Homeownership: Frequently Asked Questions
How do we select the families for our houses?
The family must meet our initial criteria:
1. Must meet Paterson Habitat's income guidelines
2. Must acknowledge and accept the responsibilities of homeownership
3. Willingness to “partner” with Habitat by completing homeownership requirements including 400 hours of “sweat equity.”
There are no racial, ethnic, or religious requirements or preferences, and Habitat follows all State and Federal Fair Housing and Credit guidelines.
What is “sweat equity”?
Sweat equity is an important principle in the Habitat for Humanity building model. It describes the investment of 400 hours in time and labor that our families contribute as a partner in our program. We like to think of sweat equity as the down payment on a Habitat house.
How do you complete your “sweat equity”?
You and members of your immediate family may contribute hours to your “sweat equity”. You and your family can accumulate hours by: working on your home and the home of other future Habitat homeowners, attending Habitat homeowner workshops, volunteering with other community organizations, attending Homeowner Association meetings and several other ways.
Do families purchase or rent the homes?
Families buy their houses from Habitat after completing the sweat equity hours and paying 1% of the purchase price along with closing costs. The houses are sold at no profit, and Habitat finances a zero-interest mortgage.
Where does Habitat get the land?
Site acquisition is one of the most critical needs of Paterson Habitat. Property is acquired primarily through purchase. Charitable tax benefits may be possible for those donating land or selling property at a discount to Habitat.
How much does a Habitat home cost?
Homes are sold at a subsidized price with no profit added in. Included in our costs are: materials and land, site development, construction staff and some professional labor.
What if a family wants to sell its home?
Homeowners cannot “buy low” from Habitat and then “sell high” to someone else. A deed restriction guarantees that each home will remain affordable for at least 99 years. Deed restrictions also ensure that the home will remain owner-occupied and sold to an income eligible household. Of course, an owner can sell the home at any time as long as the deed restrictions are followed.
How are the houses maintained?
Each family is responsible for keeping its own house in good order. While individual lifestyles vary—as in any neighborhood—Habitat homeowners exhibit pride in homeownership and a desire to protect their investments. The Habitat Homeowners’ Association schedules monthly programs on various aspects of owning and maintaining a house.