Explore Habitat Homeownership

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Habitat for Humanity of Madison and Clark Counties has been welcoming families home for 30 years. The families we partner with invest “sweat equity” in their home, take classes to prepare them for homeownership, and purchase their homes with an affordable mortgage.

Our path to homeownership is an important and in-depth process requiring hard work, time, and dedication. Each partner family is paired with a mentor who will walk with them every step of the way.

Habitat homeownership is an Equal Housing Opportunity and anyone may apply.

Substantial Need for Housing
Your home must be:

  • Substandard– problems with heat, water, electricity, structure
  • Insufficient space– lacking enough bedrooms for the number of people in the household
  • Dangerous– located in unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
  • Inadequate– not suited for a family member who has a limitation
  • Subsidized for an extended period of time
  • A cost burden to your family

Ability to Pay

  • Your income source(s) are consistent and show an ability to pay an affordable mortgage, utilities and home maintenance costs
  • Your income will allow you to pre-pay $1,500 towards loan closing costs.
  • Your credit report and current debts are satisfactory

Willingness to Partner

  • Completing the application on time with all the requested information
  • Agreeing to complete sweat equity hours
  • Participating in homeowner education classes and one on one financial counseling
  • Exhibiting readiness for the responsibilities of owning and maintaining a home and yard

To be eligible to become a Habitat for Humanity homebuyer, you must meet the following requirements:

U.S. Residency – You must provide proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency through a birth certificate, passport, permanent resident card, I-94 card, or other documentation provided by the U.S. government.

Local Residency/Work History – You must have lived or worked in Madison or Clark County, KY for one continuous year prior to application.

Gross Household Annual Income –Gross household annual income includes income sources for each family member throughout the year totaled together before any payments, taxes, or deductions are made. Income requirements vary based on the size of the family. See our Income Guidelines tab for more information.

Credit – Your credit history must shows an ability to repay the loan.

  • Each applicant must have a credit score of at least 600 (or three tradelines of credit).
  • Collections of $5000 will automatically disqualify any applicant from the HFHMCC program
  • Medical collections will only be accepted if they are not in excess of $2500.
  • All collections (excluding $2500 or less in medical collections) must be paid in full within 90 days of conditional board approval.
  • Construction will not begin until collections have been paid in full.
  • Any applicant who has filed bankruptcy must have been discharged for no less than 36 months at time of application
  • Any foreclosures must have been settled at least 60 months prior to the date of application.
  • Repossessions must be at least 18 months old at time of application.
  • The applicant must have no liens or judgments that cannot be cleared before closing.

Level of Need -Your current housing is substandard, insufficient for your family size, dangerous, or inadequate. You have not owned a home in the last three years.

Involvement – You must be willing to partner with Habitat by providing information on time, and by showing you are ready to maintain a home and yard.

You must also agree to work required sweat equity hours by coming to homeownership classes and helping to build your home.

First Time Homeowner – You must not have owned a home in the last three years at the time of application. 

Please visit our FAQs about home ownership eligibility for more information.

Gross household annual income includes income sources for each family member totaled together before any payments, taxes, or deductions are made. 

Minimum Income Limits
A household’s gross monthly income must be at least $2,400 per month. Annual income from current sources must have been at least $28,800 for the 12 months prior to application. You must have been at the same job or had the same income source for one year or had consistent income for two years prior to application.

Maximum Income Limits
The total household annual gross income must not exceed 60% of the median income for similar size families in Madison or Clark County.

Income Guidelines for MADISON County
Household of 1:  $28,800 – $32,100
Household of 2:  $28,800 – $36,720
Household of 3:  $28,800 – $41,280
Household of 4:  $28,800 – $45,840
Household of 5:  $28,800 – $49,560
Household of 6:  $28,800 – $53,220
Household of 7:  $28,800 – $56,880
Household of 8:  $28,800 – $60,540

Income Guidelines for CLARK County
Household of 1:  $28,800 – $37,560
Household of 2:  $28,800 – $42,900
Household of 3:  $28,800 – $48,240
Household of 4:  $28,800 – $53,580
Household of 5:  $28,800 – $57,900
Household of 6:  $28,800 – $62,160
Household of 7:  $28,800 – $66,480
Household of 8:  $28,800 – $70,740

Here are answers to potential homeowner’s most frequently asked questions. If you don’t find the answers you are looking for, please contact us at .

DO YOU GIVE AWAY HOMES?

No.

Habitat for Humanity 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 20-30 year mortgage with on-time, in-full payments each and every month.

