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How to Apply for Homeownership

Apply for home ownership
Video on homeownership
Low-income housing

A brighter future through homeownership.

Lakeshore Habitat equips low to moderate income families and individuals to become successful homeowners through financial and homeownership classes. 

When coupled with sweat equity, a supportive community, and a mortgage at 0 to low percent interest, families are investing in their futures and developing the strength and independence to thrive.

Currently accepting interest forms, the first step to applying for our Homeownership Program.

To qualify for Habitat homeownership, you should...

...have a need for housing.

A family must be currently living in substandard or inadequate housing, which may include overcrowding, structural deterioration, safety concerns, or excessive housing cost (over 30% of monthly income).

...have a steady income.

Habitat homes are not free gifts—they are sold with a 0 to low percent interest mortgage. That's why each family must demonstrate an annual income within 30-80% of the area median income and a credit score over 620. willing to partner with us.

A family must have the willingness to partner with Lakeshore Habitat by investing sweat equity in building their home and the homes of other partner families. Partnership also includes taking required financial classes, meeting regularly with Homeowners Services Coach, and paying a down payment.

For more info on qualifications for homeownership through Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity, click here.

Financial Requirements

  • Families must have and maintain an annual gross income within our guidelines.

  • Families must have proof of consistent employment for the past 12 months.

  • Families must have at least two years since being discharged from bankruptcy or having a foreclosed property.

  • Families must not have any open or unpaid civil judgments or lien debts.

  • Families must be able to save $4000 by the time of closing for a down payment.

  • Families must have a debt to income ratio under 43% (after adding 30% for a mortgage).

General Program Requirements

  • Individuals and families must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.

  • There may not be open or unpaid court cases: all fees, fines, time served, community service, etc., must be fully satisfied.

  • Individuals and families may not be a registered sex offender(s).

  • Families must be willing to purchase a home within our service areas of Ottawa, Allegan, and Van Buren counties.

Commit to homeownership

Start your journey toward homeownership.

When families partner with Lakeshore Habitat to build and purchase their homes, they commit to a process that takes time, but ultimately reshapes their entire lives. Here’s what that process looks like.


Submit an interest form.


Meet with a Lakeshore Habitat Homeowner Services coach.


Submit a complete application.


Pass the Selection Committee Review and Interview.


Pass the Lakeshore Habitat Board Review.


Be accepted into the homeownership program.


Attend homeowner orientation with a Homeowner Services Coach.


Complete the Sweat Equity requirements.


Purchase your home with 0% interest.


Pay off your home over time.

Interested in Homeownership?

Currently accepting interest forms, the first step to applying for a home.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the whole process take?

Typically one to two years.

Can I pay more toward the down payment?

Typically, no, but each situation is unique.

What do I need to qualify for homeownership?

Demonstrated need for safe and affordable housing, a credit score of at least 620, a willingness to partner with Lakeshore Habitat, the ability to consistently pay your mortgage, and one year of consistent employement.

Do I help build my house?

Yes. Homeowners are required to invest 250 sweat equity hours: 25 toward the construction of their own home, and 25 toward the construction of another Habitat home.

Do you have any rentals?

No. We focus on affordable homeownership.

Sweat equity

What is Sweat Equity?

Sweat equity is a term used often when talking about the creation or building process. It's about doing the work—the hard work—to bring an idea—or a home—to life. That work becomes an investment in the project—an investment as real as money or land.

At Habitat for Humanity, sweat equity is a new homeowner investing in their home or one for another family. It's not a form of payment, but an opportunity to work alongside volunteers who give their time to bring to life a family's dream of owning a home.

Sweat equity can take many forms for partner families working with Habitat. It can mean construction work on their home or on a home for another family, cleaning up the build site, working in a Habitat ReStore, assisting in administrative duties, or countless other ways of helping out.

Learning how to manage a home or finances also counts as sweat equity. Families invest their time in the long-term success of their homeownership. Throughout the process of purchasing their home, Habitat partner families can earn sweat equity credit as they learn about their mortgage, insurance, maintenance, safety, and more.

get involved with Lakeshore Habitat

Get to Know Lakeshore Habitat

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