sweatequityHomeownership

We work to build strength, stability, and independence in Lake and Geauga Counties by partnering with families and helping them achieve homeownership. We believe that affordability is the key to home upkeep, and we work to provide just that. Future Habitat homeowners help build their own homes alongside volunteers. They pay an affordable, zero-interest mortgage, along with their own utilities, taxes, and all other housing expenses.

We call this a hand up, not a hand out.

We concentrate all our building efforts right here in Lake and Geauga County, typically building 3-4 houses annually. Nearly all our labor is donated by volunteers, including 250 sweat equity hours from the homeowners themselves.  We also help with home modifications for local residents who already have a home, but need changes in order to stay there.

Our work in Lake and Geauga Counties benefits all residents, not just the new homeowners. We are improving neighborhoods. Strengthening relationships. Fixing eyesores. Fostering independence and stability. And through this, we are building much more than houses. We are building a community.

How to Apply

In order to apply for Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity’s program, you must first fill out an application. Please use the information below to learn more about Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity qualification requirements and determine if you meet Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity three sets of criteria for becoming a homeowner: Need for Housing, Willingness to Partner and Ability to Pay.

Program Qualifications

Applicants of the Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Program must meet and follow specific qualification guidelines. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, and if married, must be co-applicants together with spouse.

Below are the basic requirements for our Homeownership Program. Read on to see if you qualify.

Residency

You must live or work in Geauga or Lake County for two years before applying.

Need for Housing

Demonstrate a Need for Housing by showing that your current home is unsafe, crowded, too expensive, temporary, or has features that don’t work.

Willingness to Partner

Show a Willingness to Partner by meeting all deadlines during the application process, attending all required events, classes, and meetings, and completing all 250-400 sweat equity hours before moving into the home. Sweat equity includes time spent helping to build your own and other homes in the program, completing financial literacy and home maintenance classes, and other Habitat volunteering events.

Ability to Pay

Show that you are able to Pay for your home by proving you manage debt and finances successfully and are able to pay a low down payment and closing costs. Automatic denials include a bankruptcy less than 1 year ago, a foreclosure less than 2 years ago and with a remaining balance, an open judgment or a tax lien. Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity provides affordable, 10-30 year mortgages. The household must prove a gross (before taxes) yearly income within our guidelines (see below). Some properties may have a higher minimum income requirement than what is listed below in order to ensure it is affordable. Not every homebuyer* can afford every house.

# in Household Income Range
1 $23,220 - $41,300
2 $26,550 - $47,200
3 $29,880 - $53,100
4 $33,165 - $58,950
5 $35,820 - $63,700
6 $38,475 - $68,400
7 $41,130 - $73,100

 

Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity includes all full-time and part-time wages from applicants taking ownership of a home. Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity also counts non-wage income from everyone in the household, including alimony/maintenance, child support, food stamps, pension, retirement, SSDI, SSI, survivor’s benefits, TANF, and wages. Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity does not count unemployment or financial aid. If you have any questions, please call (440) 226-3000.

The application process takes about 3 months.

List of Financial Documents

Next, you will give us copies of your financial documents. Lake-Geauga Habitat for Humanity will not take your originals or make copies for you.

Home Interview

Someone from our Homebuyer Selection Committee will hold a home interview at your current residence.

They will ask questions about your Willingness to Partner.

Next, they will review your Ability to Pay.

Last, they will walk through your entire home to see the Need for Housing.

Homebuyer Selection

Lastly, the Homeowner Selection Committee will look at all of the families who have applied. They will vote to decide which family meets all of the criteria. The family is then informed of their decision. *Homebuyers who are chosen then begin the next phase of the process. (*1 or more persons)

If you have questions, please call (440) 226-3000.