services to residents?
Partners such as volunteers, donors, and sponsors are imperative in our work to eliminate substandard housing in our community. Donors, sponsors and in-kind services/materials provide the funds to buy needed land, materials, and tools. Volunteers provide labor, which helps us keep costs down - and hopes up.
Where does your funding come from?
Skagit Habitat relies on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, the faith community, and some government funding, all to help defray the high cost infrastructure, land, and building materials. Mortgage payments are used to support our home building efforts as well as proceeds from the Skagit Habitat Store. We do not rely on any one source of revenue.
How does the HomeBuyer Program work?
Skagit Habitat provides a unique opportunity for hardworking individuals and families to help build and buy their own homes. We work closely with qualified individuals and families to build safe, permanent, and affordable homes in Skagit County.
People apply through our program and work through the application process with our Homebuyer Selection Committee. Once approved by the Board of Directors and accepted into the program, families will take classes and begin working their sweat equity.
Owning a Habitat home is often more cost-effective than renting. As a Habitat homeowner, you’ll not only buy a home, but you’ll gain the stability and security that comes with it and a strong foundation for generations to come. Habitat is also a permanent, not an immediate, housing solution. If you qualify for our home-ownership program, it typically takes two years from the time you qualify to the time your house is completed.
Does Skagit Habitat build houses only for minorities?
We build houses with people in need, without prejudice. The three criteria that drive the qualification process are need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner with Skagit Habitat. Habitat for Humanity International, the U.S. Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) prohibits creditors from discrimination in the sale of housing on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, age (provided the applicant has the ability to enter into a binding contract) or disability.
Do you have to be a Christian to become a Skagit Habitat Homebuyer?
Skagit Habitat is a non-profit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. While our mission is inspired by Christian teachings, all who desire to be a part of our work are welcome as volunteers, supporters and future homebuyers. Anyone who believes that everyone deserves a safe, permanent, affordable place to live is welcome to partner with us regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, gender or political views.
Can only families with children apply?
Skagit Habitat understands that there are many types of families, and all are welcome to apply to our program.
What kind of homes does Skagit Habitat build?
Every home constructed by Skagit Habitat is modest, affordable and energy-efficient. The home is to be used solely as a primary residence and may not be subleased (no rentals). The design is determined by the land size, municipality regulations, surrounding homes in the neighborhood and any covenants it may have. Most homes are less than 1,200 square feet. We build for the needs, not the wants of the buyer.
Where does Skagit Habitat build homes?
We build in Skagit County only.
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. It is a term for partnering with us to help build your home and further Habitat’s mission.
Sweat equity is the ownership interest that is created as a direct result of hard work by the owner(s), ‘contribution to a project or enterprise in the form of effort and toil’ … It is a mode of building equity for cash - strapped future homeowners, since they are unable to contribute a down payment for a conventional loan.
How much does a Skagit Habitat home cost?
Skagit Habitat homes are sold at Fair Market Value. The actual dollar amount varies depending on the specific project. Monthly mortgage payments vary depending upon the cost of the home and length of the mortgage. Payments will not be more than 35% of a homeowner’s gross monthly income for mortgage, utilities and homeowners association fees if applicable. Monthly mortgage payments consist of the mortgage loan amount (principal & interest if applicable) and escrow payments (property taxes, homeowner’s insurance and flood insurance if applicable) on the first mortgage. This helps to ensure that you are able to continue making payments on your home while having enough remaining income to provide a healthy, stable life for you and your family. As homeowners’ make their payments, the principal amount is then reinvested back into the community to help other families build future homes for a better life too. Habitat also requires a pre-payment to be made prior to the mortgage closing to be applied towards the initial escrow.
How does a Skagit Habitat mortgage work?
Our policy is that homeowners repay their mortgages. Our mortgages are currently 30 years in order to keep payments affordable. There is no penalty to the buyer for paying off the mortgage ahead of schedule - though restrictions may remain in place for the entire original mortgage period.
What counts as income on my application?
Income includes any money coming to the household that is reportable to the IRS - from any source, whether or not it can be taxed. Examples include wages, self employment/freelance income, SSI/SSDI, VA/Disability, and/or retirement. Food stamps DO NOT count as income.
