Frequently Asked Questions
Are Chatham Habitat homes free?
No! Homeowners purchase their homes from Chatham Habitat with a 0% interest 20-30 year mortgage. The homes are purchased at their appraised values.
How much does a Chatham Habitat home cost?
Habitat houses are sold at appraised value, which varies depending on its location in the county due to the differences in the markets and comparable sales.
How much is a mortgage payment on a Habitat house?
The monthly mortgage payment is adjusted based on the family’s income and the appraised value of the home. We always ensure that the mortgage payment is less than 30% of the family’s monthly gross income to maintain affordability.
Do I get to choose where my Habitat house will be?
Once a family completes the application process and is selected by the Board of Directors as a partner family, they will be given two home site options from the homes and lots that we have available at that time. Based on what we have in our housing stock, we do our best to offer every family a home site that is in line with their preferences.
Is there a down payment?
No. However, all partner families are required to complete a minimum of 350 hours of “sweat equity.” Families earn these hours by helping to build their own home and the homes of their neighbors and by attending homebuyer education classes. No construction experience is necessary to participate in the construction; our expert staff will guide families and volunteers through the building process. Families will be required to save about $1,300 during the building process to pay for the closing costs, which include the first year of homeowners insurance, attorney’s fees and the cost of recording the closing documents.
Do I have to do all 350 of my sweat equity hours alone?
No. Each head of household is required to contribute 140 hours and may receive help from friends, neighbors, and extended family to complete the remaining hours.
How long does the application process take?
The application process generally takes 2-5 months, depending on how quickly the applicant is able to submit their supporting documentation.
Are Chatham Habitat houses well built?
Yes! Chatham Habitat holds high standards in construction. Thanks to a partnership with TightLines Designs in Raleigh and dedicated staff and volunteers, Chatham Habitat homes are attractive, highly efficient, and well-built. Visit our Green Building page for more information about the energy-efficient features of Chatham Habitat homes.
Do I have to be employed to qualify?
No. In order to qualify for a home, a family must fall between 25% and 60% of median income for our area and have at least 2 years of verifiable qualifying income. For example, a family of four in 2020 would have to demonstrate that they have had a total household income between $21,200 and $51,880 for the past two years. All stable sources of income will be considered, including social security, disability, child support, etc.
If I am denied, can I reapply?
Yes. Our staff is happy to talk with applicants about why their applications have been denied, and families are eligible to re-apply after six months.
Do I have to be married or have children to qualify?
No. Chatham Habitat follows all Fair Housing and Fair Credit laws, which prohibit discrimination based on familial status. “Families” can be single people, married or unmarried couples, single parents, multi-generational, and everything in between.
What size homes does Chatham Habitat build?
The size of each home is determined by the size and makeup of the family. The homes are generally two, three, or four bedrooms and between 1000 and 1300 square feet.
I own a piece of land. Will Chatham Habitat build a home on my land?
In some cases, we are able to build on land that a family already owns. Regardless of whether or not a family has land they would like us to build on, they must go through the application process first. If accepted, we will look at the family’s land and see if it is possible for us to build on it.
Can I use my Section 8 voucher?
In some cases, it is possible to transfer a Housing Authority Rental Voucher to a Housing Authority Homeownership Voucher. If a family applies to our program and is accepted, we will work directly with the Housing Authority to determine if it is possible.
I already own a home that needs repairs. Can Chatham Habitat help?
At this time, we do not have an active repair program, but we can refer you to other organizations in the area. Rebuilding Together of the Triangle provides home repair and renovation services to low-income homeowners, and the Chatham County Council on Aging provides minor home repairs for older residents.
Where does Chatham Habitat build homes?
Chatham Habitat builds homes primarily in Pittsboro and Siler City. We have also built homes in Moncure, Bear Creek, and Silk Hope.
Will I qualify if I have owned a home before?
Yes, but only if it has been at least three years since you last owned a home. If you own or have owned a mobile home that is not on a permanent foundation, there is no three year waiting period, you can apply now.
Do I have to have perfect credit to qualify?
No. Chatham Habitat will look at the whole picture and really try to understand your situation. We do want to see some consistency in your payment history and we will also look at “alternative credit” such as rental history, and electric and water bills. Families with current or recent bankruptcies, foreclosures or judgments will need to wait a minimum of 2 years after discharge before applying and at that time we will consider the applications on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific circumstances that led to the situation.
What happens if I can’t make my mortgage payment?
Because the mortgage payments are used to continue building more homes, families are expected to make timely monthly mortgage payments. Chatham Habitat strives to help our homeowners succeed by offering several support mechanisms to families who are struggling. We offer individual budget coaching, financial health and mortgage management classes and we have a mortgage committee that works with families who are trying to get back on track.
What happens if I want to sell my house or if I have to move?
If a homeowner decides to sell their home, they will put it on the market in the same way that a traditional homeowner would. When the family receives an offer to purchase that they are willing to accept, they must notify Habitat in writing and give Habitat 30 days to decide to purchase the home at that price. If Habitat decides not to buy the house, it may be sold on the mainstream market. Our goal is to buy back the Habitat homes that families choose to sell so that we can maintain a stock of affordable housing in the county.
Will I ever really own my house? What if something happens to me; will my children inherit my home?
Yes. A Chatham Habitat mortgage works almost exactly like a traditional bank mortgage. Your family will be able to inherit the home as long as you take the necessary steps to plan for the future, as all homeowners should.