FAQ

Find answers to the most common homeowner questions.

Here you’ll find answers to the most common homeowner questions we get asked like “How are Habitat Future Homeowners chosen?”, “What is involved with the volunteer hours?”, and “How much would a monthly mortgage payment be?”.

Habitat families are families in need of affordable housing who want to help themselves and others to become homeowners. They must complete and submit the Home Application Form.

In the application form we ask about:

  1. The family
  2. Financial and employment situations
  3. Current housing conditions
  4. Willingness to partner with Habitat in future projects

Applications are screened for eligibility based on three basic criteria:

  1. The ability to pay a long-term, interest-free mortgage
  2. A family’s willingness to contribute 500 volunteer hours (350 hours for single-parent families) to Habitat Greater Ottawa and to be a good will “ambassador” for us.
  3. Degree of a family’s need

The application process is thorough and can take as long as four months. Applications are accepted throughout the year. Please call 613-749-9950 ext. 225 for more information. The Family Selection Committee, composed of dedicated volunteers from the community, review all applications and then make a recommendation to the Board of Directors.

Almost everything we do!

  1. Habitat is a movement within a local community. Habitat continually strives to partner with the community in every aspect of its organization. Volunteers are key in our organization, serving on our Board of Directors, volunteering with various Committees and helping build our houses through build volunteers and local businesses.
  2. Habitat is a hand up, not a hand out. Habitat understands that families do not need or want charity, but rather a helping hand out of the cycle of poverty.
  3. Habitat charges no interest on the mortgage extended to the family. Habitat requires that the family contribute 500 volunteers hours (350 for single-parent families) to the construction of their home.

Habitat Greater Ottawa requires each family to commit 500 volunteer hours, single-parent families need to complete 350 hours, There is no compensation for these volunteer hours. Examples of how to accumulate volunteer hours include: constructing one’s own home or the homes of others; participating in publicity and fundraising events; office work; volunteering in our ReStores; and attending family orientation meetings. Family and/or friends can also contribute required hours.

  • Habitat build site activities as assigned by the Construction Manager
  • Habitat Home Education Courses (count as double hours)
  • Pre-approved home improvement classes at Home Depot/Reno Depot or equivalent (count as double hours)
  • With the approval of the Habitat Family Services Manager and the Family Partner, a maximum of 50 required volunteer hours can be fulfilled through volunteerism with another community organization
  • A maximum of 50 volunteer hours can be contributed through school credits from both adults and children
  • Habitat Restore volunteer hours may be used
  • Administrative work as needed at the Habitat Greater Ottawa office
  • Speaking engagements and media interviews, including Groundbreaking and Dedication ceremonies

Habitat homes are sold to families based on the appraised value of the house. The long-term mortgage is repaid with monthly payments that are based upon the family’s income. Mortgage Payments will never exceed 30% of the total household income. Monthly mortgage payments include house payments, property taxes and condo fees if applicable. Habitat Greater Ottawa reviews household income annually and will adjust payments accordingly.

Habitat Greater Ottawa looks at total household income. Discretionary consideration may be given for non-taxable income such as: child tax credits, child’s income if attending school full time. Homeowners must disclose all income of all family members.

There are no age limitations, however, Habitat’s mandate is to help break the cycle of poverty by providing strength, stability and self-reliance for future generations. Habitat Greater Ottawa believes that every child deserves a stable start in a safe and secure home.

We have a basic house design that can be tailored according lot size and family size. We adhere to a specific design to ensure that construction is “volunteer friendly”, cost effective, and keeping within Habitat’s guidelines of simple decent homes.

Habitat Greater Ottawa typically builds three-bedroom houses, but we sometimes tailor house plans to meet specific family situations.

Yes; we will take into consideration special needs and build to reflect those needs.

Yes; assuming the location, the type of home and building codes permit a basement.

Additions to the house can be built by the homeowner, but only with a building permit. Should an addition be built without a permit and if Habitat Greater Ottawa takes possession of the house for whatever reason, Habitat Greater Ottawa will charge the cost of removing the addition from the property and add this to the overall cost of the house.

Habitat Greater Ottawa retains all rights on the house should the homeowner wish to sell via its “Buy Back Policy.” Habitat Greater Ottawa has first right of refusal on the home and will in turn sell that home to another family in need.

Yes, when the mortgage has been paid in full. The home may be left in a will just like any other homeowner.

If a family’s financial position has improved that significantly to allow the purchase of another property, they would be deemed to be able to get conventional mortgage financing through a bank or another lender and be requested to pay off the mortgage to Habitat Greater Ottawa. This would then allow Habitat Greater Ottawa to use those funds to help another family get started in their life as a homeowner.

This depends on the timing of the bankruptcy and where the applicant is in the process when they apply to Habitat Greater Ottawa. One may be insolvent but the bankruptcy may not have been discharged or the bankruptcy may have been discharged and is now in the seven-year waiting period. Each condition will be assessed fairly however recent bankruptcy will require additional investigation.

Signed statements from a landlord, bank, hydro and other organizations that are dealt with on an ongoing basis can be good sources of credit history in the absence of a formal credit history.

To date, Habitat Greater Ottawa mortgages have not been reported to the Credit Bureau.

Habitat Greater Ottawa looks at total household income, including, but are not limited to child tax credits, support payments, disability pensions as examples. Homeowners must disclose all income of all family members.