FAQs

Home Ownership

  • No down payment required
  • Affordable mortgage payments that are less than half of what a comparable house payment would be using traditional financing.
  • Approximately 50% of the home price is financed with below market interest rates on a first mortgage.
  • Approximately 50% of the home price is financed by Habitat with a 0% interest second mortgage with no repayment required for 20 years.
  • A longer amortization period is available for the interest-bearing mortgage (30 years).
  • Homeowners do not have to pay costly mortgage default insurance:
    • Example: To purchase a $300,000 home on the open market the home buyer will pay approximately $11,400 in default insurance. This cost is added to the mortgage and is subject to interest charges over the life of the mortgage. You will not have this extra cost with Habitat Homeownership.
  • Where renting allows for zero equity growth, Habitat Homeownership allows homeowners to create equity each month that grows through time. Homeowners are eligible to share in market appreciation on the home; if the market value of the home increases, homeowners share in the increased equity.
  • Homeowners who currently either do not have the required down payment or whose income is below the typical income required by traditional banks are the focus of Habitat Homeownership.
  • Homeowners qualify for Habitat's mortgage based on several factors, including need, financial capacity, and willingness to partner with Habitat. Learn more.

The first step to buying a Habitat home is to fill out and submit the contact form.

  • Each homeowner invests 500 hours volunteering for Habitat. These 500 hours are to be completed after they move into the home, and must be completed within 18 months. Homeowners then purchase their homes at fair market value from Habitat.
  • The homeowner will make affordable monthly mortgage payments to bring stability to their housing situation and allowing them to build equity for a brighter future.

Besides the monthly mortgage payment, homeowners are responsible and must budget for costs associated with home maintenance, insurance, property taxes, condo fees, and utilities.

There could be a few reasons why a prospective homeowner does not meet the requirements. Please remember to review our eligibility criteria [link] to learn about the minimum requirements before filling out the eligibility questionnaire. Common reasons for not meeting the program requirements are:

  • Debt to income ratio is too high, credit score is too low, and/or income is above or below the affordability limits.
  • Family size is smaller or larger than the unit size available.
  • Less than 2 years of employment experience, and/or unstable employment (casual, term, or contract employment).
  • Income is from self-employment
  • No children ages 18 or under live in the household.

Habitat sells homes to families at Fair Market Value as determined by an independent appraisal. Fair Market Value of a Habitat home ranges from $190,000 to $400,000 depending on the size, style and location of the home.

Yes. Homeownership mortgages offered by Habitat Edmonton include an interest component. We partner with a reputable financial institution to provide a discounted rate on a bank mortgage of approximately 50% of the home value, while the remaining 50% of the home value is financed by Habitat interest-free for 20 years. The monthly mortgage payment by a Habitat homeowner is less than half of what homeowners would pay in the open market on the same home.

  • Habitat will verify employment, obtain housing and banking references, and check credit to make an assessment as to whether Habitat is an appropriate program for the applicant(s).
  • Habitat wants all our homeowners to succeed. Credit checks ensure that families are ready to succeed as homeowners. Debt ratios and credit scores are standard measures of whether you can afford the home and how you manage loans/credit. The higher the credit score and lower the amount of debt, the better positioned you are for success.

Under Habitat’s current guidelines, these forms of income are not sufficient to afford the home as a household’s primary or sole source of income. Employment income is required to ensure affordability and to ensure that the homeowner will succeed. 

No. Under Habitat’s current guidelines, this form of income does not qualify.

It is your responsibility as a homeowner to save for life’s unexpected events and emergencies so that you can pay your mortgage payment every month.

  • Homeowners take pride in owning their homes and treat their homes as a valuable asset. Homeowners are free to make minor changes to the home to suite their tastes. Minor improvements include paint, carpet changes, blind changes, and other cosmetic upgrades.
  • Since Habitat homes are expected to be part of the ongoing Habitat home inventory, you must obtain Habitat’s permission before making any major changes or improvements to the home. Major changes include removal/addition of walls or any structural changes to the home.
  • When you obtain a first mortgage through the financial institution, the mortgage is locked into a 5-year term. This means that your mortgage payments, including principal and interest (and excluding taxes, insurance and condo fees), remain unchanged for the 5-year term.
  • At the end of the 5 years, you will lock into the interest rate at that time for the next term.

You have two options:

  • sell the home back to Habitat, or
  • take out an open market mortgage with your financial institution to finance the remaining balance.
  • If you sell the home back to Habitat before your first mortgage term expires (5 years), you do not receive any of the increase in the value (home appreciation).
  • If you sell the home back to Habitat between 5-10 years, you do receive 25% starting on the sixth year, and then increasing at the eleventh year to 40% (capped at 3% compounded annually).
    • Example: if the original sale value of the home was $300,000, but it has appreciated to a value of $350,000 by year eleven, then the homeowner will be entitled to $20,000 ($50,000 X 40%) in market appreciation.

