Qualifications for Homeownership
Qualified Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity Applicants:
- Have a gross annual household income that falls between minimum and maximum guidelines listed for each individual project, based on the number of people in your family. Include everyone who would be living in your Habitat home and all sources of income (employment, alimony, child support, unemployment, pension, disability, social security, or any other source).
- Are able to pay closing costs (between $3500 and $4000) and regular payments on an affordable Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity mortgage.
- Live or work in Somerset, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Mercer, Morris, Union, or Warren, Bucks Counties and they must have been residents or employed in those counties for at least 12 months.
- Have a debt-to-income ratio of less than 43%.
- Are U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
- Are out of bankruptcy for at least two years and out of foreclosure proceedings for at least two years.
- Are willing to partner with Raritan Valley Habitat for Humanity. Among other things, partnering means future homeowners act as ambassadors for Habitat and contribute “sweat equity” as part of qualifying for a home. Households with two adult homeowners contribute 500 hours and households with only one adult homeowner contribute 250 hours. Sweat equity includes work on the house build sites, workshops, and more.
Applicant selection Process
All potential applicants must attend a Homeowner Orientation Meeting. These meetings are held at the beginning of each building project selection period, and include information about RV Habitat, the particular project, and the application process and deadlines.
- The applicants must submit the application with all required documentation by the specified due date.
- The Homeowner Services Committee reviews the application and all financial information. If RV Habitat determines that income and debt-to-income ratio meet low-income housing and RV Habitat underwriting requirements, RV Habitat will send a request for additional documentation. *It’s a good idea to order a free credit report now (www.annualcreditreport.com) to address any issues you may have in advance.
If an applicant qualifies financially, then a meeting is conducted. The need for housing and the applicant’s willingness to partner are discussed at this visit.
- For all applicants who meet the criteria, as determined by the Homeowner Services Committee, a criminal background, sex offender check, and OFAC check are conducted on all household members aged 16 and older.
- Approved applicants are then presented to the Board of Directors. If approved by the Board, they are entered into a lottery for the available house(s).
NOTICE: Due to the nature of Habitat’s program requirements, we cannot help families in emergency situations.
For immediate housing assistance, call 2-1-1 or visit http://www.nj211.org to connect to services through the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership.
In Somerset, you can also contact: SHIP (Samaritan Homeless Interim Program) 908-393-9545.
In Hunterdon, you can contact Hunterdon Helpline, at 908-782-4357 or 1-800-272-4630; or Family Promise at 908-782-2490.
Non-Discrimination Statement: We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. Policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are not barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.