Since we launched our Impact 2020 strategic plan in 2016, Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has made some exciting changes to our homeownership program. We do this with one big goal in mind: partner with 500 households on achieving homeownership through Habitat.
Below are five exciting new aspects of our homeownership program that you may not know about.
More families qualify to buy with Habitat
We recently expanded our income eligibility range, so we can partner with more families. Now, a household of five earning as much as about $73,000 may qualify for our program. We’ve learned that these buyers lack options—they often earn too much for other affordable homeownership opportunities, but not enough to qualify for a traditional mortgage. (See the up-to-date income range for all family sizes here.)
Philanthropic donations ensure our mortgages remain affordable for families, so all qualified buyers pay a mortgage sized to be 30% or less of their income.
Households can use Habitat mortgages to buy homes for sale on the open market
Since 1985, Twin Cities Habitat homeowners have been taking on an affordable monthly mortgage to buy their homes. As in the past, families can partner with us to buy homes that we build or renovate.
What’s new is that households can also opt to work with a realtor of their choice to find a home for sale on the open market. All homebuyers work with Habitat on mortgage readiness and homeownership training. The new open market program gives families more choice in how they become homeowners with Habitat.
We offer free financial coaching for households working toward mortgage-readiness
Families interested in homeownership can work with a financial coach to pay down debt, improve credit, work on budgeting, or set other financial goals. Households work with a financial coach on their personalized action plan until they become financially ready to take on a mortgage.
Households can also work with financial counselors at one of our referral partners
We’ve developed a network of local organizations that offer financial counseling to work with households toward Habitat's homeownership eligibility requirements. Prospective homebuyers can work with counselors at one of those referral partners, then come to Habitat when they’re ready for homeownership classes and any additional one-on-one coaching. The network creates deeper community partnerships and broadens our outreach to potential homebuyers.
TCHFH Lending, Inc. is now the originator of our home mortgages
In 2016, we established a wholly-owned subsidiary called TCHFH Lending, Inc. to originate our home mortgages. This means households work with us through our homeownership program, then apply to our subsidiary lender for their mortgage.
For most borrowers, the major difference in this new approach is that they first apply to our homeownership program (which provides financial coaching and education courses), then later apply for their mortgage through TCHFH Lending, Inc. Staff from both these entities collaborate to ensure that homebuyers are fully prepared for all aspects of the homebuying process and homeownership.
We're launching an awareness campaign called Buy with Habitat. Keep an eye out for billboards and ads around the community!