Homebuyer FAQ

Program Questions

Are Atlanta Habitat houses free?
No. Atlanta Habitat homeowners purchase their homes from Atlanta Habitat through a zero-percent interest mortgage.

Is there a large down payment required?
There is a required monetary down payment of $800 after the homeowner’s application has been approved. This amount can be paid in installments.

How much is the Atlanta Habitat monthly mortgage payment?
The monthly mortgage payment varies depending on the cost of each individual home. Currently, the average monthly mortgage payment for new homebuyers is less than $650.

What is included in a homeowner's monthly mortgage payments?

  • Principal payment that goes to pay down the amount owed on the home loan
  • Property taxes
  • Homeowners' insurance
  • Sanitation fees if home is located in the City of Atlanta.
  • Termite insurance bond
  • $25 saved in the homeowner’s Maintenance Account, which can be accessed at any time to make repairs to the home

How do homebuyers complete their sweat-equity hours?
Approved homebuyers partner with Atlanta Habitat in the construction of other homes as well as their own homes. Homebuyers can also complete sweat equity hours by working at the Atlanta Habitat ReStore or the warehouse, participating at outreach events, attending community meetings, and taking elective classes.

How many sweat-equity hours are required?
There is a minimum requirement of 250 sweat-equity hours. These hours must be completed within one year of a homebuyer moving in the home.  At a minimum, 100 of the 250 hours must be completed by the homeowner and members of the household.  Up to 150 hours may be completed by friends, family, and/or co-workers.

I've heard that homeowners never actually own their homes; they rent them. Is this true?
No. In the Atlanta Habitat program, the homebuyer lives in the house for the first year while completing requirements, and they pay a monthly occupancy fee. At the end of the first year, if the homebuyer has made all of their payments on time, completed their sweat-equity and homeowner education requirements, they purchase the home from Atlanta Habitat.

Qualification Questions

What if I have bad credit or a bankruptcy?
We do not look at credit score. As long as your financial history shows consistency in paying bills on time or you can pay past due non-medical debts, the application will be considered. Bankruptcies from four or more years ago will not automatically keep your application from being approved. However, bankruptcies must be at least four years old in order to be eligible for the program.We will work with you to help you identify ways to improve your credit so that your application can be considered.

Do I have to have a savings account?
If you do not currently have some type of account where you are saving money, you will need to open an account to meet the savings requirement. You must maintain a minimum daily balance of $200 in that account for 6 months.

Savings account, checking accounts, and custodial accounts for your children can be used to satisfy the savings requirement. In addition, 401(k) or other retirement accounts can be used if you also put $200 in an accessible account.

Can I start the application process before I meet the savings requirement?
Yes. We offer a "Step Up Savings" program for applicants who meet all requirements except for savings. You may submit your application and continue with the application process; however you will not be finally approved until you have completed the 6-month savings requirement of maintaining a $200 minimum daily balance.

How many people must live in the home?
One to eight people.

Can I apply if I am the only person in my household?
Yes. Atlanta Habitat now builds homes for individuals.

Can I apply if there are no children in my household?
Yes. There is no requirement that the household must include children.

Do homebuyers need to be members of a church?
No, we do not accept or decline applications based on church membership or religious affiliation.

Application Process Questions:

How can I apply to buy an Atlanta Habitat home?
See the Application Process section of this website.

How long is the waiting list for prospective homebuyers?
Because of high demand, Atlanta Habitat will not be accepting any new applications for homeownership until summer, 2018. The length of the application and build processes will vary depending on each applicant’s financial readiness as well as the availability of properties and sponsors.

I know someone who I think will qualify for a home. What can I do?
Please direct your friends to this website and encourage them to call our office at 404-223-5180, ext. 100, to register for an Information Session.

What happens if my application is denied?
If applicants do not meet Atlanta Habitat for Humanity’s criteria and are not accepted into the program, they will receive a letter with a description of the reason and, if necessary, a referral to free credit counseling. There is no limit to how many times an individual can apply for an Atlanta Habitat home, so we encourage applicants to reapply!

Occupancy and Closing Questions:

What is expected of an Atlanta Habitat homebuyer during the initial occupancy year?

  • Invest 250 sweat-equity hours
  • Attend 12 Home Smart education classes
  • Attend five one-on-one budget coach meetings and a pre-closing evaluation
  • Occupy home for one year before closing. All requirements must be completed in order to close
  • Make timely payments
  • Maintain the home
  • Practice good financial management
  • Be a good partner with Atlanta Habitat by committing to fuilfill all program obligations
  • Be an active member of the community (see resident menu at link www.atlantaga.gov)
  • Program Timeline

What is expected of an Atlanta Habitat homeowner after closing?

Do you qualify for an Atlanta Habitat home?  Click here