Which Are the Main Eligibility Criteria for Homeownership?

There’s no feeling quite like being a homeowner. Not only is there certain security but we also get to exercise our creativity when it comes to organizing and decorating this home however we like. Such freedom is truly amazing. Still, becoming a homeowner is far from simple, especially when finances are concerned. This is precisely why Habitat for Humanity of Broward offers a Homeownership Opportunity Program which can help the families and individuals finally settle at their own place at incredibly affordable prices. Interested in this deal? Then let’s discuss the eligibility criteria in more detail.

The Simple Overview of Eligible Homebuyers

We at Habitat for Humanity of Broward hold great pride in the work we do. Since 1976, we have gone far and above in order to make sure that 35 million+ families and individuals alike gain comfort, stability, and security with a place to call their own. What’s more, we work together with our volunteers to build top-notch homes and make communities a better place. This is precisely why we deem the personal investment into our project highly valuable.

Among other things, our eligibility criteria for the Homeownership Opportunity Program includes the following:

There’s an Obvious Need for Better Housing

People who would want to become a part of our Homeownership Opportunity Program generally have to deal with inadequate housing at the moment, be it in terms of poor built, low health and comfort, and/or potential damages. Furthermore, the current living situation that doesn’t support a proper lifestyle of people with disabilities or mortgage/rent that’s simply out of people’s budget also makes families/individuals welcome to apply.

Frustrated Girl Calling Insurance About Water Leaks Sitting On a Couch in the Living Room at Home

Join Strengths with Habitat for Humanity of Broward

It’s very important for us that our potential homebuyers become involved in what we do and stand for. This includes volunteer work when it comes to building their own homes as well as homes for other people in a similar situation. It’s not uncommon for our homebuyers to attend classes that educate them more on various topics about being a homeowner, such as home maintenance, financing, etc.as a part of our sweat equity.

The Ability to Pay an Affordable Mortgage

Keep in mind that we’re not giving out homes for free. In that respect, a crucial factor in eligibility criteria for owning one of our homes means being able to pay an affordable mortgage. And when we say affordable, we truly mean it. This money is used to further help other people within the community.

Habitat for Humanity Income Guidelines

We are very technical about our application selection criteria. It doesn’t matter whether our potential homebuyers have families and children or live alone. One doesn’t have to be a US citizen, but they are required to possess legal residency status when applying for our Homeownership Program. The most important thing, however, is to meet Habitat for Humanity income guidelines.

  • When it comes to applicant selection criteria, we first have to look at a potential homebuyer’s annual gross income. We have our own guidelines that can be viewed on our website. Keep in mind that this particular income guideline depends on the number of family members. In that respect, an individual looking for cheap housing within our program should maintain a minimal annual gross income of $36,949 and $54,950 max. On the other hand, if we’re talking about a family of 4 people, the annual gross income should fall between $36,949 and $78,500.
  • In the case of the credit score, we generally prefer it to be 620 or higher. However, no one should let this discourage them as we also offer some options for potential homebuyers with no/invisible credit.
  • Further on the Habitat for Humanity income guidelines is the requirement to possess at least $6,300 in the savings account.
  • If the potential homebuyer has to pay a certain amount of money for their debt every month, it’s essential that this amount is no more than 13% of their monthly gross income. In the case of student loans, they count as 0.5% a month, e.g. total student loan of, let’s say $30,000 would make for $150 of monthly debt.
  • It’s very important that there are no outstanding judgements or liens.
  • Length of employment also matters; namely, one has to be at the current job for at least one whole consecutive year or two years if they’re self-employed.
  • When bankruptcy is concerned, potential homebuyers can only apply for the Homeownership Program in case it’s been two years since the bankruptcy occurred and have a re-established 24-month credit.
  • It’s required for at least three years to have passed since the last foreclosure or short sale.
  • Finally, outstanding collections have to be lower than $1,000. In the case of medical collections, the amount should be lower than $3,000.  

How to Apply for the Homeownership Program?

Mortgage Loan Agreement Application With House Shaped Keyring

If it’s absolutely certain that potential homebuyers meet the applicant selection criteria for Habitat for Humanity of Broward’s Homeownership Opportunity Program, all that’s left is to apply. In general, the entire process is rather simple. However, it’s crucial that all the necessary documentation is readily available for submission.

