HOMEOWNERSHIP FAQ'S

Find the answers to your questions about the Homeownership.

We’d love to answer your questions

When are you accepting applications?

Applications are available and accepted during our build cycles and the time frames vary based on building a new home or renovation of existing home. Please check our Qualify and Apply page for updates. To receive updates, please sign up for our newsletter.

What documents will be required if I qualify for a Habitat home?
  • Completed Habitat for Humanity of Flathead Valley Application, including a personal statement describing your housing needs
  • Social Security card
  • Driver’s license or state-issued photo ID
  • Landlord name and contact info
  • Upon initial approval and throughout the process, Business Operations will request additional documentation and signatures
  • Employer name and contact info (if applicable)
  • Income documentation, including (if applicable):
    • W-2 forms for most recent tax year
    • Tax return for most recent tax year
    • Proof of income for past 12 months
    • Government assistance award letters: (if applicable)
      • Food Stamp
      • Social Security and/or Disability benefits
How do you choose homeowners for the Habitat homes?

After an applicant submits a completed application, Habitat for Humanity of Flathead Valley Business Operations begins by evaluating an applicant’s need, willingness to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Flathead Valley, and financial eligibility. This consists of reviewing income documentation and a credit report. The Habitat for Humanity of Flathead Valley Business Operations department is also looking for sufficient, stable income to ensure the applicant is ready for the financial responsibility of homeownership. 

 

If the applicant meets the above requirements, there may be a home visit. Here a member of Habitat for Humanity of Flathead Valley’s Family Selection Committee gathers information about the applicant’s need for housing. The Family Selection Committee presents recommended applicants to the Habitat for Humanity of Flathead Valley Board of Directors for approval. 

One of the selection criteria is “need for housing.” What does “need for housing” mean?

“Need for housing” generally means that an applicant’s current housing is inadequate. The Family Selection Committee typically chooses applicants who can prove at least one of the following housing conditions:

  • Substandard Housing: Your housing may have maintenance and/or structural issues that create health and safety problems (such as mold, poor heating or plumbing, or unsafe construction.) Your house is overcrowded, or is not good for handicapped/disabled family members. 
  • Temporary Housing: You have temporary living arrangements or transitional/subsidized housing.
  • Excessive Cost: Your total housing costs (rent and necessary utilities) are more than 30% of your income.
  • Unsafe: Your neighborhood is unsuitable or unsafe for family members, especially children or elderly/disabled individuals.
What is good credit?

Good credit means that you pay all your bills on time each month and you don’t have excessive debt. Your credit is your responsibility and maintaining good credit is one of the most important things you can do for your financial health. Having good credit means that you have a good credit report. A credit report is a record of the personal financial transactions that make up your credit history, such as credit cards, car loans, personal loans, and negative items such as collections, judgements, or liens. 

What can I do to prepare before applying to Habitat?

If you plan to apply for Habitat’s Homeownership Program during the next application round, you can prepare by collecting your financial documents. If you have outstanding negative credit items, you may want to develop a plan to address them with a credit counselor. 

How long does it take before I can move into a home?

Habitat for Humanity is not a quick housing solution. The application process takes between one and three months. If an applicant is accepted into the Homeownership Program, the process from acceptance through moving into a home can take from12 months to 2 years, depending on construction schedules, available resources and the future homeowner’s Sweat Equity progress.

What is the first step for Habitat homeownership?

The process of home ownership begins by submitting an application during an open application session. Check the Qualify and Apply page to see if we are accepting applications at this time. Applications are also available at our office. If we are not accepting applications, please check back later and request to be added to our Newsletter Mailing List to receive updates. We will post on the website as soon as we have an application round scheduled. 

Can I be on a waiting list?

No. We do not have a waiting list. However, you are welcome to continue to check the Qualify and Apply page to see if we are accepting applications and request to be added to our Newsletter Mailing List to receive updates. We will post on the website as soon as we have an application round scheduled. 

What is Sweat Equity?

Sweat Equity is the work a future Habitat homeowner spends helping to build his/her own home as well as the homes of other future homeowners. It is a central principle in Habitat’s mission of building community and partnering with families to provide “a hand up, NOT a handout.” Providing the opportunity for our future homeowners to work alongside volunteers and future neighbors to build their homes is one of the most unique, empowering and rewarding aspects of Habitat for Humanity. 

 

Once you are approved by the Board of Directors to become a part of our Homeownership Program, you must complete the required number of Sweat Equity hours at Habitat’s construction sites. It’s important for a future homeowner to give consistent, active participation on the construction site. In fact, most families exceed the minimum required hours. Friends and family may help a future homeowner by volunteering with Habitat and donating their hours to help fulfill your Sweat Equity requirement. 

I have to help build my house… What if I don’t know how?

Habitat does not require any previous construction skills or knowledge to be a volunteer or a future homeowner. We have a fully trained staff and long-term volunteers who are eager to teach our future homeowners and volunteers the skills they need to be successful on the construction site. 

What are Habitat homes like?

Habitat for Humanity, with its partner families, builds safe, decent, affordable houses. Our homeowners feel comfortable and secure in their new homes. Because we build houses with affordability in mind, Habitat homeowners have limited choices about their homes, including the location of the home. 

 

Our homeowners generally are able to choose: 

  • Exterior paint color 
  • Countertop and cabinet colors
  • Flooring shade (light or dark)
Can you build me a house on my land?

No. We do not have a program that will allow us to build a house on a piece of land currently owned by third party or potential partner family. 

If my application for the Homeownership Program is not approved, can I reapply later?

Absolutely. We have limited available spots in our Homeownership Program. Sadly, this means we cannot accept every qualified applicant. If an applicant is not approved during the current application process, we encourage her/him to improve eligibility (if applicable) and reapply during a future application round. Some of our partner families were denied the first time they applied due to outstanding collections and debts, income that was below our limits or other issues. They successfully improved their eligibility, reapplied, and were accepted into the program. 

*Habitat for Humanity of Flathead Valley is 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, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, or sources of income. 

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