Homeownership Program Criteria

Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity provides you with the coaching, education and support to be successful in your homebuying journey. Habitat enables you to buy a home you love with a mortgage you can afford.


To be eligible for Habitat’ Homeownership Program, you must be:

1. In need of improved housing

  • Some examples of need are outlined below (the list is not all-inclusive):
  • Structural/mechanical problems in the home
  • Unsanitary conditions or health risks
  • Overcrowded housing conditions
  • Temporary housing such as staying with family or friends
  • Current housing does not meet physical needs
  • Excessive housing expenses (spending more than 30% of gross income on housing, not including utilities)           

2. Willing to partner with Habitat

All applicants must show a willingness to partner with Habitat in the homeownership process by:

  • Being willing to contribute at least 200 hours of sweat equity towards building Habitat homes, which include their own home, other family’s homes and other projects
  • Being willing to attend mandatory Homebuyer Education workshop and optional workshops including topics on finances & budgeting, credit, home maintenance & repair, fire safety, community resources, and/or other topics designed for equipping our homeowners to succeed
  • Being willing to accept the standard Habitat house-design and features as well as living in the neighborhoods in which Habitat is currently building
  • Being willing to be cooperative, respectful, willing to work, and be prepared to participate in the program
  • Being able to provide clear and accurate information throughout the homeownership program

3. Able to pay an affordable mortgage

All applicants must have a stable income and satisfactory credit and bank history, but not be able to obtain a mortgage elsewhere via traditional means.

  • The total gross household income must fall between 30% and 80% of the median income for the current year (see chart above). Gross income is before taxes and deductions are taken out of paycheck.
  • Total income means the sum total of ALL forms of income -- for ALL members of the household. Household Income consists of wages, salaries, tips, income from self-employment, social security payments, SSI, SSD, child support and alimony. Habitat does not count food stamps, OWF, or WEP as income sources.
  • The applicant must be at least three years beyond bankruptcy or foreclosure.

How your credit history is used

Your credit history is a good indicator of your ability to meet your financial obligations and therefore Habitat takes credit reports into account when determining an applicant’s eligibility. We do not use credit scores in our assessment of eligibility; however, we evaluate whether you are timely in paying debts. We carefully review your credit report to see if there are collections, open judgments, or recent bankruptcies/foreclosures.

The result

Once you have completed the volunteer and education hours and the house is finished, you will then purchase your home with an affordable mortgage. Your total monthly mortgage payment, homeowner’s insurance and property taxes combined will not exceed 30% of your household gross monthly income.

Learn more about our available properties and take your first step to becoming a Habitat homeowner by clicking here. 

  • City of Cleveland
    City of Cleveland
  • Rocket
  • Land Bank
    Land Bank
  • City Mission
    City Mission
  • CEA
  • Reinberger
  • Wells Fargo
    Wells Fargo