Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the timelines for response and home construction.
Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity is now accepting applications for first-time homebuyers interested in building their own home.
The affordable homeownership program makes access to homeownership possible for low- to moderate-income families who often face obstacles of extremely high interest rates or large down payments from traditional lenders.
We talked with Jake Brandt, director of marketing and communications at Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity, to answer questions about the process after seeing high levels of interest from our Post from Community column.
1. What do prospective homeowners need to know about this program?
These opportunities are coming at a time when Milwaukee is in an affordable housing crisis, where one in three renters are spending half or more of their income on housing.
Milwaukee Habitat’s mortgage won’t exceed 30% of a family’s income. Typical mortgage payments will average $500 to $800 per month, based on family income and type of home.
2. How does one learn more about the program?
Register and watch the free, no-obligation homeowner orientation online here. The orientation will cover the requirements, benefits and other details about Milwaukee Habitat’s affordable homeownership program.
3. How do you know if you qualify?
The main qualification is the need for affordable housing. Which means you must be a first-time homebuyer with inadequate housing.
All qualifications are online here.
4. How do I apply?
After watching the online orientation. You can fill out an application here.
The application process is easiest when applicants turn in all necessary documents when they return the application. Here are the documents needed.
- Last four consecutive paycheck stubs
- Recent Social Security award letters for entire household (As well as for any other benefits approved, state or federal, if applicable)
- 12-month child support history (if applicable)
- Photocopy of your driver’s license or state ID
- Photocopy of Social Security card for each applicant
- Photocopy of your last bank statement (checking, savings, money market, etc.)
- Signed Authorization Form provided in the application.
5. What if I have more questions about the process?
We find that most questions people have are covered in the homeownership orientation, so be sure to pay attention to that. If you have questions after that, you can email Mirella Reyes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. How long should I wait to hear back about my application?
People should hear back within four to six weeks.
7. What do you need to do as a homebuyer?
Once accepted into the program as a partner family, you will complete “sweat equity” instead of paying a down payment. This means you will contribute hundreds of hours of work in the construction of your home and the homes of your neighbors.
This means you will get construction skills, home maintenance skills and financial education classes to help prepare for the unexpected.
8. Can I still apply if I do not meet all of the qualifications?
We encourage you to apply anyway. We are willing to help you repair your credit or anything else you may need to be ready when applications open again.
9. Anything else to know?
It can take from 12 to 18 months to complete building on a home. We have a few home designs we use, but homebuyers can help pick flooring, counters, paint colors and siding for their homes.