homeowner FAQ's

What are the requirements for applying to a home?

Habitat families must demonstrate a need for housing, the ability to pay, and a willingness to partner.

What is meant by the criteria that a family must be 'willing to partner'?

By willing to partner, we mean that a family is willing to do the 250+ hours of sweat equity required working on your home and other Habitat homes, attending workshops, and other community service opportunities. You’ll be counted on to be a good neighbor, maintain your home, and pay your mortgage on time.

How long does it take for a family to earn the 250+ hours of sweat equity?

It takes approximately 6 months to one year to complete the sweat equity hours. 250 hours of sweat equity are required for a one adult household while 500 hours are required for a two-adult household.

What communities does the Kenosha Habitat for Humanity build in?

Our service area is Kenosha county.

Why do you need all of my personal documents, i.e. bank statements and paycheck stubs?

HFHK is qualifying applicants for a mortgage.  We must verify your income, credit and assets. During the application process you may be asked several times to provide updated documents.

What if I filed for Chapter 7, 13 or any form of Bankruptcy?

Any applicant that has filed any form of Bankruptcy must wait two years after the discharge date to apply for the HFHK Homeownership program. Please verify the date listed on your Bankruptcy discharge letter.

What if I have debt? 

Applicants’ credit history does not need to be perfect. Many applicants have some debt. Is it important for applicants to know how much is owed and for the total amount of debt to be manageable.

  • All collection debt must have proof of active payment plans or be paid in full

  • Judgments for money must be satisfied. [Go to CCAP – Wisconsin Circuit Court Access at: wcca.wicourts.gov]

  • Bankruptcy or foreclosure must have been satisfied for at least two years. It is recommended that applicants obtain a free copy of their credit report to ensure all credit is reported accurately [Go to www.annualcreditreport.com]

What is debt-to-income ratio?

HFHK uses debt-to-income ratios to calculate whether or not the potential applicant is in a financial position that would allow them to afford a mortgage payment.  HFHK guidelines require that applicants qualify according to set ratios. HFHK is a front end ratio of 30% and back end ratio of 40%. HFHK requires that an applicant’s front-end housing ratio isn’t greater than 30% of their gross monthly income and Debt-to-income ratio isn’t greater than 40%.

Is there an income limit for families who want to apply for a Habitat Home?

Your household income must be under 80% of Kenosha County’s median income for your family size. To view the income guidelines, click HERE.

What is considered a steady source of income?

We consider all sources of steady income including: alimony, child support (if you have at least three additional years to receive it, and it is consistent), pension, retirement, SSDI, SSI, Survivor’s benefits, and wages. Unemployment, financial aid, TANF, food stamps and W-2 are not considered income for qualification purposes. Steady income is a minimum of 3 months to be considered.

What happens if a family who lives in a Habitat house eventually earns more money than originally qualified them for the house?

That’s the goal. Once a family buys a home through Habitat for Humanity, it is their home as long as they continue to pay the mortgage. If they make more money and improve their lives, that’s a great success for them and us.

I am currently unemployed, can Habitat help me?

One of the three criteria of our program is "Ability to Pay". This criteria requires that applicants have a steady income at the time of the application that will allow them to afford a Habitat mortgage. See above question for what qualifies as steady income. Proof of all income sources will be required, with at least 3 months of paycheck stubs.

I am currently homeless, can Habitat help me?

Habitat for Humanity is not an emergency housing program and our program is not set up to provide immediate housing needs.  Our program is set up to help individuals become homeowners, but it takes time. We recommend individuals looking for immediate housing needs reach out to a local shelter.

What happens if I submit an application and it is incomplete?

Any applications submitted with incomplete information may be denied. This includes all questions and signature lines. When an application is incomplete regarding information that the applicant can provide and the creditor lacks sufficient data for a credit decision, the creditor may deny the application giving as the reason for denial that the application is incomplete.