WHY DOES HABITAT REQUIRE "SWEAT EQUITY"?

Overall, sweat equity is a fundamental aspect of Habitat for Humanity's mission to build strength, stability, and self-reliance through shelter. It's not just about putting a roof over someone's head but also about empowering individuals and communities to build better futures for themselves.

Here are some examples:

Ownership and Investment: Sweat equity is a way for homebuyers to invest themselves in their homes. By contributing labor and time, they develop a sense of ownership and pride in their homes. It's not just a handout; it's a partnership where individuals work alongside volunteers and community members to build something together.

Affordability: Habitat for Humanity aims to provide affordable housing to those in need. By requiring sweat equity instead of a large down payment, they make homeownership more accessible to low-income families who might not otherwise qualify for traditional mortgages.

Skill Development: Sweat equity provides an opportunity for homeowners to learn construction skills and gain valuable experience. This knowledge can be empowering and beneficial for future maintenance and repairs on their homes.

Community Building: Sweat equity fosters a sense of community among Habitat homeowners, volunteers, and supporters. It brings people together to work towards a common goal of providing decent housing for everyone.

Sustainability: By involving homeowners in the construction process, Habitat for Humanity ensures that they understand the effort and resources required to build and maintain a home. This can lead to a greater appreciation for their housing situation and a commitment to long-term sustainability.

DO I HAVE TO HAVE CHILDREN TO QUALIFY FOR A HABITAT HOUSE?

No.

Habitat is a Fair Housing agency, which means we do not discriminate based on race/color, religion, sex/gender, national origin, disability, or familial status. Thus, our program is open to all household types including individuals, couples, single parents with children, couples with children, etc.

IF I BUY A HABITAT HOUSE, CAN I EVER SELL IT?

Yes.

Families who purchase Habitat-built homes can sell them at any time.

Habitat retains a “right of first refusal” that requires an owner to ask Habitat if it wants to purchase the house before the owner sells the home to a third party. Otherwise, just like any other homeowner, selling a house typically requires marketing it through a real estate broker (including paying commission), continuing to pay one’s mortgage until it is sold, and living in it for several years before there’s enough equity to “make money” on it.

Other restrictions may apply and will be discussed with the homeowner before they accept a Habitat home. 

ARE THERE ANY OTHER RESTRICTIONS ON OWNING A HABITAT HOUSE?

Yes.

Like all other affordable housing programs, Habitat for Humanity 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 in your place. Sometimes a granting agency will have additional restrictions that apply. 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.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED GROSS ANNUAL INCOME?

Gross annual income is the total amount of income earned annually. Gross annual income represents the amount of money a person earns in one year from all sources before taxes.

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’ve had homeowners who have consistently paid their mortgages, continued to work and returned to school for certifications or degrees to increase their earnings.

IF I WANT HABITAT TO BUILD A HOUSE WITH 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 typically have one or one-and-a-half bathrooms. However, if the homeowner wishes to add on to the home at his or her own expense at a later time, that is up to the homeowner.

CAN I HAVE A GARAGE OR CARPORT ADDED TO A HABITAT HOUSE?

No.

Habitat does not build garages or carports. We purchase lots that are large enough to build a house with a 2-car parking pad, but, typically, there is not additional room for these other features. However, if the homeowner wishes to add a garage or carport at his or her own expense at a later time, that is up to the homeowner.

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 in three years, or ever. If you own land in Madison or Clark 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 and be approved for our home ownership program in the exact same manner as all other applicants. Only after you’ve met our home ownership program criteria will we look at this possibility.

HOW DOES HABITAT DECIDE WHERE TO BUILD? CAN I ASK FOR A SPECIFIC LOCATION?

Habitat acquires land either through purchase or donation, so 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 need to choose a location based on the current/upcoming construction sites at the time they apply. We do not accept applicants requesting specific locations.

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 18 months after their initial application is submitted.
However, because our program relies on sponsors to fund houses and community volunteers to help construct them, this time frame is variable.

On the other hand, this time frame allows applicants to plan for their move, complete the sweat equity hours required by our program (a minimum of 350), and participate fully in the construction of their own homes

NOTICE: The federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits creditors from discriminating against credit applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age (provided the applicant has the capacity to enter into a binding contract); because all or part of the applicant’s income derives from any public assistance program; or because the applicant has in good faith exercised any right under the Consumer Credit Protection Act. The federal agency that administers compliance with this law concerning this creditor is the Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580.