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HOMEOWNERSHIP COUNSELING

Are you thinking about buying a home, but aren’t sure if you’re financially ready? Dallas Habitat’s Homeownership Center is designed to educate and equip first-time home buyers with a personalized plan and financial skills in order to become mortgage-ready. Our HUD-certified counselors will support you in designing a roadmap for success, as you begin your homeownership journey!

HOMEOWNERSHIP COUNSELING

Are you thinking about buying a home, but aren’t sure whether you’re financially ready? The Dallas Habitat Homebuyer Club is designed to educate and equip homebuyers with a personalized plan and financial skills in order to become mortgage ready within 6-12 months. Clients achieve this by meeting with our Certified Homeownership Counselor and designing a roadmap for success.

How it works

STEP 1

In this step, you’ll create an account for our Homebuyer Community – your personalized homebuying portal. In the community, you can browse workshops, pre-screen yourself for our program and if you’re eligible, you’ll even complete your application right there.

To start the process today, click on the button below and create your account.

STEP 2

If you’re a good fit for our program, you’ll apply and then begin one-on-one homeownership counseling and our pre-purchase education. In this phase, you’ll build savings, reduce debt and work towards mortgage-readiness.

STEP 3

In this step, you’ll get pre-approvals and start searching for your new home! This might mean buying a Habitat home, or buying a home in the open market. Either way, we’re here to help you cross the finish line!.

STEP 1

In this step, you’ll create an account for our Homebuyer Community – your personalized homebuying portal. In the community, you can browse workshops, pre-screen yourself for our program and if you’re eligible, you’ll even complete your application right there.

To start the process today, click on the button below and create your account.

STEP 2

If you’re a good fit for our program, you’ll apply and then begin one-on-one homeownership counseling and our pre-purchase education. In this phase, you’ll build savings, reduce debt and work towards mortgage-readiness.

STEP 3

In this step, you’ll get pre-approvals and start searching for your new home! This might mean buying a Habitat home, or buying a home in the open market. Either way, we’re here to help you cross the finish line!.

STEP-BY-STEP-PROCESS

Create an Account

To get started, you’ll first create an account for our Homebuyer Community – your personalized homebuying portal. Within the community, you can sign up for workshops, pre-screen yourself for our program and if you’re eligible, you’ll even complete your application directly through the Community. If our program isn’t a good fit for you at this time, don’t worry – we can still help!

Were you a Good Fit?

Not right now: Start with education!
If you’re not a good fit for our counseling program at this time, we can still help! Start your homeownership journey today by exploring our online and in-person education options. Pro tip! Our 8-hour Homebuyer Education workshops [link to education page] are the perfect starter course for anyone considering homeownership!

Yes: If so, we’ll work with you to assess your Mortgage Readiness
Upon applying for our program, you’ll meet with a HUD-certified Homeownership Counselor to assess your Mortgage-Readiness. To do this, we’ll collect the types of documentation that mortgage lenders review, including pay stubs/income paperwork, bank statements and tax returns. Your Counselor will also conduct a “soft review” of your credit (with no impact on your score). In your first counseling session, you and your Counselor will assess your ability to qualify for a mortgage based on all the information reviewed.

Begin Education

Upon applying for our program, you’ll meet with a HUD-certified Homeownership Counselor to assess your Mortgage-Readiness. We’ll collect the types of documents that mortgage lenders review, including pay stubs / income paperwork, bank statements and tax returns. Your Counselor will conduct a “soft review” of your credit (with no impact on your score). In your 1st counseling session, you and your Counselor will assess your ability to qualify for a mortgage based on all the information reviewed.

Assess your Mortgage Readiness

Upon applying for our program, you’ll meet with a HUD-certified Homeownership Counselor to assess your Mortgage-Readiness. We’ll collect the types of documents that mortgage lenders review, including pay stubs / income paperwork, bank statements and tax returns. Your Counselor will conduct a “soft review” of your credit (with no impact on your score). In your 1st counseling session, you and your Counselor will assess your ability to qualify for a mortgage based on all the information reviewed.

Obstacles Identified

Upon assessing your Mortgage-Readiness, your Counselor will help you identify what sorts of things may be holding you back from being approved for a mortgage. Examples could include: not enough savings, too short of employment history, no credit score or poor credit history – or a combination of these. Habitat Homeownership Counselors are experts in helping clients work through these types of obstacles – so don’t be disappointed if you’re not ready today. We’ll help you get there!

