Additionally, all applicant families MUST:
- Be legal residents or citizens in status
- Have two years of taxable income reported
- Be first-time homeowners
Three Main Selection Criteria
1. Applicants must demonstrate a need for housing
Consideration is given to the following circumstances and conditions:
- Currently live in substandard housing, which includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Unsafe living conditions
- Unsafe neighborhood environments
- Unable to secure adequate housing through the private market (loan from a bank or mortgage company)
- Applicant pays more than 35% of their income on rent
2. Income and Ability to Pay
- Have an income of 25%-50% of the area median income. For a family of four, that falls between $22,000 and $44,000
- Have less than a 41% debt to income ratio
- Income must be adequate to cover monthly housing cost of approximately $675-$700. The monthly payment includes the mortgage, and monthly escrow payment which includes taxes, insurance, and short and long term maintenance costs for common areas.
Ability-to-Pay requires proof of income verification in accordance with banking regulations.
Click here to see if your income falls within the 2014 HUD Income guidelines for 25% to 50% income limits.
If applicants have declared bankruptcy, they must wait five (5) years after being discharged and establishing good credit to apply for a Habitat house.
3. Willingness to Partner/Sweat Equity
The family must demonstrate a willingness to participate as a partner with Habitat. Prospective homeowners must demonstrate a commitment to their home and community, as well as to Habitat. These criteria are determined by interviewing the applicant families and their references.
- Applicants must be willing to commit, in writing, to contribute between 240-360 hours of sweat equity/physical construction:
- Single family head of household required to contribute 240 hours of sweat equity
- Dual family head of household required to contribute 360 hours of sweat equity
- A minimum of 100 hours of sweat equity MUST be done on the construction site.
- Willingness to partner also includes a commitment to
- Support and advocate for Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity
- Participate in promotional activities
- Attend Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity events
- Pay your mortgage on time so that more homes can be built (this will be determined by obtaining your credit report);
- Maintain your home inside and out, including doing the necessary landscaping and cleaning of the common areas.
Lack of Willingness to Partner will automatically disqualify applicant(s) from the homeownership program, regardless of what stage of the process the applicant(s) is/are in. In accordance with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act, Merrimack Valley Habitat for Humanity does not discriminate with regards to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, handicapping conditions, family status, marital status, or age (provided that the applicant has the capacity to enter into a binding contract).