Montgomery Habitat for Humanity empowers partner families who qualify to build and buy their own homes. Partner family selection is based on three general criteria: need, ability to pay a no interest mortgage, and willingness to partner with Habitat.
We build homes with people who live in Montgomery County, Alabama.
You will be considered for a Habitat home if your present housing is not adequate and if you are unable to obtain adequate housing through other conventional means. Lack of adequate housing may include overcrowding, physically substandard housing, and unsafe or dangerous living conditions.
Your income should fall within 30-60% of the median income for Montgomery County for the current year.
The percentage of your monthly income that you currently spend on housing is considered to determine your need. You will need to fully and openly discuss your financial situation with a Habitat representative.
ABILITY TO PAY
Since you will be actually buying your home from Habitat, you must demonstrate your ability to pay the monthly mortgage payment. The payment will include not only the mortgage payment, but also the payment for real estate taxes and insurance. Monthly payments average $400-$500 per month for our new Habitat homes this year. We will help you to determine if this payment will jeopardize your ability to meet all your other family financial obligations and expenses. We can also help you develop a budget to determine your eligibility. There is no interest on the 20-year mortgage loan for a Habitat home.
WILLINGNESS TO PARTNER
When selected, you become a "partner family" with Habitat. Your assistance in constructing your home and the homes of others is called "sweat equity" and may include clearing the lot, painting, helping with construction, cleaning during construction, providing food for volunteers, helping in the Habitat office, and completing homeowner workshops. As a partner family, you must complete 400 hours of sweat equity. You will be asked to enroll in several hours of training on budgeting, home maintenance, etc., which will apply toward your sweat equity hours. Hours worked by family and friends may also apply toward your sweat equity.
As a homeowner you will be responsible for maintenance and repairs of your house from the time you move in your home.
From the time you are selected and after you move into your home, the Family Support Committee will maintain an ongoing relationship with you, which includes financial counseling, resources for household maintenance, and education on home safety.
If you meet the eligibility requirements, see below to learn how to apply to be a Habitat partner family.
How to Apply
Habitat conducts a Home Ownership Orientation on a quarterly basis (January, April, July, & October). Interested individuals must call 334.832.9313 to be scheduled for a session. You must attend an orientation session to receive an application.
All sessions will take place at the Habitat Office, 2216 E. South Blvd Montgomery, AL. 36116.
Some Notes About Orientation Sessions
Please be on time, as late arrivals will not be admitted.
Couples who will be applying together for a Habitat home must BOTH attend an orientation session.
Adults only; please do not bring children to the 45 minute orientation session.
Habitat's 6 Step Application Process:
1. Attend an Orientation Session.
The staff will explain the eligibility requirements and answer any questions you have about Habitat's program. You will need to attend an orientation session in order to receive an application.
2. Submit an initial application by the application deadline.
You must submit an application by the deadline given to be considered for Habitat's home ownership program. After submission, staff members will do an initial review of applications to verify basic information.
3. Credit & Criminal Background Check
If your application passes the initial review, we will perform a credit and criminal background check to go along with the information included in your application.
4. Family Selection
We will review all applications, the credit & criminal background check(s), and then select the ones that qualify to move forward in the process.
5. Home interview
You will be contacted to schedule a home visit with members of our Family Selection Committee who will meet with you in your current home to talk with you about why you desire to participate in the Habitat housing program. This is your opportunity to explain your current living situation such as poor maintenance by your landlord, high crime/unsafe area, overcrowded conditions, high rent, etc.
6. Board of Directors Approval
After completing the above steps, your application will be presented to Habitat's Board of Directors for final approval.
Approved families then move on to complete 400 hours of sweat equity on their own home as well as the homes of fellow Habitat homeowners. Construction times vary on each home, but closing and move in is generally within 12-18 months after a family's approval for the program. As the house nears completion, we'll celebrate with a dedication for the sponsors, volunteers, and the family.
We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
Homeowner Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do you give away homes to people?
No. Habitat is both a builder and a mortgage company. All applicants who qualify for a home must have a steady source of income, from working and/or non-working sources, and must repay a 20-year mortgage with on-time, in-full payments each and every month.
2. Are there any restrictions on owning a Habitat House?
Yes. Like other affordable housing programs, Habitat requires that its houses are homeowner occupied. This means that you cannot use it for business purposes, move out and leave it empty, rent it out, or move out and let others live there instead. After a homeowner has fully paid off the mortgage, these restrictions are removed. And, like all other mortgage companies, Habitat requires that the property (house and yard) are maintained in good condition.
3. If my income increases after I have bought my house, will that affect my status?
No. Habitat encourages all of its homeowners to continually improve their financial status through additional education, training, or job promotions/changes that provide better pay, hours and/or locations. Our hopes are that having a stable home will free up time and energy to pursue additional opportunities. We have had homeowners who have consistently paid their mortgages, continued to work and returned to school for certifications or degrees to increase their earnings.
4. What happens if I can’t work due to illness/injury and can’t pay my mortgage?
Montgomery Habitat works with a mortgage servicing company to service your mortgage and pay out property taxes and homeowners insurance. This servicing company will work with you to put a plan in place to get payments back on track.
5. What are "Sweat Equity" hours?
Partner families must fulfill 400 'sweat equity' hours of volunteer work, both on our construction sites working on their home and other partner families' homes, working at our ReStore, and participating in required workshops and educational classes. These hours are vital to remaining in good status in the Habitat program.
6. If I want to more space or bedrooms than Habitat’s guidelines allow, can I do that?
No. Habitat builds houses according to the number of family members in a household. Our homes are affordable, energy efficient and provide adequate living and storage space for most families. Our 3-bedroom houses are typically around 1100 square feet and have two full bathrooms.
7. If I own land, can Habitat build a house on it?
Maybe. Our program is for first-time homeowners – anyone who has not owned a house. If you own land in Montgomery County, we might be able to construct a home on it, but our construction department will need to evaluate it. But, more importantly, you will need to apply to and be approved for our home ownership program in the exact same manner as all other applicants. Only after you have met our home ownership program criteria will we look at this possibility.
8. How does Habitat decide where to build? Can I ask for a specific location?
Habitat acquires land primarily through donations therefore we have limited areas where we build. Applicants who want to be part of our program will need to be open about the location of their future homes, and willing to live where we are currently building. Applicants will be assigned a location based on the current/upcoming construction sites at the time they reach the requisite amount of "sweat equity" hours. We are unable accept applicants requesting specific locations.
9. How long is it from the time I apply for a home until I close and move in?
Typically, families close on and move into their homes about 12-18 months after their initial application is submitted. Our program relies on sponsors to funds houses and community volunteers to help construct them. This timeline allows applicants to plan for their move, complete the sweat equity hours required by our program, and participate fully in the construction of their own homes.