The first thing to do is to fill out the 3-page form. This form can be found on the Habitat for Humanity of Broward Homeownership Program web page. After completing and submitting the form, potential homebuyers should wait for a short while, just until they get an email notification that truly confirms their eligibility. If all proceeds smoothly, they’ll be referred to Homeownership Portal where they can create their own account.

It’s here where the majority of application process work will have to be done as potential homebuyers will have to submit the required documentation.

  • ID with a picture of every household member over 18 in color.
  • Tax information for the last two years for people who are self-employed or verification of employment from the workplace that includes info such as weekly hours, wage, and hiring date.
  • Past 4-month income verification for every household member over 18. Unemployed members can fill out the verification form for zero income. Provide documentation in case any member receives assistance (MFIP, SSI, SSDI, RSDI, and Disability). If there are any other types of income such as child support or alimony, for example, provide the notarized letter or the payment history for the last 6 months.
  • Fill out the rest of the information and release forms that Habitat for Humanity of Broward has provided in regards to the Homeownership Program.

Habitat for Humanity of Broward works constantly in order to bring peace, unity, and security to people across the globe. We have already assisted more than 30 million people by operating in more than 70 different countries in the world. Aside from building homes to provide affordable housing for people in need, Habitat for Humanity of Broward also deals with renovations and repairs of the existing housing, helps the areas and communities affected by natural disasters, supports fair housing policies, accepts housing material donations and resells them, and more. In case you want to join us on our mission to bring betterment where needed or apply for our Homeownership Program, don’t hesitate to check out our website and reach out to us.

6 Things to do with your Tax Refund

Saving money is kind of like eating a healthy diet. You know you should do more of it, but it’s hard to resist making spur-of-the-moment choices that make you happier immediately but worse off later. A tax refund marks a great chance to get into a better financial position for the future.

6 ways to save with your Tax Refund

  1. Create an emergency fund

Many homeowners don’t have enough in savings in case of a sudden financial need. A lack of savings leaves you vulnerable to a job loss, medical emergency or major repair and can force you to carry high credit card balances for an extended period of time. Using your refund to start an emergency fund could leave you breathing easier should one of those events arise.

  1. Pay off debt

If you are carrying a credit card balance, consider using your tax refund to pay that off. Going this route allows you to save more money every month once those minimum payments vanish from your list of bills.

  1. Save for retirement

What better way to sock money away for retirement than by using funds that aren’t a part of your paycheck anyway? You’ll probably be grateful that you had the foresight to save for retirement rather than spend it on something you’d have long since forgotten about.

  1. Seed the college fund

If you have children or grandchildren, you’d be doing them a huge favor by saving your refund in a college fund for their benefit. You would then be able to help them afford a higher education in an era where rising costs leave many saddled with massive debt along with their diploma

  1. Make home improvements

If you live in an older home, spending some of that refund around the house can lower your energy bills. Replacing old windows can improve the efficiency of your air conditioning and replacing old appliances can help you use less energy too.

  1. Buy life insurance

Life insurance can be easy to overlook, but for those who are married with families, a term life policy can provide protection for loved ones at a relatively low cost. For the cost of a few hundred dollars, your tax refund can allow your family to maintain its standard of living if the unthinkable happens.

How Do You Qualify for Habitat for Humanity of Broward’s Homeownership Program?

If you’ve ever played The Sims, you know just how exciting it is to have your own home to organize and decorate. Now imagine having that option in real life. Becoming a homeowner is an amazing accomplishment that provides security and indescribable satisfaction. That all sounds fine and dandy, but what about the financial investment necessary for purchasing a house, right? If buying a house were that easy, everyone would be a homeowner. That is an undeniable truth, but thanks to the Habitat for Humanity application for the Homeownership Program, you might become one sooner than later.

What’s a Habitat for Humanity of Broward House Like?

When you apply for Habitat for Humanity house, you can expect it to meet all of the requirements of contemporary and comfortable living. Just because this is a program that is targeted towards helping lower-income families doesn’t mean that the home quality is poor; quite the contrary!

