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Homebuying Program

Individuals and families who are interested in applying for the Habitat homebuying program must meet a number of requirements, which fall into three categories - NEED, PARTNER and PAY.

Demonstrate NEED

Families applying to the Habitat homebuying program must currently have a need for decent, affordable housing.

  • Substandard Conditions
    (structural problems, mold, pests, etc)
  • Overcrowding
    (too many people in one bedroom, using non-bedrooms as bedrooms)
  • Homelessness
    (living with friends, relatives, coworkers, etc)
  • Cost-Burden
    (spending more than 30% of income on rent)

Be willing to PARTNER

  • Perform 350 hours of “sweat equity” by working on their house and other Habitat houses, at the Habitat ReStore and at other area nonprofits. Children can even earn sweat equity hours to help their parents by getting good grades on their report card! Only 30 percent of hours can be “donated” by family and friends.
  • Contribute at least $1,000 toward closing costs (can be paid in increments)
  • Build a $1,000 emergency fund
  • Complete the 12-week Habitat Homebuyer Education Course
  • Maintain or decrease your “debt-to-income” ratio while in the Habitat program
Check out the virtual tour of what a completed Habitat home looks like!

Be Willing and Able to PAY

Families must have stable, verifiable income sufficient to support a monthly mortgage payment and other expenses and must meet the income guidelines listed below. Habitat serves families earning less than 80% of area median income for Shelby County. Having income within these guidelines does not guarantee eligibility.

Family Size Gross Yearly Income 
 1 $18,000 - $38,050
 2 $19,800 - $43,450
 3 $21,600 - $48,900
 4 $23,400 - $54,300
 5 $24,850 - $58,650
 6 $26,300 - $63,000
 7 $27,750 - $67,350
 8 $29,200 - $71,700

Other Qualifications

  • Be a first-time homebuyer, meaning they have never owned a home or haven't owned a home in the past three years
  • Have not had a home in foreclosure in the past four years
  • Be unable to qualify for a conventional loan due to income level
  • Be able to prove ability to afford the monthly payment and household expenses
  • Have fair or passable credit and no judgments or liens
  • Have not declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the past 12 months or Chapter 7 in the past two years
  • Must have re-established credit from any previously declared bankruptcies

Online Homebuyer Orientation Sessions

ALL applicants must attend or view a homebuyer program orientation session BEFORE beginning the application process. Due to the current health crisis, we are hosting our orientation sessions online. Please watch the video below to learn how the Habitat homebuying process works, then press the button beneath the screen to take the orientation quiz. A member of our Family Services team will contact you after you complete the quiz.

Homebuyer Orientation Quiz

Can't access the video above? Click here for a PDF of the presentation.


Contact our homeowner information hotline at 901.322.3512 for more information on upcoming orientations.