March - June
Applications for Caldwell County Habitat’s Homeownership Program are accepted from March 1 through June 30. Application packets are available online (to print) or at the Habitat Office and ReStore.
Completed applications should be returned to the Habitat office by June 30. Verification of all income should be included with the completed application. Examples of income verification:
- Current paycheck stubs
- Social security, Disability, or SSI letters
- Child support or alimony letters from DSS
- If you are self-employed, two years of current tax returns
Applications are screened to determine the applicant's Ability to Pay a Habitat mortgage. The applicant's yearly income must fall within Habitat’s income guidelines (listed in the application packet). In addition, the applicant must have satisfactory credit demonstrating their ability and willingness to repay the mortgage. Credit reports will be obtained on applicants whose income falls within the income guidelines.
Qualified applicants will receive a letter requesting additional documentation to proceed with the application process.
Applicants who do not qualify will receive an adverse action letter within 30 days, denying their application for housing and outlining the reason for denial.
Homeowner Information Meeting
Qualified applicants will attend a Homeowner Information meeting in August. Attendance is mandatory for you to move forward with Habitat's application process. At this meeting, qualified applicants will learn more about the Habitat Homeownership Program and update their application files.
Habitat's Family Selection team members will schedule virtual interviews with qualified applicants to discuss their need for housing and willingness to partner with Habitat through the homeownership process.
Final Approval for Homeownership Program
Caldwell Habitat's Board of Directors approves applicants entering the Homeownership Program for the next year. Applicants are notified by the end of October. The number of applicants approved for the Program is based on the number of housing spots available.
The Journey Begins!
January – December
Applicants approved for the Homeownership Program begin their journey to becoming a homeowner. During this time, applicants work on completing their sweat equity requirements by building houses and attending homeowner education. In addition, applicants must maintain their income and creditworthiness throughout the process. Upon successful completion of the Homeownership Program, construction begins!
Applicants completing the Homeownership Program begin construction of their home.
Future homeowners personalize their homes by choosing the exterior vinyl color, flooring, cabinets, and much more. The construction process typically takes around 4 to 6 months. The future homeowner continues to maintain their income and creditworthiness. Once their energy-efficient home is completed, future homeowners purchase it with a no-interest mortgage and become homeowners!
Being a Habitat homeowner comes with responsibilities. Homeowners care for their homes using many skills they learned while helping build them. Like any mortgage loan, Habitat homeowners make monthly payments until the house is completely paid.
Habitat's path to homeownership takes time, dedication, and hard work. The process is designed this way to ensure the long-term success of our homeowners.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Caldwell County Habitat for Humanity?
Caldwell County Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry that forms partnerships that empower individuals, families, and our community to build simple, decent homes in partnership 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 labor - “sweat equity” - into building their Habitat house and the houses of others. A single applicant must invest at least 300 hours, while a two-person applicant must invest 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 ready to accept the responsibility of homeownership. We do not want to sell applicants a home they cannot afford. Applicants must display the ability and willingness to repay a Habitat mortgage. This is determined through past credit. Having good credit means paying all your bills on time each month and not having 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 a successful homeowner.
If an applicant has excessive debt, numerous unpaid collections, active unresolved judgments, or liens, we cannot extend credit to purchase a home. 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 before the housing application. Specific requirements may be waived in cases of personal or natural disasters.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.