AFFORDABLE HOMEOWNERSHIP FAQS

Program Information

Habitat for Humanity Chicago provides affordable mortgages to qualified homebuyers. Once accepted into the program, these homebuyers prepare for homeownership through education classes, guidance meetings, and by helping to build their homes alongside volunteers, construction professionals, and their future neighbors. At the end of the program, homebuyers purchase their new, energy efficient homes in one of Habitat Chicago's focus neighborhoods. 

After an applicant is accepted into the program, it can take ten to sixteen months to complete the Affordable Homeownership Program and move into the new home. While this may seem like a significant period of time, it allows for construction of the home, the completion of homeownership education classes and partner hours on the build site, as well as the loan origination process.

We host several information sessions throughout the year and attendance at one of these sessions is highly encouraged for anyone who is interested in purchasing a home with us. Our information sessions provide an overview of the Affordable Homeownership Program, including requirements, qualification criteria, and how to apply. There is also time set aside for questions.

You can find a full list of our upcoming information sessions on our events page. Once you identify an information session you'd like to attend, you can sign up by following the prompts on the event page.

If, after having read through the program information on our website, you still have questions, we encourage you to sign up for an information session (see question above). If you are unable to attend an information session or have a time-sensitive question, you can email your inquiries to homeownership@habitatchicago.org and someone from our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Loan Application Process

To qualify for Habitat Chicago's Affordable Homeownership Program, you must meet three criteria:

1) You have a need for affordable housing and are not a current homeowner.

2) You have an ability to purchase your home and make your monthly mortgage payments. This means you meet our income requirements (see question below).

3) You are willing to partner with us throughout this program by completing volunteer hours and education classes before closing on your new home.

Please read about these criteria in detail on our Eligibility page. Interested applicants are encouraged to attend one of our information sessions to learn more about qualifications and program requirements.

To meet our income requirements, your household income must fall below 80% of Chicago's area median income, and borrower income above 40%. In addition to this, you must also meet our minimum credit history requirements. Please read about these requirements on our Eligibility page.

First, make sure you qualify by reviewing our program information and attending an information session. Once you confirm that you are eligible for the program, begin assembling your application materials and all necessary documentation. Access the application and fill it out in its entirety. When you are ready to submit your application packet and supporting documents, please schedule your application in-take appointment. For more detailed information, please read through our Application Instructions page.

We accept applications on a rolling basis, and we recommend that you apply as soon as you have all of your application materials assembled. If you would like to talk with our staff prior to submitting your application, you can reach out to us at homeownership@habitatchicago.org.

Applicants that meet our qualification criteria are approved on a rolling basis, as space permits in our program.

Unfortunately, we cannot accept voucher payments for your mortgage. When you apply for the program, we evaluate your ability to pay your future mortgage based on your debt and income levels, and you must be able to meet our income requirements without the voucher income.

If you're not quite ready to apply for a home loan, or if you think you need to work on your qualifications, consider signing up for Homebuyer University, our homebuyer readiness education course. The course consists of 5 classes that are designed with first-time homebuyers in mind, covering topics from credit to community considerations. Homebuyer University is separate from our Affordable Homeownership Program, and participation in the course does not constitute a loan application with Habitat Chicago, nor does it substitute for the education requirements of the Affordable Homeownership Program.

 

Habitat for Humanity Chicago Homes

Habitat Chicago builds new, energy efficient, single-family homes. The size and style of the homes vary depending on the neighborhood and street location. Built with quality materials and sold with an affordable mortgage, these homes will serve you for years to come. You can learn more about our current homes for sale.

We are currently building homes in two Chicago neighborhoods: West Pullman and Greater Grand Crossing. We plan to continue building in these neighborhoods for the foreseeable future and if you apply to the program, you must be willing to live in one of these neighborhoods.

Habitat Chicago is currently only building in West Pullman and Greater Grand Crossing, with limited housing stock in each of these neighborhoods. When applying to the program, you identify the property you are most interested in purchasing. We then review your application and any property restrictions in order to accommodate your desired home purchase or an alternate, with your consent.

Habitat Chicago does not build custom homes and we are not able to take any special requests regarding the structural design of the homes. However, homebuyers are able to select certain finishing features such as cabinets, countertops, and flooring.

 

Next Steps

Ready to learn more? Here are some next steps you can take:

  1. Read through our program webpages starting with 1. Why Buy With Us

  2. Subscribe to receive email updates and reminders about the Affordable Homeownership Program

  3. Register for and attend an information session where you can hear directly from our team and ask any questions you may have

 

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