TRAPPE — Habitat for Humanity Choptank invites community members to attend one of its monthly home uyer information sessions at its Trappe office. The next session for 2017 will take place Feb. 28 and starts at 5:30 p.m. This free event is open to any individuals and families who may be interested in purchasing a home in partnership with Habitat in Dorchester or Talbot counties.
“With six homes currently in progress and plans to start additional homes in the coming months, we are looking to recruit more applicants,” notes program manager Pat Ingram. In 2015, the Habitat Choptank Board of Directors launched a multi-year strategic plan to expand its homeownership program both geographically and in terms of the number of annual home sales. The goal is to grow from four house closings per year to eight with homes available in Cambridge, Hurlock and Easton, and construction in St. Michaels on the horizon.
Following a presentation about the requirements buyers must meet to purchase a home of their own, there will be the opportunity to hear from owners who previously purchased homes from Habitat Choptank. Habitat homes are not given away but are sold to buyers who meet the program criteria and can show an ability to make an affordable monthly mortgage payment. The homes are affordable because Habitat Choptank sells its houses at cost and at no profit, the homes are built with mostly volunteer labor, and the homes are energy efficient and constructed with durable materials.
The application process begins with verification of household income. To qualify for financing with Habitat Choptank, buyers must have an annual income between $26,880 - $49,920 (for up to a household of four; income range adjusted for larger households). Income includes gross wages and salary along with other verifiable sources of income such as child support or Social Security.
“These are buyers who can’t qualify for conventional financing but who also have the dream of homeownership,” explains Ms. Ingram. In this income range, applicants can document an ability to repay an affordable mortgage for the purchase of a moderately priced house.
Habitat homebuyers are partners in every sense of the word. They contribute sweat equity toward the construction of their future home and on the homes of other Habitat buyers. Homeowners also participate in a series of classes designed to prepare them for the responsibilities of homeownership.
“The first step is just talking with us to see if you might qualify,” says Ms. Ingram. Buying a home can seem like such a huge goal. “Our process is broken down into steps and it starts by simply asking about the program and discussing your circumstances. If you don’t qualify today, we’ll tell you what changes are needed to meet our criteria.”
Since 1992, Habitat Choptank has empowered 71 working households from Talbot and Dorchester counties to build a better future for themselves through the stability and security of owning a home they can afford. Currently, eight buyers are working through Habitat’s multi-step program toward the goal of becoming successful home owners and additional applicants are welcome.
For information about homeownership, to volunteer with Habitat Choptank or to make a donation, visit www.habitatchoptank.org or call 410-476-3204.