From the submission of an application through the finalization of the home purchase, income and credit is reviewed periodically. Any charges in either report could impact program eligibility.
Do I have to have a job to become a Skagit Habitat homeowner?
Skagit Habitat requires that you receive enough monthly income to be able to afford a Habitat home. Affordability is determined through income such as work, SSI or other sources. Your mortgage payment cannot exceed 35% of your total monthly income.
What is a credit score and why is it so important?
A credit score (FICO® scores) is a number that is between 350-850, based on your likelihood of repaying a creditor on time. Your credit score is used by lenders to determine your credit risk and interest rate for your home loan. As a determination to qualify for a Skagit Habitat loan a 640 or higher score is required.
From the submission of an application through the finalization of the home purchase, income and credit are reviewed periodically. Any changes in either report could impact program eligibility, and the ability to secure a home loan.
Do I/we need a good credit score to qualify for a house?
We all have some debt such as an auto loan, credit cards, or a student loan. All of these may negatively affect your credit score. Skagit Habitat will obtain a credit history in order to review any accumulated debt and how you have handled payments in the past. It may be determined that your debt load will impede your ability to take on more debt-a mortgage. It is best to keep your debt-to-income ratio below 36%.
What is good credit?
Good credit means that you pay all your bills on time each month and you don’t have excessive debt. Your credit is your responsibility and maintaining good credit is one of the most important things you can do for your financial health. Having good credit means that you have a good credit report. A credit report is a record of the personal financial transactions that make up your credit history, such as credit cards, car loans, personal loans and negative items such as collections from utility or telephone companies.
How does your credit history look? You can check yours by getting your credit report. You are able to get a free credit report once a year from each of the three reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To obtain a copy of your free credit report click on the following link: www.annualcreditreport.com
What if my credit report shows outstanding collections, debt, bankruptcies, judgments or liens?
The Homeowner Selection Committee considers the whole picture of an applicant and looks for applicants who are ready to accept the responsibility of homeownership. At the same time, we do not want to sell an applicant a home that she or he cannot afford. We are unable to partner with applicants who have active, unpaid judgments or liens. Excessive debts and/or very recent unresolved collections may also disqualify an applicant.
Applicants who have filed for bankruptcy in the past should show a good credit history since the bankruptcy, and bankruptcies must have been discharged at least five years prior to the application for housing. Certain requirements may be waived in cases of personal or natural disaster.
If you are concerned about your credit history, you can contact the Lafayette Consolidated Government’sNeighborhood Counseling Services to obtain free and confidential credit counseling. To learn more, please visit their website or call 337.291.5450.
What if I have student debt?
Having student debt does not automatically disqualify you from our Homeownership Program. The amount of student debt, your current income, and the other debt that you may have will be evaluated during the application process to determine your debt-to-income ratio.
What if I have some issues I know will come up on my criminal background check?
Skagit Habitat obtains background checks and sexual offender checks on all adult household members. People will sign release forms included as a part of their application. A criminal history does not automatically disqualify an applicant; any issues that come up in a background check will be dealt with on an individual basis.
What if I'm not financially ready to apply?
Homeownership is a huge responsibility. Habitat’s goal is to help you become not just a homeowner but a successful homeowner. If homeownership is your ultimate goal, but you’re not quite financially ready to apply, seek tools that can help and/or a credit counselor.
What can I do to prepare before applying to Skagit Habitat?
If you plan to apply for Habitat’s Homeownership Program during the next application round, you can prepare by collecting your financial documents. Get a recent copy of your credit report and check to make sure the information is correct. You can get one free copy of your credit report each year at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you have outstanding negative credit items, you may want to develop a plan to address them with a a credit counselor.
Who can be a part of my household? How is my household size determined?
Only individuals who are currently living in the household can be considered when determining household size and the number of bedrooms the applicant qualifies for. A child is only considered in regards to household size if the applicant has at least 50% custody of that child. We do occasionally make exceptions and definitely want to make sure that household members are not discounted when inappropriate. If a person is pregnant during the application process, the unborn child will be counted towards household size. Please be sure to explain any household size situations in your application.
