Skip to main content

Family Services

How to Apply for Homeownership

How to Apply for Homeowership

Families work in partnership with Habitat Worcester, volunteers, and the local community to build their homes. Habitat Worcester at times functions both as a construction company and mortgage company. In some cases, Habitat partners with approved third party lenders such as the USDA to access financing programs to enable the homes to be built. Families pay back the cost to build their homes via monthly mortgage payments that on average last for 25 – 30 years. The cost to build is lower than market average due in part to volunteer labor and donated materials, making the program affordable. Habitat affiliates do not earn profits from the homes they build and sell. Families must meet certain criteria, (defined below), in order to qualify for the program.

Habitat Worcester is building a 3BR 2 BA Home in Bishopville MD!

Please visit our Critical Repairs page for current programs and application rounds.

Please note that the full application package is not online and is only made available to qualified individuals and families who inquire within the specified timeframe

General Guidelines for Partner Family Selection:

  • First review guidelines to make sure you meet the preliminary requirements before inquiring
  • If you meet the requirements email: to schedule a preliminary interview during an open application round.
  • Applicants who move into the full application round and supply all required documentation in a timely manner will be given first consideration

Habitat Worcester Home Build Preliminary Requirements January 2024:

Maximum Income Per Household:

1 - 4 person: $75,500

5+ person:    $99,650

Minimum Income Per Household: 

1 - 4 person: $47,200

5+ person:    $62,350

  • Must Demonstrate a Need for adequate shelter – Examples of circumstance include: current housing is too small for the size of the family and family is unable to obtain alternative housing; housing is unsafe; rent is greater than 35% of monthly income (cost burdened); unable to afford or qualify for conventional mortgage.
  • Willingness to Partner – Applicant is willing to commit to the “sweat equity requirement” (400 hours for a build). Applicant agrees to make “earnest money” payments into escrow account during the build process, will not incur any additional consumer debt during this time, will notify the affiliate of any changes in financial status, and agrees to maintain home after purchase and pay mortgage payments each month on time.
  • Ability to Pay – Families must earn between 30% - 60% of the AMI for Worcester County (as defined by HUD) to qualify. Families must submit all of the requested verification documentation in a timely manner. Front end and back end ratio requirements for debt service and minimum credit score required. 
  • Must Pass Credit and Background Checks – including but not limited to a minimum credit score of 640, criminal, sexual and terrorist or suspicious activity background checks; there must not be any liens or judgments against the applicant or co-applicant.
  • Application Fee – $30 to help cover the costs incurred by the affiliate.
  • Must be a US Citizen or Resident and Worcester County, MD resident for at least one year.
  • Must not be able to otherwise afford a conventional mortgage.
  • Applicant must also meet all requirements and be approved for USDA 502 direct loan program including total debt of 41% or less inclusive of housing costs.

First Steps to Apply:

  • Please take the time to read this page and Homeownership Responsibilities and become familiar with our homeownership roles, process and qualification requirements.
  • Once you have read the guidelines and feel that you meet all the qualifications of a Habitat Homebuyer, you may send an inquiry email during the application rounds mentioned above. Please note we are unable to accommodate requests that are sent outside of application rounds. 
  • Send inquiry email to with “Homeownership Program” as the subject line. In the email, briefly outline your need for a Habitat home, the times you are available for a phone call, and a Family Selection Committee member will be in touch to set up your pre-application interview. 
Habitat Homeowner Infographic

Our Partners