We are currently not accepting homeownership applications.


Homeownership Frequently Asked Questions


Do I qualify for a Habitat house?

Unfortunately, due to mortgage law, no matter what your circumstance, Habitat will not be able to tell you whether or not you qualify for the Homeownership Program until we have a completed application. Please take a look through the ability to pay, willingness to partner, and need for better housing webpages, these are the criteria we use to determine qualification for the program and we typically do not make exceptions.

Do you have to be a US Citizen or have permanent residency?

Yes, you must be a legal permanent resident of the United States and be able to provide proof of legal residency, such as US Passport, Permanent Resident Card, US Birth Certificate, etc.

Who can be a part of my household? How is my household size determined?

Only individuals who are currently living in the household can be considered when determining household size and the number of bedrooms the applicant qualifies for. A child is only considered in regards to household size if the applicant has at least 50% custody of that child. We do occasionally make exceptions and definitely want to make sure that household members are not discounted when inappropriate. If a person is pregnant during the application process, the unborn child will be counted towards household size. Please be sure to explain any household size situations in your application.

Can I choose the number of bedrooms I want in a Habitat house?

No. Habitat determines the house size based on the household size and make up. The applicant will receive a bedroom and will be expected to share with their spouse or partner. Adult couples who are not the applicants will get their own bedroom. Two children of the same gender are expected to share one bedroom if they are 3 years apart in age or less. Habitat is happy to accommodate disability needs when necessary.

What are the qualifications for the Homeownership Program?

Please see the Ability to Pay webpage for more details on this question!

Will a credit check be required?

YES! In addition to credit checks — rental history, sex offender check, background check, income verification, tax returns and bank statements will be reviewed.

What if I have student debt?

Having student debt does not automatically disqualify you from our Homeownership Program. The amount of student debt, your current income and the other debt that you may have will be evaluated during the application process to determine if your debt-to-income ratio is within our limit of 15% consumer debt.

What if I have collections or judgments on my credit report?

Habitat is more lenient than a bank when it comes to collections and judgments, but our qualification guidelines do have caps. Each application will be reviewed on an individual basis.

NWVHFH does not solely rely on credit scores in the selection process. A credit report will be pulled to determine if the applicant/co-applicant’s credit history is satisfactory and in accordance with the guidelines laid out in the Income and Credit Procedures document.  A letter of explanation will be required to explain liens, collections, judgments; which all must be paid in full prior to approval.

What if I have a bankruptcy, a foreclosure or major repossessions in my past?

We are happy to see people improving and cleaning up their credit. We require two years to have passed since your bankruptcy, foreclosure or large repossessions were discharged. 

If I own another home, can I still qualify for Habitat’s Homeownership Program?

Our requirements are that you do not own a home anywhere else. This applies even if you are a partial owner or co-signer, even if you do not live in that other home. You may still qualify if you owned a home 3 years or more ago. You do not have to be a first time home buyer to qualify.

What types of income are counted when I apply?

All forms of permanent income are generally included as a part of the household income and will be considered. All income must be documented. If an applicant or household member is receiving child support or alimony (and want it to be considered), they must include a copy of the court order for those payments within their application. If an applicant or household member is receiving SSI, Disability, TANF, Social Security, they must provide a copy of a current monthly statement within their application paperwork. Income must also be somewhat predictable and lasting. Temporary income, or income that will not continue past 4 years’ time is not considered. Food stamps are not counted as income.

How many years do I have to pay on my mortgage?

The length of the mortgage depends upon the sales price of the home and your total income. Generally, they range from 15 to 30 years.

How much will I have to pay each month for my house?

Habitat homeowners pay between 23 – 28% of their gross monthly income on their house payments. We will determine which percentage to use based on your income and household size. The monthly mortgage payment includes your mortgage, taxes, insurance and Homeowner’s Association fee.

Will I be allowed to sell my home?

Yes.  HOWEVER, there are some restrictions:

You must offer the house back to Habitat for Humanity first. Habitat will make a fair offer for the home.

Can I rent out my Habitat home if I need to move to another place?

No. The legal documents for your Habitat home restrict the use of the property as a rental. All Habitat homes must be owner occupied, meaning you, the owner, MUST live in your house. We will check this annually.

Once I’ve completed and turned in an application, what comes next?

Once the deadline for all applications has passed, Habitat will begin reviewing applications to see if they meet our financial qualifications. If everything meets our qualifications, you’ll move on to the next step, which is a home visit. Habitat staff will arrange a short interview with you in your current housing situation.

After the home visit, Habitat will review all the information gathered throughout the process and determine who will be selected into the Habitat Homeownership Program.

The entire process from turning in a paper application to receiving an acceptance or denial letter is considered our application process. All of the following are part of the process and NWVHFH will consider an application complete once these steps are completed:

  1. A returned, completed application is received with all necessary and requested documents on one of the designated dates (see Application for dates).Any additional documents requested by Habitat are provided by the date specified.
  2. Habitat completed a financial review which includes pulling a credit report.
  3. Habitat completed a sex offender check and a background check.
  4. If all of the defined financial criteria for the program are met, Habitat will arrange a home visit.
  5. Habitat will submit the IRS Form 4506-T and wait on the arrival of your Tax Transcript.
  6. Habitat will submit the Landlord Reference Form for completion by your Landlord.
  7. Habitat will submit the Employment Verification Form for completion by your current or previous employer.
  8. Habitat will then select the most qualified household to present for approval to the board of directors.
  9. Habitat will notify you of your acceptance and you will sign a Partnering Agreement to officially accept you position in the program.

Your application is not considered complete until all steps are done.

How long does the application process take? How long before I can purchase a house?

The entire application process may take several months from the close of the annual application period. If you are selected, the building process averages another twelve to twenty-four months. Habitat’s ability to build houses depends greatly upon financial donations, the availability of land and on volunteer labor. All of these affect the length of time it takes to complete the application process and to build a house. These are only approximation, based on our best guess at the time. 

What type of houses does Habitat build and where are they?

Habitat homes are:

  • New
  • Used
  • Stand alone
  • Duplex
  • Triplex
  • 2-story
  • Single level

Regardless of what type of home Habitat builds, we will make sure it is in great shape before we sell it to you.

Our homes are located throughout our service area of Marion and Clackamas County.

What if I have some issues I know will come up on my criminal background check?

Habitat does background checks on all adult household members. People will sign background release forms included as a part of their application. A criminal history does not automatically disqualify an applicant; any issues that come up in a background check will be dealt with on an individual basis.