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Criteria

Becoming a Habitat Homeowner

The Raritan Valley Habitat program is designed for low-income families who are committed to building a better place to raise their families. Becoming a Habitat homeowner is not a solution for families facing a housing crisis that involves finding a new place to live right away. Anyone in this situation is urged to contact their local municipality or dial 2-1-1 for a referral.

A potential Raritan Valley Habitat homeowner is:

  • Currently and for the prior year either living or working in Hunterdon, Somerset, or one of the adjacent counties (Bucks, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Union, and Warren)

  • Currently living in inadequate housing or paying rent that is too high

  • Able to afford the repayment of the interest-free mortgage and the utilities, taxes, insurance, and maintenance expenses.

To qualify for a future Habitat project, your family income must be between these minimum and maximum levels*, based on the number of people in the family:

Family                      Minimum          Maximum

2                              $36,515**             $42,000

3                              $36,515**             $47,250

4                              $36,515**             $52,500

5                              $36,515**              $56,700

6***                        $36,541                 $60,900

In selecting families, Habitat does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, race, color, religion, physical or mental disability, national origin, or family status.

* The income ranges are based on 2013 NJ-COAH guidelines.

** Minimum income level is higher than  NJ-COAH guidelines to ensure RVHFH homeowners have enough income to meet expected financial obligations and the certification requirements of local municipalities and funding sources for the homes.

*** Depending on family configuration, the 3 bedroom home may not be sufficient for a family of six. Housing rules prohibit an adult and a child or a boy and a girl from occupying the same bedroom.


The Basic Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Provide proof of citizenship or permanent residency
  • Give evidence of marital status (because of legal ramifications, we cannot sell to individuals separated from their spouses)
  • Out of bankruptcy for at least one year
  • Out of foreclosure proceedings for at least two years
  • Be willing to work on their own home and the homes of others in the Habitat community (this work is called “Sweat Equity”)
    • Complete their Sweat Equity requirement before they can purchase the house
    • For a two-adult family, contribute 500 hours of Sweat Equity (a maximum of 200 hours of this work could be done by friends or relatives)
    • Or, for a one-adult family, contribute 250 hours of Sweat Equity (a maximum of 100 hours of this work could be done by friends or relatives)
  • Prove that they have sufficient income to cover the mortgage, taxes, insurance and living expenses
  • Attend one of Central Jersey Housing Resource Center’s (CJHRC) excellent and free seminars:“Step by Step” or ”1st Time Homebuyer” or “eHome America” (Spanish only). For more information: cjhrc.org/group-couseling-services