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 immediately. 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

3                              $38,900**             $46,800

4                              $38,900**             $51,950

5                              $38,900**              $56,150

6***                        $38,900                 $60,300

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 2015 HUD  guidelines.

** Minimum income level is higher than  HUD 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)
  • Be out of bankruptcy for at least one year
  • Be 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:
    • The next First Time Homebuyer program will be held on April 9, 2016.  Potential applicants should complete this course if at all possible prior to RV Habitat’s New Homeowner Orientation session which will be later in April, 2016