Create Action Plan & Budget

At this point, you’ll work with your Counselor to develop a sustainable household budget that will allow you to achieve your financial goals – most importantly, saving for the upfront costs of homeownership (down payment, closing costs, etc.). You and your Counselor will then develop your personalized action plan, outlining the specific steps you’ll take to become mortgage-ready. Examples might include establishing (and sticking to!) a savings plan, reducing debt, or resolving past due accounts on credit.

Complete Pre-Purchase Education

We believe that financial education is the first step to achieving financial freedom – as such, you’ll be required to complete education throughout the process. Offerings include financial education workshops, Homebuyer Education seminars and even online learning modules.

Mortgage-Ready

At this step, you’re ready to start the home buying process! While Mortgage-Readiness is specific to you, there are a few key indicators that determine ability to qualify for a home loan, including:

  • Minimum of $2,000 saved for upfront costs – and an established pattern of saving
  • At least (1) year of stable qualifying income
  • No delinquent/past due accounts on your credit within the last (3) years
  • Ideal credit score of 620+
  • Now, you’ll work with your Counselor to obtain pre-qualifications from multiple mortgage lenders. Once you have all available options for consideration, you’ll meet with your Counselor to determine which loan is best for you. For eligible candidates, this could include a pre-qualification letter from Habitat’s own mortgage lender.

Buying a Habitat home?

If you’re eligible to purchase a Dallas Habitat home – meaning you meet our income and loan guidelines and can afford to buy one of our homes – your Counselor will refer you to our Homebuying Specialist. At this point, you’ll learn about our available homes, including neighborhood(s), sales prices and floor plans. Based on your pre-qualification amount, you’ll be provided with all available options for you to choose from.

Select a Home

Once you find the home that’s right for you, you’ll pay an Earnest Money Deposit to secure the house in your name! You’ll sign a Sales Contract to make things official, complete your Loan Application and construction will begin on your new home!

Begin Sweat Equity

Dallas Habitat homes don’t require a financial down payment – instead, you’ll contribute what we call “Sweat Equity”. This means that you’ll be investing your time into preparing to succeed as a homeowner. During this process, you’ll work alongside volunteers to build your very own home! Additionally, the workshops and online education that you complete will earn you Sweat Equity hours.

Not Buying a Habitat Home?

If you don’t meet the criteria to buy a Habitat home, or if you prefer to purchase in a different way, Habitat can still help! Your Counselor serves as a trusted, independent advisor on your home buying team. We’ll help guide you at every step of the process, ensuring you ask the right questions at the right time. As a first-time home buyer, there is a lot to learn. We’re here to help!

Shop Your Loan Options

Your Counselor will help you to understand your loan approval options and select the option that works best for you. Dallas Habitat offers our Preferred Lender Network, which will support you in finding great first-time buyer programs that you may qualify for. We’ll also help you determine if you’re eligible for down payment/closing cost assistance programs to help you take advantage of great programs designed for buyers just like you. Buying a home will likely be your largest purchase, so you’ll want to spend the time researching and comparing all of your options with a trusted advisor.

Identify a Realtor

Identifying a trusted Realtor is important to ensure a smooth home buying journey. You’ll want to find an agent who understands your unique needs and is willing to dedicate the time and energy to finding the right home for you. Dallas Habitat offers a network of Preferred Realtors designed to equip our buyers with a list of reputable agents to choose from, depending on your preferences and needs.

Homeownership

Congratulations – you’ve made it! The journey of a first-time home buyer requires hard work and dedication, but we know you can do it! Best of all, our support doesn’t end here. Dallas Habitat provides continuing education and resources to new homeowners, including our Post-Purchase workshop and more. So, what are you waiting for? Get started on your journey today!

FAQ’S

Buying a house for the first time can seem tedious and overwhelming, especially when it comes to financing. What does your debt-to-income ratio look like? Do you have enough money saved for additional costs? Are you able to identify your needs vs. wants?
At Dallas Habitat, you’ll work with a HUD-certified Homeownership Counselor who will help you navigate the process and become mortgage-ready. Our team will prepare you for success in your home buying experience by providing one-on-one conversation regarding income, credit scores, debt-to-income ratio and building savings. These conversations and steps will help to lay the groundwork for purchasing your first home!

