March - July
Applications for Caldwell County Habitat’s Homeownership Program are accepted March 1st through July 31st. Application packets are available online (to print) or at the Habitat Office and ReStore.
Completed applications should be returned to Habitat no later than July 31st. Include all applicable verification of income for everyone listed on the application:
- Current pay check stubs
- Social security or SSI letters
- Child support or alimony letter from DSS
- If self-employed, current tax return is required
Applications will be screened to determine Ability to Pay a Habitat mortgage. Income must fall within Habitat’s income guidelines (listed in the application packet) and applicant must have satisfactory credit. Credit reports may be obtained on applicants whose income falls within the income guidelines.
Qualified applicants will receive a letter requesting additional documentation to move forward with the application process and will be invited to attend one of the Homeowner Information meetings in August.
Applicants who do not qualify, will receive a letter within 30 days denying their application. The reason for denial will be listed on the letter.
Homeowner Information Meeting
Qualified applicants will attend a Homeowner Information meeting in August. Two dates will be offered to accommodate schedules. Attendance at one of these meetings is required to move forward with the application process. At this meeting, applicants will learn more about the Habitat Homeownership Program and will update their application file.
Home Visits and Family Interviews
September - October
Members of the Family Selection Committee will schedule home visits and interviews with qualified applicants. These visits and interviews will give applicants an opportunity to share with committee members their need for affordable housing. We ask that everyone listed on the application be present for the home visit and family interview.
Caldwell County Habitat builds between 5-6 houses each year. Typically, we receive more qualified applicants than we are able to build homes. Applicants who are selected for the upcoming homeownership class will be notified by Thanksgiving. Any applicant not selected at this time will be notified by early December and is encouraged to reapply.
Journey to Homeownership
January – December
Selected applicants will begin investing “sweat equity” in their journey to homeownership. Sweat equity is the investment of work in building your home and your neighbor’s home. It is not a form of payment, but an opportunity to work alongside other families and volunteers who give of their time to bring to life your dream of owning a home. This phase of the Homeownership Program lasts approximately 12 to 18 months.
Sweat equity opportunities include:
- Working at the construction site
- Attending homeowner education classes
- Helping in the ReStore
- Providing snacks or meals for volunteers
- Other ways may be approved by Habitat
Construction work days are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 8:00 am – noon. Homeowner education classes are the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 5:30 pm.
Becoming a Homeowner!
January – December
Upon successful completion of sweat equity, construction begins! As a future homeowner, you will be able to personalize your home by choosing exterior vinyl color, flooring, cabinets and much more. Construction typically takes around 4 to 6 months. Once construction is completed, you will close on a no-interest mortgage and move into a newly built, energy efficient home. Applicants must maintain stable income and credit worthiness throughout the process.
While this may be the end of the homeownership program, this is just the beginning of a new, brighter future for you and your family!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Caldwell County Habitat for Humanity?
Caldwell County Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry that forms partnerships which empower individuals, families and our community to build simple, decent homes with families in need of affordable housing. Habitat’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
How does it work?
Through volunteer labor and tax-deductible donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner families. Habitat houses are sold to qualified applicants at no profit and are financed with affordable, no-interest loans. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments enter a revolving fund for Habitat for Humanity to build more houses.
Habitat is not a give-away program. In addition to paying closing expenses and the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor - “sweat equity” - into building their Habitat house and the houses of others. A single applicant must invest a minimum of 300 hours, while a two-person applicant must invest a minimum of 600 hours.
Do I need perfect credit?
We do not expect applicants to have a perfect credit history. The Family Selection Committee considers the whole picture of an applicant and looks for applicants who are ready to accept the responsibility of homeownership. We do not want to sell an applicant a home that she or he cannot afford. Applicants must display an ability and willingness to repay the Habitat mortgage. This is determined through past credit. Having good credit means that you pay all your bills on time each month and 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. 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 from non-payment of utilities and loans, including student loans.
What if I have bad credit?
Homeownership is a huge responsibility. Habitat’s goal is to help you become not just a homeowner, but a successful homeowner.
If an applicant has excessive debt, numerous unpaid collections, active unresolved judgments or liens we will not be able to extend credit to purchase a home and the applicant will be disqualified. Applicants who have filed for bankruptcy in the past should show a good credit history since the bankruptcy and bankruptcies must have been discharged at least three years prior to the application for housing. Certain requirements may be waived in cases of personal or natural disaster.
If homeownership is your ultimate goal, but you’re not quite financially ready to apply, below are some tools that can help.
Operation Hope offers free and confidential credit counseling. To learn more, please visit their website https://operationhope.org/. The local branch of Operation Hope is located inside First Horizon Bank in Hickory. You may contact Niki Mullineaux at email@example.com or call 828-705-1198 for more information.
If you are concerned about your credit history, you may access one free copy of your credit report each year at www.annualcreditreport.com.