Five Steps to Home Ownership
APPLY DURING AN ANNUAL OPEN APPLICATION PERIOD
As homes become available, Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity will hold open application periods. A notice is posted on our website 30 days prior to any opening. Applicants will complete a pre-qualification and credit check authorization form.
*See below for a more detailed process description
We partner with low income families in the pursuit of affordable home ownership. What does that partnership look like? Thanks to our generous supporters we are able to sell homes at no profit and at a lower cost. Our partner families earn their home through sweat equity and paying back an interest free mortgage.
Home owners are given two mortgages based on the purchase price. Home owners are responsible for paying back the first mortgage. The second mortgage is forgivable over 20 years or 5% a year. Partner families do not have to pay on the second mortgage unless they sell their home. Mortgages with insurance and property tax are currently averaging $500-$600.
To be considered for a habitat home you must meet our minimum income, credit, and criminal history requirements. Income requirements are currently set at 30-60% of Boone Counties median household income. Your credit score cannot be below 600.
**Income limits can change yearly
Open Application Period
When Is it?
Open application periods are held periodically throughout the year. The frequency is based on home availability and may not be predictable. A notice will be placed on our website 30 days in advance of any open application period. Open application periods typically last one week.
You may also join our email subscription list and get a notification 30 days in advance of any open application period. You must rejoin the email subscription list after every open application period.
How do I apply?
Applicants must apply in person at 1305 Business Loop 70 East, Columbia, MO. You will be asked to complete a pre-application and a credit & background check authorization form. Applicants are required to pay a $25 processing fee.
Some of the information you will need to complete the pre-application:
A list of all income for those living in the home over 18; include wages, food stamps, disability payments, etc.
How many people will live in the home
A good estimate of total outstanding debt
Can I have the $25 dollar fee waived?
The $25 dollar fee is charged to cover the cost of running a credit check. We will waive the fee if you bring in a credit score report from a reputable source. You must bring in a report for yourself, spouse, and anyone who will be listed on the home title. The report cannot be more than 30 days old.
All pre-applications are reviewed to ensure they meet minimum requirements. Applicants that meet minimum requirements will be placed in a lottery. Essentially names are drawn to see who will get first consideration for a home. The amount of names we draw depends on how many homes are available. If your name is drawn, you will be ask to complete a full mortgage application.
If your credit or payment histories do not meet minimum requirements, you will receive a letter within 30 days of your initial application.
What if my name isn't drawn?
Don't lose hope if your name isn't drawn. A spot may become open if a mortgage application is denied. In the case of a mortgage application denial, we will draw another name. Once all the homes assigned for the application cycle are gone the process starts over. You will need to apply again during the next open application period.
Home owners receive a 20 year interest free mortgage from Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity. We are your builder and your bank. Like any bank, we want to make sure you have the ability to repay the loan and make payments on time. The mortgage application is an in-depth look at your current income, debts, and payment history. Applicants are given two weeks to complete the mortgage application. No documentation will be returned. Do keep your copies or originals.
Selection Committee Review
The Show-Me Central Habitat for Humanity Selection Committee will review your application for overall credit worthiness. If the credit, criminal, and payment histories are satisfactory, an in-home interview will be scheduled with the family.
The U.S Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in the sale of housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. The covenant that all local affiliates sign with Habitat for Humanity International also specifies that HFH homeowner families are selected "according to criteria that do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, or ethnic background"
If you are approved for a home, you will be ask to sign an acceptance letter that outlines your responsibilities. The offer may be rescinded if you fail to meet your obligations as outlined in the acceptance letter.
Once you have signed the acceptance letter your home is literally in your hands. All home recipients are required to put in 250-300 hours of sweat equity before they can close on their home. This means you will be working with volunteers to build more homes. You may get the opportunity to work on your home or help on another habitat house. A minimum of 50 hours must be completed by members of the household. You can have family members or friends help you with the remaining hours.
Your sweat equity has to be completed before a closing date can be set for the purchase of your home. Accommodations may be made for people with disabilities.
Closing on Your Home
The purchase price is set by an independent appraiser. Your first and second mortgages will be based on this appraised value. The first mortgage is determined my Habitat's average building cost and the second mortgage is the remainder.
Columbia Down Payment Assistance
Homeowners who qualify are required to apply for the down payment assistance grant from the City of Columbia. The grant is for a $7,500 down payment. Grant recipients are required to pay $500 to receive the grant. The $500 will be deducted from your first months house payment.
Closing on your home is the final step to ownership. To close you will need to pay the first year of homeowners insurance and the deed recording fee. Habitat will pay the title insurance and any service fees charged by the title company. After the paperwork is signed you will want to have utilities put in your name.
After you have had the utilities put in your name you are ready to move in. We hope all of our partner families stay in touch and continue to help us make a positive impact in the community.
Why do you check my credit?
We work hard to make homes affordable for low income families. The credit check is not about your income. A credit check tells us if you have a history of paying debts when you promise you will. It is currently the best method to predict if someone will default on a loan. Your credit score, late payments, unpaid balances, liens, judgements, multiple collection accounts, vehicle repossession, recent bankruptcy, unpaid child support, and unpaid student loans are all examples of items that may prevent you from being considered.
When looking at criminal, history we consider first if it will affect your ability to repay your mortgage and second if it could affect Habitat's reputation negatively. Examples of offenses that may exclude you from participating are drug distribution convictions and/or a sexual offense convictions against a minor.
Will I get to pick my home?
If multiple home options are available we work with families to the extent possible to get them in their preferred choice.