What should I expect from the Dallas Area Habitat HUD-certified Homeownership Counseling program?

Our homeownership counseling program is designed to assist you in becoming mortgage ready in one year or less. From our program, you can expect one-on-one counseling where we create a path together to help you achieve your goal of homeownership.

What is the Dallas Area Habitat Homeownership program?

The Dallas Habitat Homeownership program can be an option for mortgage-ready clients who demonstrate an ability to qualify for available Habitat homes and express interest in purchasing within one of our communities. Clients who purchase a Habitat home receive 0% financing, as well as down payment and closing cost assistance.

I’m interested in the Dallas Habitat Homeownership program! How do I get started?

In order to purchase a Dallas Habitat home, you’ll start by completing Homeownership Counseling with Dallas Habitat and become mortgage-ready.

What are the income and credit requirements for the homeownership counseling program?

As part of your goals in the counseling program you’ll be required to work towards achieving a credit score of 580 or above, demonstrate sufficient income to purchase a property based on the current market and adequate savings to cover expenses related to a home purchase.

Is there a cost for the program?

Yes, the program cost for a single applicant is $125 and dual applicants is $200. This provides unlimited one-on-one counseling sessions with a HUD-certified counselor, credit reviews, and also includes the cost of all classes and workshops.

My spouse is no longer living with me or is incarcerated. Do they have to complete the application and be on the mortgage with me?

Texas is a community property state, therefore, your spouse should be included in your counseling application and should you choose to buy a Habitat house, they will also be included on the mortgage, unless you are legally divorced.

Can I apply if I am not a US citizen?

To be eligible for our programs, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.

Can I choose where I want to live? Can I choose my house and where it would be built?

Once you become mortgage ready and are prequalified, your Counselor will help you navigate the process to purchase a home where you want to live, based on your affordability. Options may include purchasing a home on the open market, or buying a Dallas Habitat home, based on our available inventory and what you can afford.

I’m ready to take the first step! How do I start?

We’re excited that you’re taking the first step towards homeownership and that you’ve selected the Dallas Habitat Counseling program to assist you! The first step is to create an account [hyperlink to dallashabitat.force.com], and then complete our pre-screen tool. This tool allows you to determine your eligibility to apply for our Counseling program, where we can assist you in becoming mortgage ready within a year. Note: The pre-screen tool is NOT our program application.

How long after I complete and submit the Pre-Screen will I get a response?

When you submit the pre-screen tool, you’ll immediately receive a response. If based on the information provided, you’d be a good fit for our counseling program, you’ll be invited to complete an application for Homeownership Counseling and will then pay the appropriate application cost. Please note: we do not accept applications year-round.

I submitted the pre-screen tool and it stated I am not a good fit for the counseling program at this time, what do I do? We encourage you to browse the resources available and attend our in- person workshops and online financial education modules through Pocketwise CAFÉ.You can access all of education resources when you log into the Homebuyer Community.

I submitted a Homeownership Counseling application and would like to know what my status is.

If it’s been more than 14 business days since you filled out the online counseling application in the community and you have not been contacted by a Counselor, please send us an email at homeownersupport@dallas-habitat.org with your first and last name and the best way to reach you within 48 hours.

I’m having an issue with the online application and would like to speak to someone.

If you experience issues with the online application through the community, send us an email to homeownersupport@dallas-habitat.org with your first and last name and the best way that we can reach you within 48 hours.

What do I do while I wait to hear from my counselor?

We’re excited that you are eager to start your homeownership journey! Since education is a requirement for the counseling program, we highly suggest that you get started as soon as possible with our online and in-person education. Sign up today in the Homebuyer Community!

I don’t have access to a computer. How do I submit an application or complete online education?

Both the application and online education are mobile friendly, but if you need access to a computer, you are more than welcome to stop by the office to use our computers located in our office lobby Monday – Friday, 9 am – 4:30 pm.

UPDATE as of March 2020: We’re sorry, but our office is currently closed due to COVID-19. If you need technical assistance, please contact our team at homeownersupport@dallas-habitat.org

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