Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we recieve about becoming Habitat for Humanity Homeowners homeowners.
What is “sweat equity?”
Sweat equity refers to the hours Habitat partner families must put in working to help build the homes of other families as well as their own home. Hours also include taking homeowner education classes, working at the ReStore, and volunteering at other service organizations throughout the community. Currently each single applicant is required to earn 350 hours and co-applicants are required to earn 550 hours. Children ages 6 and up are required to do their own portion of hours ranging from 10-50 hours. Children’s hours are separate from their parent’s hours and do not carry over to their parents if they complete more than required.
What are the income requirements?
Each applicant must fall within the 30-50% median income guidelines, for your family size, which are set by HUD (Housing and Urban Development).
What qualifies as substandard housing?
Substandard can refer to a variety of things, including (but not limited to): structural damage (leaky roof, bad plumbing, poor heat, electrical problems, etc.), overcrowding, unsafe neighborhoods, paying too much rent, high utility bills, and children of a different sex sharing the same bedroom. During home visits we are looking to see if the current living conditions are safe, decent, and affordable. If they are not, you or someone you know may qualify.
What are the qualifications?
The three basic qualifications: Need for Housing, Ability to Pay, Willingness to partner
How much does the house cost or what will my payment be?
The average cost to build one of our homes is $60,000. Your mortgage payment will be approximately $300.00 per month which is interest free and includes your property taxes and homeowners insurance. This does not include your utilities.
Do I have to live in Richland or Lexington County to apply?
Yes. At the present time CSC Habitat is only servicing Richland and Lexington Counties. In order to apply you must have established residency in one of our servicing counties.
Will you do a background check?
Yes. Habitat will do a background check and check names against the sex offender registry on all applicants before final approval.
Will you do a credit check?
Yes we will do a credit check to determine your ability to pay the mortgage. However, unlike traditional lenders, we are not looking for a specific score. Habitat for Humanity is prepared to work with you to repair your credit if the debt is reasonable. Unfortunately, there will be cases that we are unable to work with including: active bankruptcies, previous foreclosures, defaulted student loans, liens or judgments against you, repossessions, and excessive charge offs.
Can you mail me an application or can I pick up an application at the office if I can’t come to the meeting?
No. The application meeting is mandatory. This is the only way to receive an application in to the program. No applications are given out in any other manner.
After I am accepted in the program, how long will it take before I can move into my home?
If you application is approved, it will take approximately 1 ½ to 2 years before the construction process is completed. This amount of time allows Habitat to secure a sponsor group, land, and for the future homeowner to complete the required sweat equity hours, classes, and down payment.
I don’t have any children. Can I still apply?
Yes. Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity is an Equal Housing/Equal Opportunity lender and does not discriminate against anyone based on race, religion, source of income or family make-up.
What if I am separated, but not legally divorced?
You can apply for a Habitat home, but one of two things will need to happen before you take ownership of your home. You will either need to have your spouse co-sign the mortgage with you, and sign a form stating that he/she has no interest in the house, you must finalize your divorce before the time comes to take ownership of your home.
What size houses do you build?
We build 2, 3, and 4 bedroom homes. The house size is based on the number of members in your family at the time of approval.
Where are the houses located?
We build our homes in Richland and Lexington Counties where land is available.
Do I have to have a job?
No, but you do have to have INCOME. If you are only receiving Social Security Income, or retirement income, you may still be eligible. As long as your income is enough to support your family size based on our income requirements. Unemployment income does not qualify.
Once I move in can I make renovations?
Yes! This is a mortgage not a rental agreement. Therefore YOU OWN IT. If you would like to make changes after you move in, you are welcome to do so. (you must comply with HOA and ordinances if applicable.)
Can I apply if I am currently living under Section 8 housing?
Yes! We are not affiliated with Section 8 or other government housing programs. Therefore you are still eligible to apply to our program.
Can you build on my land?
No. At this time we are not building on land that is owned by an applicant. We are only able to build on Habitat land that we already have available.