FAQS

Where does Habitat Chesapeake build?

Habitat Chesapeake’s (HFHC) service area is Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, and Howard County. The neighborhoods we are currently building in are Woodbourne-McCabe, Sandtown-Winchester, Pigtown/ Washington Village, Brooklyn and Mt. Winans. Habitat provides safe, decent and affordable housing options.

Is a Habitat home free? Does Habitat give away homes?

No, Habitat homes are not free. All Habitat homeowners are required to make monthly mortgage payments including principal and escrow for homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and HOA fees, if applicable. The price of a home through HFHC does not exceed the Fair Market Value as determined by an appraisal on the property, and payments shall not exceed 30% of the gross household income.

What does “Ability to Pay” mean?

Ability to pay is a criteria of becoming a homeowner with HFHC. It means that as an applicant, you have a stable income that falls within 30-80% of the Area Median Income as determined by HUD. Ability to pay also takes into account your credit history and payment history on your regular monthly bills.

What kind of income is needed to buy a Habitat home?

Stable income is needed to purchase a Habitat home. We require that all applicants have had at least one year of stable employment or receipt of long-term benefits (for example, SSI/ SSDI) leading up to beginning the program. If receiving child support, we will require documentation of receipt of payments. Temporary cash assistance, unemployment, etc. will not be used as a means to calculate your stable income, nor will be factored in your ability to repay a loan, as these are temporary income sources.

Do I have to have good credit to buy a Habitat home?

HFHC reviews the credit report of all interested applicants. HFHC requires a minimum credit score of 600, and will consider positive payment histories of non-traditional credit (such as phone bills, utilities, car insurance, etc.) in the absence of traditional credit use. To qualify, an applicant cannot have any outstanding judgments or liens, and any bankruptcies would need to be discharged for two years or more.

How should I calculate the number of people in my household?

Total number of household members generally consists of the applicant plus their dependents. Dependents should generally be reflected appropriately on an applicant’s tax returns for verification. If assistance is needed in determining this number, please contact 410-366-1250 ext. 149.

How long, on average, does it take to complete the Habitat program?

The time that it takes to complete the program at HFHC varies depending on the housing need, inventory of housing available, completion of program requirements, among other factors, however on average, the program takes approximately 12 months to complete.

How do I get started? What is the first step towards homeownership with HFHC?

The first step towards homeownership is attending an orientation and/or filling out a questionnaire. The questionnaire can be received in paper-form at an orientation, or can be completed online at http://habitatchesapeake.org/own-a-home/application-process. This will allow the Family Services team to review your income, credit, and housing need to determine if this program is an appropriate fit. Once a questionnaire is reviewed, you will receive written correspondence from Family Services within 2-4 weeks letting you know the next steps of your process.

What is “sweat equity” and when can I start?

Sweat equity is commonly used to refer to the volunteer hours that Habitat partner families invest in their future homes and communities as a part of the Habitat program. It is a foundational part of the Habitat model and provides an important opportunity for program applicants to work alongside other families and volunteers who all assist in building homes and communities.

What out-of-pocket costs do I need to participate in this program?

HFHC requires a $2,500.00 earnest deposit from every partner family. In addition to the earnest deposit, when it becomes time to purchase the home, purchase of the first year of homeowner’s insurance is also required.

Can I choose where to live?

HFHC will disclose the areas in which it is building to all applicants up front. Based upon an applicant’s financial situation, the inventory of houses, and the housing need of the families in the program, housing choice and availability will be different for each applicant.

Have additional questions? Send your questions about the homeownership program to us!


For additional information, review the common myths and truths about Habitat Chesapeake.

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