Are Habitat for Humanity homes FREE?
No. All Habitat for Humanity homeowners pay a small down payment when they have completed the program, and all Habitat for Humanity homeowners will pay a monthly mortgage loan payment until the home is paid in full, usually after 20 to 30 years. One of the benefits of having a Habitat for Humanity home mortgage in Bay County, Florida, is that our mortgage loans are 0% interest. Paying no interest on a home mortgage saves our homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of their loan compared to getting a mortgage elsewhere.
Why aren't the homes free? I thought Habitat homes were built with donated money, materials, and volunteer labor.
Some land is donated, some land Habitat for Humanity must buy. A few materials are donated to every home build; the rest Habitat for Humanity must buy. Some labor is volunteered; but some things only licensed & insured professional contractors such as electricians, plumbers, heating & cooling installers, and roofers must do. Cash donations and grants help pay for some of the costs, and selling the donations of gently used items at our ReStore helps pay for the rest. Habitat for Humanity could not exist without the generosity of our donors & volunteers. Our homeowners also play an important part in building more homes: as each new homeowner pays back the cost of building their home, they provide more money to Habitat for Humanity so that we can build more homes.
Are Habitat for Humanity homes available for rent?
No. Habitat for Humanity of Bay County, Florida, does not rent homes.
Does Habitat for Humanity provide emergency housing/shelter?
No. We recommend you contact your local Red Cross or United Way for emergency housing.
Does Habitat for Humanity do FREE home repairs?
No. We recommend you contact your local Red Cross or United Way for assistance finding other local organizations that do home repairs for free.
When and where are the Home Ownership Information Sessions held?
We will announce on both our website and our Facebook page when we will be holding the next Home Ownership Information Sessions. They are held at the A.D. Harris Learning Village located at 819 East 11th Street, Panama City, FL 32401.
If I tell you how much money I make, can you tell me if I qualify for a Habitat house?
No. Your income is only part of the qualification process. First, we can NOT take any income information by telephone. You should only provide your income information when you submit a written application during our open enrollment periods. Second, Our Family Selection Committee reviews your entire completed application and performs a home visit to see your current living conditions in order to decide if you will qualify for our Home Ownership Program. We do have our Income Guidelines on our website which you can review under Application Process/Basic Requirements. The minimum and maximum income shown is based on the number of people who will live in your home.
If I tell you how much money I make, can you tell me how much my house payment with Habitat would be?
No. First, we can NOT take any income information by telephone. You should only provide your income information when you submit a written application during our open enrollment periods. Second, when you become a homeowner, part of your monthly payment is based on how much your homeowners’ insurance premium will be, and how much your property taxes will be. We do not know how much either of those things will cost until the home is built and the completed home is appraised. Finally, while your income is part of how much your payment will be, we also look at your debts and other financial matters as well as your household size when reviewing your application to see how much you can afford. We want each of our homeowners to be successful when repaying the mortgage on their home.
I know nothing about building a home. How am I going to be able to help on a job site?
At each job site we have a Construction Manager and/or a Site Supervisor who will instruct you in what needs to be done. Every job is important, even the clean up. You will learn important skills for the upkeep of your home as well.
Who can help with my sweat equity hours?
Each Partner Family must contribute a total of 500 “Sweat Equity” hours prior to the sale of the home to the family. The first 100 hours must be completed by the Partner Family themselves before construction will begin, and the Partner Family must also contribute 100 hours themselves toward the construction of their house. If the Partner Family includes 2 adults, a total of 300 hours out of the 500 hours must be completed by the Partner Family themselves, and the remaining 200 hours may be contributed by extended family & friends. When there is only 1 adult in the Partner Family, a total of 200 hours out of the 500 hours must be completed by the Partner Family themselves, so 300 hours may be contributed by extended family & friends. Children in the Partner Family must be at least 16 years old to contribute sweat equity hours on the construction site or at Habitat’s ReStore, and at least 1 adult from the Partner Family must also be present as supervision. However, younger Partner Family children are also able to contribute sweat equity hours other ways such as earning good grades in school.
Will I immediately be able to move into my house when my hours and classes are complete?
Home availability depends on the building schedule. You may have to wait for your home to be built. First your home is completed, an appraisal is performed, and a Certificate of Occupancy must be issued by the local building inspector’s office, and you can get a homeowners’ insurance quote. Then we can begin the paperwork for closing on the sale of your home to you. This paperwork will take about 1 month to complete. Usually our homeowners are able to move into their homes on the day of (or shortly after) their closing paperwork is signed. The keys to the home are also given to the homeowner(s) at closing.
Are pets allowed?
Homeowners are allowed to have dogs, although certain breeds of dogs, (Pit Bull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, etc.); also, wild animals, farm animals, and dangerous reptiles that are considered hazardous are not allowed. Many Insurance companies will not insure your property if you have any of the pets listed. Check with your homeowners insurance company before bringing pets into your home and on your property.
If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact us via our online form.