The Homeownership Program

The most important people in the Habitat NOVA community are the families we serve. Since 1990, we have helped people invest in themselves and their communities through affordable homeownership.

In accordance with Federal Fair Lending Laws, Habitat NOVA does not maintain a waiting list of applicants and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap, or familial status. The number of applicant households approved for Habitat NOVA home ownership is driven by the availability of developed properties. We invite interested applicants to apply during an application cycle. NOTE: We do not accept applications on a rolling basis. Our next application cycle will be Winter 2021.

How Does it Work?

Habitat NOVA sells homes to income-eligible households. Our homes are sold at no profit, with an interest-free mortgage and requiring a 1% (one percent) down payment. Approved homeowners qualify for a monthly mortgage payment (principal, property tax, insurance, and HOA fee if applicable) equal to less than 30% of their monthly income. This investment in affordable homeownership strengthens our communities and families and revitalizes local neighborhoods.

What is an Application Cycle? 

At least once a year Habitat NOVA opens an application cycle. This cycle is no longer than one month in duration and punctuated by a deadline for application submission. Habitat NOVA hosts several Homeownership Program orientation sessions when an application cycle begins. During the orientation, you can learn more about the properties available, the process for homeownership consideration, and deadlines for your application submission. Applications are distributed at the program orientation sessions or may be retrieved at our Alexandria office during an application cycle. Applications are not accepted after a deadline or prior to the beginning of a new application cycle.

Becoming a Habitat NOVA Homeowner

Applicants must meet our income guidelines, demonstrate a need for affordable housing, and be willing to perform up to 400 hours of “sweat equity” to build their own homes. This includes at least 20 hours of financial education. Our selection process for interested applicants includes a review of financial status, job history, residency, and other qualifications. A Family Selection Committee selects families for the homeownership program from a pool of eligible applicants.

The Omar family stands in front of their new home after the dedication ceremony.

What is Sweat Equity?

Sweat equity is part of Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia’s foundation. It is the volunteer labor that Habitat NOVA homeowners contribute to building their own homes or other Habitat homes, and the time they spend in financial and homeowner education courses. Homeowners begin working on sweat equity after they are selected as future Habitat NOVA homeowners and must complete their hours before they move into their new homes.

Eligibility Questionnaire

At the beginning of each calendar year, we refresh the list of people interested in applying for our Homeownership Program. Please complete the questionnaire by clicking the blue button, under The Homeownership Program section, to determine if you meet the general requirements for eligibility.

Completing this questionnaire allows Habitat NOVA to capture your contact information so we may contact you with updates on our next application cycle and estimated construction timelines. The questionnaire is not an application for homeownership and does not constitute an application to any Habitat NOVA program. It serves to qualify your interest in applying when we open our next application cycle.

How Long Does it Take?

The homeownership process, from the time of family selection through construction and sweat equity, can take up to two years.

Do You Meet the Requirements?

  • Applicant(s) has not owned a home within the past three years.
  • Household must have lived together consistently for the past 12 months.
  • Applicant(s) have a minimum credit score of 650.
  • Applicant(s) cannot qualify for a conventional mortgage loan.
  • Household’s annual gross income is no more than 80% of the area median income (AMI).

Income Guidelines

Northern Virginia FY19 Median Family Income (provided by HUD)
Median Income  1-person2-person3-person4-person5-person6-person7-person
$121,300.00 80% $67,928 $77,632 $87,336 $97,040 $104,803 $112,566 $120,330
  70% $59,437 $67,928 $76,419 $84,910 $91,703 $98,496 $105,288
 60% $50,946 $58,224 $65,502 $72,780 $78,602 $84,425 $90,247
 50% $42,455 $48,520 $54,585 $60,650 $65,502 $70,354 $75,206
 40% $33,964 $38,816 $43,668 $48,520 $52,402 $56,283 $60,165