That said, Habitat for Humanity of Broward gathers skilled and experienced contractors and volunteers that take care of the essentials, from landscaping and painting to plumbing and electricity. We leave no stone unturned when it comes to building a high-quality house that perfectly meets the community’s standards and specifications. Furthermore, every building site has an appointed professional construction supervisor and Crew Leaders to oversee the whole process. They ensure that every part of the building goes smoothly.

Every Habitat for Humanity of Broward house goes through detailed inspection before it gets approved. As mentioned, these homes are built with the highest quality in mind and, therefore, they are meant to last and maintain great market value. This is why energy-efficiency is a very important aspect, among other things.

You’re probably wondering how to apply for a Habitat house already, but it’s crucial that you understand that these homes are not given out for free. You get to buy a house but with a very low-interest mortgage; the monthly payments are set at 30% of your household income. Furthermore, you have to qualify for the Homeownership Program so let’s continue with the required criteria in a bit more detail.

Young Couple Becoming Homeowners, Embraces and Hugs Each Other.

What Are the Necessary Program Qualifications?

Essentially, Habitat for Humanity of Broward has a goal to help low-to-moderate income families settle in their own home. If they qualify for the Homeownership Program, they can then buy a house in the Twin Cities. What’s more, the entire journey will let them learn more about the actual responsibilities of being a homeowner as well as mortgage management and home buying options that the Habitat for Humanity application entails.

Are You Eligible to Apply for Habitat Homes?

There are some general criteria that can help one determine whether they qualify for the Habitat for Humanity of Broward’s Homeownership Program in the first place:

  • It’s necessary to have lived in the Twin Cities seven-county area for minimally one whole consecutive year. These include Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington.
  • Except for the US veterans and military members, one can’t have owned a home (unless it was a manufactured home) for the past three years.

In case you pass the general criteria of eligibility for the Habitat for Humanity application, it’s time to assess the necessary financial criteria:

  • Annual gross income plays a major role and it’s subjected to Habitat for Humanity of Broward’s guidelines depending on the number of family members. For instance, a 1-person household should maintain an annual gross income between $36,949 minimum and $54,950 maximum. A 4-person household, on the other hand, should be in the range between $36,949 and $78,500. It’s simple enough to check detailed information about this matter on the Habitat for Humanity of Broward’s Homeownership Program web page.
  • The credit score is preferred to be 620 and up, but there are some options for people with no or invisible credit.
  • At least $6,300 in savings.
  • It’s crucial that the amount of monthly debt one has to pay is not more than 13% of their gross income per month. When student loans are concerned, they’re counted as 0.5% in deferment or forbearance per month. This means that a student loan total of e.g. $20,000 amounts to $100 of monthly debt.
  • There should be no outstanding liens or judgement.
  • In order to apply for Habitat for Humanity home, one has to be employed at the current job for at least one year or two years in case of self-employment.
  • In case of bankruptcy, one is eligible to apply for Habitat homes only if two years minimum have passed since the bankruptcy and with 24 months of re-established credit in place.
  • At least three years need to have passed since any type of short sale or foreclosure.
  • The amount in outstanding collections has to be lower than $1,000, or $3,000 for medical collections.

It’s not necessary to be a US citizen in order to apply for Habitat for Humanity of Broward’s Homeownership Program; however, legal residency status is required together with meeting the first general criteria referring to living in one of the Twin Cities seven counties for at least one year consecutively.

Furthermore, marital status doesn’t affect one’s eligibility to apply for Habitat homes, and neither does the matter of having children or not.

How to Apply for a Habitat House?

Real Estate Agent Handing a Pen to the Client to Sign the House Purchase Contract

If you find that you meet all of the above requirements, all that’s left to do is work out how to apply for a Habitat house. That said, the application process is rather simple, provided you have all the necessary documentation ready to submit.

Start by filling out the 3-page form available at the Habitat for Humanity of Broward Homeownership Program web page. Once you complete and submit it, you’ll soon get an email notifying you whether or not you’re eligible for the Program. If you are, you’ll be asked to set up your Homeownership Portal account.

