Two Paths to Habitat Homeownership

Families that are interested in applying for the Habitat Homeownership Program have two pathways to enter the program. 

Apply through Twin Cities Habitat

The first path is our traditional application process. This path often has long wait times due to the high level of interest in our program.

First, families will attend an orientation session and then submit an application. After applying for the Homeownership Program, families will start to work one-on-one with a financial coach. Their coach will help them work on budgeting, credit, debt, and savings until they meet our minimum underwriting requirements.

Please read through the 5 Steps to Homeownership outlined below to learn about Habitat's traditional application process. To join the waiting list please fill out this form. If you've already signed up and want to check your status, please click here.

Apply through a Referral Partner

The second path is to work with one of Habitat’s referral partners. Referral organizations can introduce families to services in their community, while still accessing the Habitat mortgage. Each partner offers their own pre-purchase services, homeownership resources, and education courses. 

After working with a referral organization and demonstrating their Habitat mortgage eligibility, families will be referred into our Homeownership Program and will be fast-tracked into one of the Habitat homeownership options.

Visit our Homeownership Referral Partners webpage  to learn more.

Requirements for Habitat homeownership

• You must have lived in the Twin Cities seven-county metro-area for at least one year.
• You must acknowledge and accept the responsibilities of homeownership. See below.
• You must attend all sessions of Habitat homeowner training.
• You must contribute up to 350 hours of sweat equity (volunteering on a construction site, attending homeowner trainings, volunteering at the ReStore, etc.)
• You must NOT have owned a home or any land in the last three years.

Responsibilities of Homeownership

Answer the following questions to help determine if you are ready for Homeownership.

Are you and your family ready, willing, and able to:

  • Make a commitment to live in the same home for 30 years? (It’s easy to move when you rent, but when you own a house, moving is much more complicated!)
  • Mail my mortgage payment to the mortgage company every month? (All mortgage companies, including Habitat for Humanity will foreclose on homeowners that become delinquent in their payments).
  • Save $5,000 for closing costs and other start-up expenses relating to homeownership?
  • Budget for ALL expenses of homeownership, including but not limited to water, heat, electricity, garbage, property tax, homeowner’s insurance, etc.
  • Pay monthly association fees if your home is in an association?
  • Fix a broken toilet myself or spend money to hire a plumber when it breaks?
  • Spend hours of my “free time” keeping the house in good condition (painting, doing repairs, yard work, cleaning, etc.), instead of doing other things I enjoy?
  • Learn the skills necessary to do maintenance on my home?
  • Keep the lawn mowed in the summer (including maintaining a lawnmower) and the sidewalk clear of snow and ice all winter long? 
  • Spend time getting to know my neighbors, since good relationships with neighbors are the  start of  healthy, strong communities?     

If you answered ”yes” to all of these questions, you may be ready to become a homeowner.

If you answered ”no” to any of these questions, you may not be ready to be a homeowner at this time.  That’s okay! It’s better to know you will not be happy as a homeowner before you own a home.

NOTE:  When you purchase a home through Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, Habitat becomes your mortgage company, not your landlord.  The house and any problems or damage that occurs after move-in are the homebuyer’s responsibility.

Income Guidelines

  • Families must make between 30% and 80% of the average income for a Twin Cities family.
  • Perfect credit is not required. Our staff will coach you to reach your financial goals and meet our underwriting criteria.
  • Income sources can include: employment, public assistance of cash, social security, disability, etc. Income sources that cannot be used to qualify for the program include unemployment, food stamps, and foster care/adoption assistance.
  • See our current income guidelines below.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) puts new income guidelines each year and Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity reserves the right to revise these guidelines at any time

Income Guidelines Chart

Family Size Minimum Monthly Gross Income Maximum Monthly Gross Income Minimum Yearly Gross Income Maximum Yearly Gross Income
1 $2,164 $3,833 $25,969 $46,000
2 $2,164 $4,383 $25,969 $52,600
3 $2,164 $4,929 $25,969 $59,150
4 $2,164 $5,475 $25,969 $65,700
5 $2,321 $5,917 $27,850 $71,000
6 $2,492 $6,354 $29,900 $76,250
7 $2,663 $6,792 $31,950 $81,500
8 $2,833 $7,229 $34,000 $86,750
9 $3,004 $7,665 $36,050 $91,980
10 $3,176 $8,103 $38,110 $97,236

Habitat Homeownership Orientation

If you think you meet the eligibility requirements to buy a Twin Cities Habitat home, the first step is to attend an Orientation. You’ll learn about homeownership basics and the Twin Cities Habitat process. We do not have orientation sessions scheduled yet, but if you would like to join the waiting list please fill out this form. If you've already signed up and want to check your status, please click here.

Application Process

To apply for the Habitat homeownership program, you need to fill out the application form and turn in all required documents. Required documents include Social Security cards, photo IDs, tax forms, and income verification documents like paystubs, letters from employers, and benefit statements. There is a $30 non-refundable application fee for every application. Once your application is received, Habitat staff will assess your income and credit eligibility.

Habitat staff will work with you one-on-one to set financial goals that will get you closer to your dream of homeownership. You will work on budgeting, credit, debt, savings, and any other financial goals that you have. You will work with your coach until you meet Habitat’s underwriting criteria and feel you are ready to purchase a home.

Underwriting Criteria

Credit

  • 580 minimum credit score, 620 preferred
  • No unpaid judgments or liens
  • Maximum of $1,000 in total non-medical collections
  • Maximum of $2,000 in collections if all medical
  • Minimum of 2 years since bankruptcy discharge
  • Minimum of 3 years since foreclosure

Employment

  • Minimum of one continuous year at current job, 2 years preferred (no minimum requirement for SSI, cash assistance, etc.)
  • Minimum of 2 years of self-employment income

Savings

  • Minimum of $7,000 savings ($3,000 to pay for closing costs, up to $1,500 for the first year of homeowner’s insurance, and the remainder is the minimum savings requirement)

*Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity reserves the right to change these criteria at any time

If purchasing a Habitat-developed home, you will receive property letters with homes that you are eligible to buy based on your income and family size. These property selection letters are a way for you to indicate your preference for available houses based on a number of different factors (size, location, design, neighborhood). Applying to Habitat does not guarantee that you will be selected to purchase a Habitat home. Applicants in the matching pool are matched to homes based on their ability to pay for the home, need for housing, and willingness to partner with Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.

Families who are selected to purchase a Habitat-developed home will then complete the sweat equity & training requirements. Sessions include HomeStretch, home maintenance and safety, homeowner’s insurance, and community involvement and engagement. This training curriculum provides families with a sound foundation of knowledge designed to boost homeownership success.

If purchasing a home on the open market, you will complete the training requirements first. For open market purchases, there are additional required trainings about realtors and Habitat’s home rehab process. Once the trainings are completed, you will choose a realtor and begin the home search. Habitat can also provide rehab assistance if the home needs work and the family can afford it.

Once you have completed all of your homeownership education and selected a property to purchase, you will have the opportunity to apply for a mortgage from TCHFH Lending, Inc. For more information, please visit the TCHFH Lending, Inc. webpage.

Where the money goes

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity strives to do the most good with every single dollar entrusted to us. Rest assured that a gift to support our mission creates an immediate and significant impact for the families and communities we partner with.

88.8% Programs & Services, 8.3% fundraising, 2.9% Administration

Every $1 you donate results in almost $2 of economic activity in our community.

Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit recognized by the IRS. Tax ID Number: 36-3363171. NMLS ID 400065