As a Habitat homeowner, you are protected from market depreciation if the home has been well-maintained and is free of damage beyond normal wear and tear. If you have not properly maintained your home and there is damage that requires repairs, then you will be required to pay for the damage with funds taken out of your equity.

Volunteering

No. Experience is not necessary! However,  volunteers must:

  • Be willing to learn new skills to apply to different situations
  • Be able to follow instructions independently
  • Be able to climb stairs comfortably
  • Have adequate vision
  • Be able to speak conversational English
  • Be able to lift and carry at least 15 pounds

Our minimum volunteer age across all volunteer sites is 16, and anyone under age 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Click here to register as volunteer! Once you’ve registered, you can sign in at any time and click the “Schedule a Shift” button to access our online shift scheduler. If you have any troubles finding the opportunity you are looking for, please reach out to us by email or at 780-451-3416.

No. Volunteering with Habitat is as easy as registering as a volunteer on our website and signing up for a shift. A site and safety orientation will occur at the beginning of your first volunteer shift.

We are looking for a specific number of volunteers for each day, therefore we kindly ask that volunteers sign-up for shifts beforehand.

When you sign-up for a shift, you’ll be sent a confirmation e-mail that includes your volunteer day information, including a map that shows the location.

When you sign up for your volunteer shift, you will receive a confirmation e-mail that outlines the volunteer information that is specific to your site, including what to bring and wear for the day.

Yes. Volunteers must wear CSA (green triangle) certified steel-toe shoes while volunteering with us. If you don’t have your own, we have pairs available for your day on site.

Our construction and landscaping shifts require a dedicated full day (approx. 8:30 am to 4:00 pm) due to the amount of training involved. The morning is dedicated to training and the afternoon is dedicated to using that training!

Our ReStores offer flexible half-day shifts in both the morning and the afternoon.

This depends on the situation. Please reach out to us by email or by phone at 780-451-3416 x 237 to discuss the possibility of modified volunteering.

Please reach out us by email or by phone at 780-451-3416 x 222. We will provide you a copy of your volunteer history and accumulated hours. Please note that the “Volunteer History” section of your online volunteer profile is not a complete or accurate account of your volunteer history.

Yes. If you have a certain Homeowner in mind, please reach out us by email or by phone (780-451-3416 x 222) to find out if that homeowner is eligible to receive donated hours. If you don’t have a specific homeowner in mind, please write “as needed” in the family name column of the sign-in sheet and we will assign the hours to a homeowner.

We are glad to provide you with a letter of contribution that outlines your completed volunteer hours, site location(s), and how long you’ve volunteered.

 

Please request your letter by email or phone (780-451-3416 x 222).

ReStore

Our aim is to sell quality products while raising funds for Habitat for Humanity’s charitable work. When an item is donated to ReStore, our staff research the current retail cost for the item. Once a comparative price has been established, we examine its condition and then price it fairly for sale in our store.

Monday - Saturday; 9:30 am - 5:00 pm. 

Click here for our locations.

ReStore plays a critical role in funding the Habitat homes we build for families in need of affordable homeownership in our communities. Shopping at ReStore is both a socially-conscious and environmentally-sound decision. It extends the value of quality new and used household goods and building materials and limits unnecessary waste, decreasing our collective carbon footprint.

Like most social enterprises, the Habitat ReStore incurs costs to operate. We pay for buildings, maintenance, utilities, staff, donation trucks, and more.

Once these costs have been covered, 100% of the remaining funds are sent to Habitat for Humanity to help families gain access to affordable homeownership. The reason ReStore exists is to provide funding for Habitat’s charitable work in our community.

To discuss the details of our pricing and operation model, or how you or your business can support Restore through the donation of excess inventory and other products, please feel free to call us at 780-479-3566.

Unfortunately, we do not have a delivery service at this time. However, each store has third party contacts that can help you with delivery at an affordable rate. 

Yes! ReStore can schedule a donation pick up from your home or business. Please touch base with our Donations Coordinator at 780-477-4057, or use our online request form!

Within 7 days of your purchase, and with your original receipt, you may return your item to the store you purchased it from for an in-store credit. This credit does not expire and can be used at any Habitat Edmonton, Sherwood Park, or Grande Prairie ReStore. Our stores do not provide cash/credit/debit refunds.

Yes! Our stores accept donations from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm, Monday to Saturday. A store associate will be able to assist you in unloading your donation at the Donations Bay.