This is where the real application process starts as you’ll have to provide all the necessary documentation. These include:

  • A colored copy of picture ID for every household member that’s 18+ years old.
  • Two years’ worth of tax information for the self-employed or employment verification form that states the hire date, wage, and hours worked weekly.
  • Verification of income for the last four months for every household member that’s 18+. Those unemployed should fill out the zero-income verification form. In case that any household member receives assistance (MFIP, SSI, SSDI, RSDI, and Disability), this also has to be documented. All other forms of income (child support, alimony, etc.) require the most recent 6-month history of payments and a notarized letter for this particular type of income verification.
  • Release and information forms provided in regards to the Habitat for Humanity of Broward Homeownership Program.

Habitat for Humanity of Broward connects people around the globe in order to bring safer and more secure homes to different communities. We’re happy to say that we successfully operate in more than 70 countries in the world, building homes and improving people’s lives. Actually, since 1976 when we officially began our work, Habitat for Humanity of Broward has managed to assist almost 30 million people when it comes to the betterment of their living conditions. If you’re interested in applying for our homes or wish to join our cause, feel free to visit our website and get in touch.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Buying a Habitat for Humanity Home

Habitat for Humanity works as a non-profit organization across the globe to help the communities and provide a comfortable home to those who need it. That said, it’s important to understand how this program works and what can help you qualify for Habitat homes if you’re interested in the matter. 

Essentially, we help families buy a house at a rather fair market value price without the down payment or interest mortgage. But to understand the whole homeownership program a bit better, let’s dive into it in more detail.

  1. Who Can Get a Habitat Home?

The first thing you have to understand is that we offer a Habitat for Humanity house for sale – not as a gift. As such, we’re not talking about getting anything; if you qualify for the program, you buy a home for yourself and your family. All with considerable benefits, as mentioned. So, how do you qualify for Humanity home? Essentially, there are several qualification criteria that you have to meet. These are as follows:

  • Your annual employment income can’t be less than $40,000 (location-dependent)
  • The maximum income of the entire household depends on the number of household members
  • The children in the family are younger than 18
  • At least one household member must have a full-time job (35-hour week)
  • The member working full-time has to have a consistent full-time working history for 2 years past
  • You mustn’t be in the possession of another real estate at the time
  • You’ve been living in the city where you want to apply for the home for two years minimum
  • Every household member is a recognized citizen or permanent resident of the country where you apply
  • You have no debts in Collections
  • It’s necessary to have at least $2,000 in any type of savings account
  • The Consumer Proposal should be in its final year (looked into on a case-by-case basis)
  • Debt balance and monthly debt payments can be considered for qualification

If you live alone with an annual income of, let’s say $40-60,000, you can probably lead a comfortable lifestyle. But when you have to take care of a whole family, kids and all, on that paycheck, things can become rather challenging. A lot of families find it impossible to get a place for themselves and continue living in rentals. This is where Habitat for Humanity housing can help your family settle down in a true home where your kids can grow up and put their roots down.

The Consumer Proposal

  1. What Is a Habitat House and Is It Good Quality?

A Habitat house is just like any other house designed to meet the modern lifestyle requirements of an average family. That said, the quality is good! There’s no compromise when it comes to this matter. It’s our goal as a global organization to make sure that the build house program we participate in meets all of the design requirements and specifications of the community in question.

The contractors, trades, and volunteers we bring in for work are all experienced and skilled in what they do, from electricity and plumbing to things such as painting, dry-walling, landscaping, etc. 

At every site, we have professional construction supervisors who make sure that everything proceeds smoothly and properly as well as provide volunteer guidance together with other Crew Leaders. 

Our Crew Leaders are experienced volunteers who have been on many building projects with us already and have gone through special training to effectively manage other volunteers and ensure that the build is successful and top-quality.

Of course, just like with all other new homes, Habitat homes also go through a thorough inspection and approval process. Not only do we build quality homes that are meant to last but we also put effort into creating energy-efficient homes that maintain great market value.

  1. Is Habitat for Humanity for Third-World Countries Only?

Habitat for Humanity operates globally. This includes third-world countries, but we’re not limited to them, quite the contrary. 

That said, we build homes in the whole of the US and Canada, many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, plenty of countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, as well as a considerable number of countries in Asia and the Pacific. After all, we recognize that housing is a global issue and hope to make a difference worldwide. 

As the gap solution between renting and buying a house traditionally, we want to clear the road to homeownership for more families who simply can’t purchase a home but need a way to get out of the cycle of renting, regardless of their location in the world.