Can I apply as a single applicant if I am still legally married but living separately from my spouse?
No. If you are legally married, Skagit Habitat requires that both spouses be part of the application and apply as co-applicants.
Can the design of the house be changed?
These homes are not a custom built home. Skagit Habitat will choose the design of the house in accordance with the size of the lot and the family selected. If a homebuyer requires structural modification for a handicapped family member, this is determined prior to architectural design. No change in design will be considered. Homeowners may choose, when donations are not available, the interior and exterior color, lighting, flooring and countertops based on budgets.
Can I choose where I want to live?
Skagit Habitat will match your family to a development and home based on the information you provide and the locations in which we are building.
Will the homebuyer actually own the land?
Depending upon the available land and where the home will be located, the property may be located on Community Land Trust (CLT) property. If located on CLT land, one of the ingredients that makes the homes affordable is keeping the land in the 99 year lease, renewable. The sale is at a reduced price because only the home is purchased. Additionally, keeping the land in the Trust presents optimal funding opportunities and preserves affordability for the future generations.
Will the homebuyer actually own the home?
Absolutely! The homebuyer will be the legal owner of the home and will have a mortgage obligation.
Am I allowed to plant a garden, put up a fence, have pets, ect.?
Yes. The homeowner will still adhere to any bylaws in place by the neighborhood association and applicable City/County codes.
Are homeowners permitted to sell their Skagit Habitat house?
Skagit Habitat sells homes to people who are looking for long-term ownership, but you may sell your home, with a First Right of Refusal to Skagit Habitat. Most of our partners continue to live in their homes for long periods of time. To help make sure that we are selling to households that need a home to live in and not investors, our partners sign long-term resale restriction agreements. Generally, during the term of the agreement, you can only sell the home if you first offer to sell the home to Skagit Habitat (and sometimes a city or county that provided funding to build your home) and you can only sell it at an amount so that it remains affordable to qualified buyers. Please call us for more details.
If I own another home, can I still qualify for Skagit Habitat's Homeownership Program?
Our requirements are that you do not own a home anywhere else. This applies even if you are a partial owner or co-signer, even if you do not live in that other home. You may still qualify if you owned a home 3 years or more ago. You do not have to be a first time home buyer to qualify.
Can I rent out my Skagit Habitat home if I need to move to another place?
No. The legal documents for your Skagit Habitat home restrict the use of the property as a rental. All Habitat homes must be owner occupied, meaning you, the owner, MUST live in your house. We will check this annually.
Do I have to help in the construction of the house?
Yes, although no prior construction is required. Our Lead Carpenter train homebuyers and volunteers in all aspects of building. If selected, you will be required to work on the current house that is being built and then when your house construction starts you will need to work until the house is completed, which normally takes about 9 to 12 months. This is what we call “sweat equity." Homebuyers who will live in the Habitat house are required to complete a minimum of 250 sweat equity hours per applicant. A single applicant will need to work a minimum of 250 hours of sweat equity, while two applicants will must each complete a total of 250 hours, for a combined total of 500 hours. 100 hours per applicant must be completed to receive a lot assignment. 100 hours per applicant must be in construction on their own or another family’s house. 50 hours per applicant may be contributed by other family members who will be living in the home; family members who will not live in the house; and/or by friends and other volunteers. 50 hours for a single applicant, 100 hours for dual applicant.
How long does it take to build a house?
There are many factors that can impact how long the process of building a Habitat homeowner can take. We will keep you informed of where you are in the process along the way. Depending on when you were selected, other homes maybe in process prior to your home. Once the construction of your home begins, it can be 9 to 12 months, though there are a number of variables that contribute to how long it takes to complete a home.
How long will it take me to move into my new home?
After your application is processed and accepted, it can take up to 2 years before you move in. The construction process is complex with many variables including funding sources, the construction schedule, building requirements and numbers of volunteers. Move-in dates are also determined by the loan and sale process, which involves steps for you, your lender, DPA jurisdiction, title and escrow, and Skagit Habitat staff to complete.