Home » Become a Homeowner

Become a Homeowner

No matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to have a decent life.  We deserve to feel strength and stability day after day.  We deserve to know we have the power to take care of ourselves and build our own futures.

At Habitat for Humanity Buffalo, this is what unites us.  Through shelter, we empower. Our shared vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

Because you, me, we – we’re all humans.  And every single one of us deserves the opportunity for a better future.

Advantages of becoming a Habitat/Buffalo homeowner

  • Habitat houses are well-built
    • We’ve done 250 houses to date so we know how to do it!
  • Houses are sold at cost
    • Habitat does not make any profit
  • Habitat houses cost less than commercially built or renovated houses
    • Many materials are donated and labor is volunteered
  • Habitat holds the mortgage
  • Habitat charges NO interest on the mortgage
  • Monthly mortgage payments are between 15% and 20% of a family’s gross annual income
    • Payments include property taxes and homeowners’ insurance

How does a family qualify?

The family must be able to manage house and utility payments and still have enough money left over to live on.

  • The family’s annual income must be
    • at least $20,000 for a renovated house
    • at least $33,600 for a newly built house
    • Income should not exceed the following guidelines, but individual circumstances may be taken into account:

Family size        Max Annual Income
2                                 $31,740
3                                 $35,700
4                                 $39,660
5                                 $42,840
6                                 $46,020
7                                 $49,200
8                                 $52,380

    • If a family’s income is too large and the family could get a conventional mortgage from a bank, the Habitat program is not appropriate for that family.
  • The family must be willing to live in the City of Buffalo  (taxes are too high in the suburbs)
  • The family may be receiving food stamps, Medicaid, SSI, SSD, and certain other social benefits.
  • Any legal judgments against the family must be cleared up before homeownership.
  • The family must be able to manage any debt that it has.
  • If the applicant(s) has gone through bankruptcy, at least two years must have elapsed since the discharge of the bankruptcy.
  • After being selected, the family must be willing to earn 500 hours of  “sweat equity” as a partner with Habitat.

What exactly is “sweat equity”?

  • “Sweat equity” means labor put in at construction sites where family members age 16 or older work together with volunteers to build or renovate houses.
  • Habitat teaches all the necessary skills.
  • Friends and relatives can put in as many as 200 of the 500 hours required.
  • Hours  can also be earned by attending Habitat workshops, working at the Habitat ReStore, and by an educational achievement.