F. A. Q.’s

Frequently asked Questions

How is Habitat for Humanity Grey Bruce funded?

We build homes with volunteer labour and as much donated or cost-reduced materials as possible. Habitat receives support from individuals, corporations, foundations, faith and service groups and our ReStores.
Revenue from our 3 ReStores covers 100% of our administrative costs. Therefore, every dollar donated goes directly toward building homes for families in need. Partner Families purchase their homes through zero-down payment, interest free, long term mortgages held by Habitat. Mortgage payments are used to build new houses in the future through the Revolving Fund for Humanity.

What is the cost of a Habitat house?

Currently, a three-bedroom Habitat home in Grey Bruce costs about $120,000 to build. Amounts vary depending on the cost of site development, labour (if needed) and materials. Where Habitat needs to purchase land that is an additional cost to a Build project. After a house is built it is appraised to assess its Fair Market Value. The Fair Market Value is the purchase price of the home to a partner family.

What is the design of a typical Habitat house?

Most Habitat for Humanity Builds are single dwellings or semi-detached homes. We take a family- centred approach to house design – that is we design the houses so to best meet the needs of families. Our houses are simple, decent and affordable following standardized criteria that ensure the “simple and decent” is maintained. 

We use both 2 x 6 frame and/or insulated concrete form (ICF) construction. All windows, exterior doors and appliances are energy star rated and we insulate walls and attics above the Building Code requirements so the houses are energy efficient keeping heating costs low for families.

How is the selling price determined?

Homeowners purchase their homes at the appraised Fair Market Value.
Donations towards the building of each house varies; however, an objective is to keep selling costs equitable for all families receiving comparable houses, regardless of the amount donated. Affiliates strive to apply the same standard of design to all of their houses, so that each family is treated equally.
What if a family decides to sell their house at a profit just months after they take possession?

The Habitat mortgage has an equity sharing clause that states a homeowner cannot receive any gain in the value of a house if it is sold during the first five years of ownership. After five years any increase in the value of the house is shared with the family and Habitat until year 15 when the family would be eligible to keep 100% of any equity.

If a homeowner decides to sell, they are required to repay the mortgage(s) outstanding on the property; Habitat for Humanity has the first right of refusal to purchase the property.

How are Partner Families selected to own a Habitat house?

Families who apply to buy a Habitat home undergo a rigorous screening process, including credit and personal reference checks. The Family Selection Committee (volunteers) conducts the screening process and submits a short-list of applicants to the Board of Directors who then make the final selection. Families must meet the following three criteria:

  • Need.  Families must currently be living in unsafe or unhealthy or overcrowded housing conditions or be  paying a high amount of income on rent.
  • Willing to Partner. Families must be willing to volunteer 500 hours (350 for single parent families) of “sweat equity” towards the construction of their home or other projects. Families must also attend workshops on homeownership.
  • Ability to Pay.  Families must demonstrate that they have sufficient income to afford a Habitat mortgage, property tax and home insurance and do not have a large amount of debt. A family’s entire household income is considered including pension income (e.g. ODSP), Child Tax Benefit and income from self-employment. Habitat does not select families on social assistance (e.g. Ontario Works) or whose income is mostly from Employment Insurance. If a family has filed for bankruptcy it must be discharged for at least 3 years.

How is Habitat for Humanity a Hand up and not a Hand out?

Habitat homes are sold to families, not given to them free of charge. In addition, families help to build their own home. By building homes at low cost and not collecting a down payment or interest on the mortgage, Habitat for Humanity is able to provide a hand up for families that would not otherwise qualify for a conventional mortgage. Families who were relying on services for housing (e.g. subsidized rent) become contributors to their communities through paying property taxes. Over the long-term families gain the benefit of the equity of their home.

What happens when the income/financial position of a family changes?

The income of Habitat homeowners is reviewed on an annual basis. If income increases, monthly mortgage payments are adjusted. If income decreases, usually due to a temporary situation such as a job loss, similar adjustments may be made to maintain affordability during this period of decreased household income. 

Habitat for Humanity is committed to educating and supporting partner families toward successful homeownership. This commitment has resulted in a low mortgage default rate of about 1% in Canada.
What is the minimum age to volunteer on a Build?

Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. An adult is required to accompany volunteers aged 16 and 17.