FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

 


Is Habitat a Government Agency?

No, Habitat is a 501 (3) (c) non-profit organization. However, Habitat works closely with local government and the U.S. Government to make affordable home ownership happen in our local community.

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Does Habitat Receive Money From the Government?

Yes, Habitat does receive some government funding to purchase land, pay for infrastructure and/or for down-payment assistance for Habitat families through a competitive process. Local communities receive funding from HUD through the Community Development Block Grant program or through the HOME Program. The money is awarded to Fort Collins directly and the City awards the money to different affordable housing agencies through a competitive process. A group of local citizens sit on a board that awards these monies to the different affordable housing agencies and programs.

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How Are Habitat Homes Designed?

Local architects design Habitat homes to accommodate the selected family’s needs in compliance with the Basic House Description approved by the Board of Directors. Habitat homes blend in seamlessly with their communities and meet all Home Owners’ Association (HOA) requirements.

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Since Habitat Homes Are Considered Affordable, Are They Quality Built?

We are proud that not only are our homes attractive and fit into the style of the community, but all our homes are built to an E-Star Standard. This means that our homes have 2×6 construction, are well insulated and have energy efficient furnaces, water heaters and appliances. In short, they are built to an energy efficiency standard. The City of Fort Collins recently adopted the E-Star standard for all homes built within the city. Habitat built to E-Star standards before it was required and recently has gone an additional step to build LEED-Certified homes. LEED homes are built to an even higher standard and are “certified” LEED by independent consultants. LEED-certified homes insure the highest standard in green-built and energy efficient construction.

In fact, because we are building homes to LEED-certified standards, we invite construction management students, local builders, architects and building professionals to come and build with us to become LEED-certified for their licensure. See HabitatPRO to learn more about this program.

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What Does a Habitat Home Cost in Fort Collins?

The cost of a Habitat home in Fort Collins varies greatly depending on the neighborhood in which we build and the cost of the lot on which we build our homes.

In 2011, it cost about $175,000 to build a 3-bedroom, 1,250 sq. ft. home. And this with volunteer labor! This includes the cost of materials and professional, licensed services, which we refer to as “bricks and sticks,” that is about $100,000. Lots purchased in recent years have cost around $55,000, city and impact fees are around $25,000. Recently-completed Habitat homes have appraised for over $200,000 here, yet in some rural communities and in other states, the cost to build a Habitat home is much lower.

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Can Habitat Homeowners Afford a Mortgage Payment on a Home in Fort Collins?

Yes, but only if they work through Habitat for Humanity. Prospective home owners earning less than 50% of the area median income traditionally cannot qualify for a mortgage through traditional lenders.

But, because Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit whose mission is to build homes that are affordable to these lower-income families, it subsidizes the cost of the home in these ways.

Habitat sells the home at cost with no profit. In addition, Habitat is the mortgage lender providing loans to Habitat families at zero percent. A typical Habitat mortgage runs for 30 years. And the payments do not exceed 30% of the family’s gross income. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) suggests this 30% standard because it is one that most lower-income families can manage.

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Being Both the Builder AND the Lender, Does That Cause Challenges for Habitat?

Of course! In a typical building scenario, a builder takes out a construction loan, builds the house, and receives his money at the closing table when the home buyer receives a mortgage loan from a bank or credit union. It doesn’t work that way for Habitat.

Since Habitat is also the lender, it must raise the money to build the home on the front end before the house is built. It cannot take out a construction loan. The house must be totally paid for at closing, because now Habitat becomes the lender or banker and carries the loan for the next 30 years. Another way to say this is that Habitat does not get paid right away, but slowly over a 30 year period. The money that Habitat receives every month helps cover the costs of current and future projects.

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What Are the Specific Requirements to Qualify As a Habitat Family?

Please refer to the How to Become a Homeowner section.

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