Habitat Homeownership

Habitat McHenry County strives to make homeownership affordable for more families. We provide a hand up, not a hand-out. Meaning we’re in active partnership with homebuyers in our program to build and purchase an affordable home.

A First Time Homebuyer to Habitat = Applicant(s) have not owned, together or separately, any real estate within the last three years.

First Time Homebuyer Program

Habitat for Humanity is a home ownership program empowering families to build a new life for themselves through the stability and security of owning their own home. Habitat homes are not given away but are sold to families who qualify and are willing to make a down payment, put in sweat equity labor, and can make a monthly mortgage payment. Habitat homes are affordable because Habitat does not make a profit on construction, the families pay an affordable mortgage and the homes are built with volunteers. 

We consider a “house built to code” as the lowest quality level of housing.  Although volunteers are engaged to help us build a Habitat home, we exceed housing codes and all homes are inspected and appraised at market value.

Our Homeownership Program is closed to applications at this time.

Please read about our program qualifications and complete the Eligibility Screening to learn more.

Completing our Eligibility Screening is the first step to determining if partnership with Habitat for Humanity to purchase an affordable home is a good fit. 

***This is not an application to our Homeownership Program*** 

 Our Homeownership Program Application Cycle will open as capacity allows. Those who have completed our screening will be notified directly of the open application cycle.

Becoming a Habitat Homeowner

Required Qualifications for Homeownership Applicants

Habitat’s acceptance guidelines are based on consideration of the following criteria:

1. Need for Housing

The applicant(s) must demonstrate that their current housing situation has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Unsafe or very poor conditions or located in a particularly unsafe area
  • Rent, or contribution currently paid towards rent, exceeds 30% of income
  • Size is inadequate for the present or anticipated residents
  • Other factors demonstrating a need for the type of housing Habitat can provide, that goes beyond a personal desire to own a home.

Eligible applicants are not disqualified because they may qualify for another subsidy program, governmental or charitable, or tax deferral.

2. Demonstrated Ability to Pay

  • Gross household income must be between 30% – 80% of the median income for the McHenry County area at the time of application. (see chart below.)
  • A minimum of one (1) year history of stable income and employment with no gaps.
  • An acceptable credit history, which includes a good record of paying rent and utilities.
  • Bankruptcies must have been discharged for four years.
  • Ability to afford anticipated mortgage payments. Monthly payments for debt cannot exceed 43% of gross monthly income.
  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens.

2022 Income Guidelines (Source: HUD)

Family SizeMinimum Gross IncomeMaximum Gross Income

3. Willingness to Partner with Habitat

  • Applicant and all adults living in the home must be willing to contribute a minimum of 250 hours of sweat equity towards the building of Habitat homes, of which 100 hours must be completed on construction home builds. Sweat equity hours are volunteer hours at our ReStores or on home build sites.  
  • An additional 100 hours will be added to the family requirement for every person aged 16-18 living in the home.
  • Applicant must be willing to live in the communities in our build plans. 
  • Applicant must be willing to continue to partner with Habitat for Humanity after their home is finished through on time mortgage payments, volunteerism, and home upkeep.
  • Applicant must be willing to attend required workshops for successful homeownership.
  • Applicant will have to pay a $25.00 Application Fee. This fee is non-refundable and covers the costs associated with processing the application.
Disclaimer: Habitat for Humanity of McHenry County is committed to affirmatively furthering Fair Housing. We do business in accordance with Federal and State fair housing laws. We are pledged to the letter and spirit of the 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 no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, handicap, familial status, or national origin.