  1. There Are Other Benefits Aside Home Ownership

If help for buying a house is what you seek, the help you’ll get – and much more! For starters, a Habitat house allows you to calculate the monthly housing costs, which makes it incredibly simpler and easier to save money in the long run, manage your budget, and make some future plans. Furthermore, mortgage payments build equity. 

That said, if you ever decide to sell your home back to Habitat for Humanity, you sure can; and you get to take your equity to purchase another home on the market elsewhere.

There’s no need to worry about rent or potential fluctuations in the payment rates. Most importantly, you’re in complete control of your own home as there’s no landlord to impose their rules. 

This also means that you don’t have to wait for anyone else to take charge of matters within your home, be it fixing something or having to ask for permission to personalize this space however you desire. Yes, only your imagination and creativity are the limit when it comes to how your new home will look like.

  1. How to Get a Habitat for Humanity Home

If this sounds amazing and it feels like you can benefit from this project a lot, all that’s left for you to do is go through the process of buying a Habitat home. We have already listed the qualification criteria for you to check out but there’s also the Eligibility Quiz. Taking this quiz can quickly tell you whether you meet the basic criteria of this program. If you’re approved for this affordable mortgage deal, you’ll be invited to watch an Information Session to learn more about the program’s details. 

Of course, just like you have to meet our requirements to qualify for a Humanity home, we have to meet yours. And in case you decide that the offer is a good fit for you and your family, all that’s left is to submit an application and wait for the final approval!

Habitat for Humanity works with people from around the world in order to provide communities with safe and secure homes. At the moment, we build houses in more than 70 countries across the globe and are proud to say that we’ve helped almost 30 million people improve their living conditions since 1976. Don’t hesitate to check out our website or reach out to us to learn more about what we do and how we make a difference. 

Buying a Home During COVID-19 – Things to Consider

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the way we go about our everyday lives has changed drastically and many people who were considering buying a home before the outbreak now have quite a number of questions regarding the process.

Among the most common questions are probably Is it a good time to buy property? or Will house prices drop? We have to say that these are all legitimate and in this article, we’ll do our best to give our readers the answers they need. 

First of all, since the beginning of the pandemic, the real estate industry has been considered as a “Critical Sector.” This means that certain security measures have to be applied to fight the spreading of the virus. 

The only problem is, buying a house during the pandemic still requires a lot of face-to-face interactions, so here a few things you should keep in mind before you start looking for your next home. 

Virtual Tours

In most places, open houses have been suspended. As the option of an open-house showing is currently not available (or not recommended), some realtors replaced them with virtual tours via their websites, Zoom, or Facebook Live. On the other hand, virtual tours are highly advised and have significantly improved since before the outbreak. Tours are now more in-depth and show both the inside of the house along with the outside and the surrounding areas. 

Virtual Tours

Showings and Safety Measures

Schedule a showing only if you are serious. Since realtors have to comply with the new safety measures, showings are recommended to be scheduled only when buyers are serious about the purchase and want to become homeowners. You may also be asked to drive separately from the realtor and practice social distancing during the showing (stand 6 feet apart from each other). Also, if you are feeling sick before the showing, consider rescheduling the event. 

During the Showing 

In most cases, only one person is allowed in the home at a time with the agent. Realtors should also provide masks, foot covers, disposable gloves, and hand sanitizer. Buyers are highly encouraged to walk with their hands in their pockets to avoid touching surfaces. 

Be Responsible

Even though realtors have strict guidelines to stick to when it comes to safety, you should also set your own boundaries and convey them to your agent before scheduling a showing.

Some processes may be exclusively online, while closings may also differ – pre-approvals, disclosures, and purchase agreements will mostly happen online. Closing companies may also choose to conduct their processes remotely, while some will still to them in person. When the latter is the case, social distancing is still a must.

What About Prices? 

So far, there’s an evident drop in property transactions, along with property prices too. However, experts are commenting that the latter may just be a short-term effect and that house prices will bounce back. Also, luxury estates are more affected by the pandemic price-wise than lower-priced properties. 

The Takeaway

The processes involved in buying a house have changed, and safety measures should be practiced at all times, even though most things happen online. On the other hand, the biggest concern in buying a house might just be the uncertainty of the economy. If you are financially affected by the pandemic, it’s best to wait a bit until your finances are back in check again.