Eligibility, Homeownership

Am I eligible?

Buying a Habitat for Humanity home is a unique opportunity. Before applying, future homeowners must first meet certain program requirements. We emphasize action and accountability. At every stage of the program, applicants must be willing to work hard – knowing that everything they do serves their future.

Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity’s homebuyer program is designed for households with a maximum gross income* (before taxes) of 80% of Area Median Income, based on household size (all individuals living in the household).


Primary Eligibility Requirements:


As part of the application process, future homebuyers will write a personal statement, explaining their current circumstance and how owning a Habitat home will improve upon those conditions.

Many different things can contribute to the need of a household and current housing issues will vary by family.

Some examples include:

  • Paying too much for rent
  • Overcrowded living space
  • Living with family or friends
  • Unsafe or unhealthy environments.

Homebuyers cannot exceed the maximum Area Median Income related to the size of their household. (See image above.)

Ability to Pay

Prospective homeowners will need to get a pre-approval for a fixed-term, fixed-rate mortgage from a third-party lender (FDIC insured or DFI verified).

Applicant’s monthly recurring debt payments should not exceed 13% of the household’s gross income.

Within six months of acceptance to the program, applicants must make a $1,000 earnest money payment toward their new home.

The mortgage for Habitat homes is set at no more than 30% of a household’s monthly income, including mortgage, property taxes, and insurance.

Willingness to Partner

Future homeowners partner with Habitat in a number of ways, including:

  • Investing a minimum of 100 sweat equity hours within 12 months, building your prospective home, community, and/or in volunteering in the Habitat Stores
  • Commitment to consistent and honest communication with Habitat staff
  • Attend required homebuyer education courses

Other Criteria to Consider:

  • A credit score of 620 or higher for both the applicant and co-applicant is needed to qualify for a mortgage.
  • Credit reports cannot have any open collections, judgement, or liens.
  • Any foreclosures must be at least seven years from the date of application.
  • Bankruptcies must be discharged at least 4 years from the date of application.

At the time of application, applicants must have lived or worked in Pierce County for the last 12 consecutive months.

Applicants cannot have owned property or a home(s) within the last 3 years.

The primary applicant must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

COA/HOA Membership

Habitat homes are typically part of a Home Owners’ Association (HOA) or a Condominium Owners’ Association (COA). While this means homes share private property, such as streets, playground, and community gardens, it also means that there will be monthly dues collected in order to maintain this shared property. Dues typically range from $50-$125/month, depending on the size and location of the property.

I’m ready. What’s next?

All prospective homebuyers with Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity must attend two classes:


When contacting Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity by email or phone, do not share vital personal information (e.g., annual income, pay rate, credit score, family size, employment history, or information relating to a lender application).

Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity is pledged to the letter and spirit of the U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity and lending throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, familial status, or national origin.

Homeownership Eligibility Requirements 2

Homeownership Eligibility Requirements 3

Homeownership Eligibility Requirements 5

Don't Lose Hope

"I just looked online and we went to the meeting. I didn’t think it would be possible. But the staff was very encouraging. It worked out. It was a long process - all of the sweat equity and the loan, the waiting… it was all hard. But it was worth it. Here we are."


Habitat Homeowner since 2017