Habitat FAQ

What is Habitat for Humanity?

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry. HFHI seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world, and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat invites people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build houses together in partnership with families in need.      

How does Habitat for Humanity work?

Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families. Habitat houses are sold to partner families at no profit and financed with affordable, no-interest loans. The homeowners’ monthly mortgage payments are used to build still more Habitat houses. Habitat is not a giveaway program. In addition to the monthly mortgage payments, homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor — sweat equity — into building their Habitat house and the houses of others. Qualifying families purchase their home at cost. They must take an interest-free mortgage which they pay back over 15-30 years.      

How does Habitat for Humanity find/buy houses and property?

Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County seeks to find the most affordable and appropraite opportunities to purchase or obtain new properties. This includes seeking reducted cost property or homes in need of repair using money raised through donations or mortgage payments of current Habitat partner families. Obviously, in our area, land is quite expensive, so it is a daunting task to find land that will allow us to keep homeowner payments affordable.

At times, Habitat will partner with local government agencies to obtain city or county owned property at a discounted price to Habitat for affordable housing. In addition, sometimes houses in need of repair and renovation will be donated. Our affiliate is working on creating relationships with the cities and banks in our service area to set up agreements and donations such as these. 

How much do you sell the houses for?

The cost of building a home averages between $60,000 and $175,000. Habitat homes are affordable for low-income families because there is no profit included in the sale price and no interest charged on the mortgage.

Can a Habitat homeowner sell his/her home?

Yes, a homeowner can sell the home. Habitat homeowners own their home like anyone else. There is a second mortgage, however, on the home that amortizes over time and prevents homeowners from flipping their homes.

How do I qualify for a Habitat home?

You must meet four basic criteria. You must (1) have a need for a Habitat home, (2) have the ability to pay the mortgage, (3) have a willingness to partner with our organization, and (4) have lived and worked in Snohomish County for at least one year prior to applying. For more information on the application process, visit the Apply for a Home page.

If I am single with no children or spouse, can I qualify for a home?

Yes, you can qualify for a home if you are single with no children or spouse. You must meet the same criteria required of all other applicants. For more information, go to the Apply for a Home page.

Can I apply for a Habitat home if I have had a bankruptcy? Bad credit?

You can still apply for a Habitat home if you have had a bankruptcy or if you have bad credit. We take many factors into consideration when evaluating applicants. Our criteria is not solely based on income and credit history.

Can I apply for a home if I am not a US citizen?

You do not have to be an American citizen to qualify for a Habitat home, but you must be a legal, permanent resident of the United States. You must provide documentation at the application meeting showing your legal residency.

How can I volunteer?

If you are interested in volunteering, we list our current volunteer needs on the Volunteer page.

Do volunteers need to have special skills to work at a construction site?

Nope! People of all skill levels are welcome to help on site. Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County site supervisors provide safety and job training on the day of a build. Site supervisors work to find the most appropriate tasks for volunteers to do based on the volunteer’s skills and comfort level.

What days are volunteers needed? Can I work on the weekends?

Currently, Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County construction and building occurs predominantly on Saturdays; however, we typically work one day regularly during the week. There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities that do not involve being on the build site. Check out our current volunteer opportunities.

Do volunteers need to bring their own tools? How about lunch?

Tools are provided by Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County; however, if volunteers are more comfortable using their own tools, we recommend that volunteers make sure the tools are labeled. This will ensure the tools do not get lost or damaged. Habitat is not responsible for any misplaced or damaged tools.

Lunch is sometimes provided for volunteers by volunteers, but in general, volunteers should plan to pack a lunch and plenty of water for the day. In addition, our worksites are construction areas, so volunteers should wear appropriate clothing (no open toed shoes, etc.). As well, you should plan to bring sunscreen and bug spray when appropriate.

Can youth help build?

Youth who are 16 years of age and older may help build on a construction site; however, there are a number of other ways that younger people can help. Youth can design and make site signs, window boxes, birdhouses, and other design elements that make a house a home. They can also help run a fundraising event or do public speaking at their church or school. Call our office at 425-405-7765 for more information about our youth volunteer policy.     

Can I donate used items or appliances from my home for a Habitat house?

We do not use used items in our homes nor do we furnish them. We do, however, have a Habitat Store that accepts donations of household items, furniture, and appliances and sells them with all proceeds benefiting our affiliate. They will pick up items from your home. For more information on the Habitat Store, click here.

Do you foreclose on homes?

We do foreclose on homes if the homeowner stops making mortgage payments or violates the terms and conditions set forth in the purchase of the home (such as renting the home).

What is a house sponsorship?

A house sponsorship is a donation to a specific Habitat home. With that donation, you get the opportunity to volunteer on the home, and you will be recognized as a house sponsor on signage at the build site as well as on our website and in our annual report. For more information on house sponsorship, visit our Corporate Partnerships page.

Where are you building?

The locations of our builds change within our service area, depending on our most recent property acquisition. Our Affiliate works in Snohomish County. Our most recent homes are in Everett and Marysville. 

How can I get in touch with someone to do a presentation?

If you would like someone to make a presentation to your group, please contact directly or submit an inquiry on our Contact Us page.

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