Yemi and Christian at their new home

Habitat selection criteria

Program Summary

The Habitat homeownership program offers a hand up, not a hand out. As a nonprofit, Habitat for Humanity relies on the support of our local community. Our goal is to provide affordable housing for low-income homebuyers who would not otherwise be able to afford homeownership or a home loan.

To Qualify

Residency requirements:

Applicants must be living or working in our service area (Lincoln, Minnehaha or Turner counties) for the 12 months preceding the application drive. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident.

All applicants who meet the above residency requirements are screened for our program based on the three criteria outlined below. Applicants must meet all requirements for all three criteria in order to qualify.

1 – Need

Applicants must have a housing need — current housing is inadequate, substandard or unaffordable. Applicants must also have a financial need — gross household income falls within 30%-60% of area median income. (See the General Eligibility income guidelines.)

For the 2020 application drive, two of the construction openings will allow a gross household income up to 80% of area median income, as we seek to serve an eligible veteran and an eligible teacher. (See the Veteran and Teacher Eligibility Guidelines.)

Income Guidelines*
General Eligibility
Household Size Income Range
1 $22,880–$36,200
2 $22,880–$41,400
3 $23,300–$46,550
4 $26,200–$51,700
5 $30,680–$55,850
6 $35,160–$60,000
7 $39,640–$64,150
8 $44,120–$68,250
9 $48,600–$72,400
Income Guidelines*
Veteran or Teacher Eligibility^
Household Size Income Range
1 $22,880–$48,300
2 $22,880–$55,200
3 $23,300–$62,100
4 $26,200–$68,950
5 $30,680–$74,500
6 $35,160–$80,000
7 $39,640–$85,500
8 $44,120–$91,050
9 $48,600–$96,550

* Based on FY2020 HUD Income Limits for Sioux Falls, SD, MSA (published 4/1/20). For households larger than 9, contact the Habitat office.

^ Two of our openings will be reserved for an eligible teacher and an eligible veteran who meet our selection criteria.

2 – Ability to Pay

The applicant and co-applicant (if any) will become the owners of the Habitat home and will be committing to repayment of the Habitat mortgage loans.

Selection criteria includes:

  • Steady, reliable and verifiable source(s) of income. The income should be expected to continue for at least 3 years. SNAP income is not counted into income calculations.
  • A credit history or verifiable payment history showing minimal late payments within the past 2 years. (If the applicant has a credit score, it must be 580 or higher).
  • No more than $3,000 total in outstanding past-due debt (collections, judgments or county liens), as the entire balance of these past-due debts must be paid in full before purchasing the Habitat home.
  • Bankruptcy needs to be discharged a minimum of 2 years with good payment history since bankruptcy discharge.

3 – Willingness to Partner

Homebuyer partners must sign a partnership agreement. Requirements of partnership include:

  • Complete a minimum of 300 sweat equity hours. Household members age 16 and older can contribute toward the sweat equity hours.
  • Complete a series of homebuyer education classes and workshops.
  • Maintain or improve financial situation throughout the course of partnership, and meet a $1,500 savings goal.
  • Purchase a Habitat home and make regular monthly mortgage payments for the entire loan term (maximum term is 30 years). Habitat homeowner mortgage payments go into our Fund for Humanity to help us build more homes. Our homeowners pay it forward by helping Habitat make our program available to future applicants!

How Many Applicants Are Selected?

The number of applicants selected is based on the number of homes Habitat intends to build for the next construction season.  We typically have more qualified applicants than we have openings.  If you qualify but are not selected, you can apply again. Each application drive is a new opportunity for all applicants.

Habitat does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, age, handicap, religion, family status, national origin, or income derived from public assistance programs.