criteria

We offer a hand up toward affordable homeownership. 

We want to make sure our homeowners are prepared for the responsibilities of homeownership, from paying a mortgage to maintaining their house. Our homeownership requirements, listed below, help to ensure this.

Because the need for affordable housing is so great in our community, we are usually inundated when we open the application process. We provide trained volunteer mentors to work with potential homeowners who are close, but do not yet quality for a loan due to their income, credit, or both. They develop an action plan together to prepare potential homeowners to reapply when the program opens.

Habitat for Humanity is an equal opportunity program. Applicants are selected based on their need for housing, willingness to partner with us, and their ability to pay the mortgage. Individuals from all races, sexes, and creeds are encouraged to apply.

Homeowner Requirements

  • Have a minimum credit score of 640.  Alternative lines of credit may be considered if an applicant does not have credit scores.
  • Presently reside in housing that is substandard in some way or inadequate due to any of the following – housing not maintained by the landlord, cost-burdened, overcrowded housing, temporary housing, etc.  Living in subsidized housing does not preclude a family from consideration.
  • Be willing to contribute 75-150 hours of ‘sweat equity’ on the construction sites and complete classes to prepare for becoming a homeowner.
  • The total household income must fall within a predetermined range according to the number of people in the family. This is to ensure that the new homeowners will be able to pay the low monthly mortgage payment, which includes escrows such as taxes, insurance and possible HOA.
  • The projected housing payment cannot exceed 30% of your gross income. You will need to qualify for the mortgage loan and meet our income criteria.

Service Areas

We serve the Greater Orlando & Osceola County areas, primarily within the City of Orlando, Osceola County and parts of Orange County  (with the exception of Winter Park, Maitland, Apopka, Winter Garden, and Oakland which are covered by other Habitat affiliates). We serve a select set of zip codes – and build communities

How the Program Works

The “American Dream” of homeownership becomes a reality for families in need through the work of Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County. We pride ourselves on being a hand up for our families and not a handout. In addition to monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor, also known as “sweat equity” – into building their home and the homes of others. They also attend Habitat U – homebuyer education classes that include financial literacy, home maintenance, safety issues, homeowner association involvement, and credit counseling if needed. 

Our housing program is underwritten by philanthropic donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations as well as grants. This allows us to provide an affordable mortgage, ensuring mortgage and escrow payments do not exceed 30% of a homeowner’s monthly income. 

meet the guidelines

You may be eligible for a Habitat home if you have been a resident of Orlando/Orange County or Osceola County for at least one year and you meet the 3 guidelines: need, ability to pay, and willingness to partner.

 

Need

  • Is your present housing one of the following:
    • Inadequate – Lack of adequate housing may include problems with the present structure such as: water; electrical or sewage service systems; heating system; hazardous; poorly maintained (substandard); or failure to meet city property maintenance standards.
    • Overcrowded – Also taken into consideration are the make-up and size of your family compared to the number of bedrooms in your home.
    • Transitional — You are currently living with family members or a friend and you do not have your own place to live.
    • Government Subsidized – Housing programs such as: Section 8, Low Rent Program.
    • Unaffordable – A percentage of your monthly income that you currently spend on housing is considered to determine need (“more than 40% of my monthly income goes towards rent”).

Ability to Pay

You and your family will be considered if your total income is between the income range.  This income is based on family size and is represented in the chart below:

Family Size Minimum Gross Monthly Income Maximum Gross Monthly Income
One $3,000 $3,240
Two $3,000 $3,707
Three $3,000 $4,167
Four $3,000 $4,627
Five $3,000 $5,000
Six $3,000 $5,373
Seven $3,200 $5,740
Eight $3,200 $6,113

The projected housing payment cannot exceed 30% of your gross income. You will need to qualify for the mortgage loan as well as meet our income criteria. In addition, you must:

  • Not have any unpaid non-medical charge-offs on your credit report.
  • Owe less than 43% of your gross monthly income in total debt payments.
  • Pay your rent on time.
  • Had stable income for the last year.
  • Have not declared bankruptcy in the last 24 months.

Click here to view HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agencies.

Willingness to Partner

To fulfill the requirements for demonstrating a willingness to partner,

  • You must be willing to partner with Habitat Orlando & Osceola and work 75 hours of “sweat equity” for a single applicant or 150 hours of “sweat equity” for a two-person applicant.
  • You must attend the required homeowner classes as scheduled.
  • You will encourage other families to participate in the Habitat program.
  • You will be responsible for maintenance of your house from the time you move into your home.
  • You will be responsible for repaying the purchase cost of your home in a timely manner so that other families can benefit from the Habitat program.

The following orientation content is important information for interested applicants to our homeownership program. Applicants are asked to read and acknowledge understanding of the information prior to applying when our program opens.