Habitat for Humanity - New York City

Homeownership FAQ

WHAT MAKES HABITAT NYC HOMES AFFORDABLE FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES?

› Community, faith, and corporate sponsorships
› Individual donations
Volunteer labor
Government grants
“Sweat equity” hours contributed by future homeowners
› An affordable mortgage product

HOW CAN I OBTAIN A HOMEOWNERSHIP APPLICATION?
We do not always have housing available. When housing becomes available, applications will be posted to our website. You can also pick up an application from our office or call or email us to request one. If you have attended one of our Information Sessions recently, we will email you new applications as they become available.

WHAT IS A “HABITAT HOMEOWNER”?
Homeownership is a key component of the Habitat for Humanity model. Habitat provides a hand up, not a handout, meaning that we are in active partnership with our Habitat homeowners. We apply the term “Homebuyer” to applicants that have met all prerequisites required to be considered for Habitat NYC homeownership.

HOW ARE HABITAT HOMEOWNERS SELECTED?
Homeowners are selected based on ability to pay, willingness to partner and their housing need.

WHAT IS “SWEAT EQUITY”?
“Sweat equity” is Habitat’s term for the volunteer labor that Habitat homeowners contribute to building their homes and the homes of their neighbors, as well as the time they spend in financial and homeowner education courses. Homeowners begin working on sweat equity after they are selected as Habitat Homeowners, and must complete their hours before they move into their new homes. Sweat equity is a keystone of the Habitat program. It is important in our effort to eliminate poverty housing and build communities.

WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR BECOMING A HABITAT HOMEOWNER?
- Attend an Information Session (optional)
- Application Submission and Review
- Family Partner Selection
- Sweat Equity/Education
- Mortgage Process
- Home Purchase

HOW LONG IS THE PROCESS?
The process, from start (application) to finish (keys to your new home), is different for every homeowner. Factors such as housing availability and external influences can delay or shorten the timeline. A more accurate timeline will be provided at the time of partnership.

WHAT TYPES OF HOMES DOES HABITAT NYC DEVELOP?
Habitat NYC has built co-ops, condos, and single-family homes. Types of housing and housing location are dependent upon current projects.

WHERE ARE HABITAT NYC HOMES?
Habitat NYC builds throughout the five boroughs of New York City.

HOW MUCH DOES A HABITAT NYC HOME COST?
Habitat NYC homes vary in pricing. Habitat NYC families will pay no more than 33% of their total household income in monthly housing costs. Typical sales prices will be discussed in further detail at the information session.

ARE THERE INCOME REQUIREMENTS?
Gross household income must be between 50-80% of the Area Median Income. Area Median Income guidelines are set by HUD and based on household size (the number of people you plan to have living with you). Guidelines are subject to change.

Household Size 
Minimum Income
 
Maximum Income 
1 $31,750 $50,750
2 $36,250 $58,000
3 $40,800 $65,250
4 $45,300 $72,500
5 $48,950 $78,300
6 $52,550 $84,100

 

DOES MY CREDIT HAVE TO BE PERFECT?
No; however, applications do require a hard pull of your credit report. Credit history and monthly debt obligations of the applicant (not the whole household) will be reviewed. Further details about credit eligibility will be discussed at the Information Sessions.

Who is considered a “First Time Homebuyer”?
Habitat NYC uses the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) definition of First Time Homebuyer, which is an individual who has had no ownership in a principal residence during the last 3 years.

WHAT WILL BE MY COST FOR HOUSING?
The term of your SONYMA mortgage product will be 30 years, with a 2% fixed interest rate. Your total monthly mortgage payment, any initial maintenance costs, home owners insurance and property taxes combined will not exceed 33% of your household’s gross monthly income.

WHAT IS SONYMA?
State of New York Mortgage Agency (SONYMA) is a state agency that provides low-interest mortgages to low- and moderate-income homebuyers.

DOES HABITAT NYC CONDUCT CRIMINAL AND/OR SEX OFFENDER CHECKS?
Habitat NYC complies with all federal, state and local Fair Housing Laws. All residents of applicant households are checked against the National Sex Offender Public website.

WHAT IF I WANT TO MOVE TO A DIFFERENT HABITAT HOME?
You are buying a home. We do not transfer owners between development projects. If you do decide to move, you can sell your home based on the conditions set forth in your offering plan and/or purchase agreement. Resale restrictions vary for each property and will be discussed in further detail at the Information Sessions.

WHAT IS A PANEL INTERVIEW?
Applicants who pass financial and credit underwriting and demonstrate an “ability to pay” are invited to a Panel Interview. Panel Interviews provide an opportunity for you and your entire household to share your interest in Habitat NYC, your need for affordable housing and why you believe you should be selected as a Homebuyer. During the Panel Interview, we will share more information about the program and the overall process and you will have an opportunity to ask questions.


Habitat for Humanity New York City transforms lives by building quality homes with families in need and by uniting all New Yorkers around the cause of affordable housing.

What would you like to learn about?

Homeownership Information Sessions

Learn more about our homeownership program by attending one of our information sessions!

For more information about upcoming sessions, email homeownership@habitatnyc.org or call (646) 779-8846.

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