We empower individuals and families to become homeowners through our affordable homeownership program.

To qualify for our homeownership program and a mortgage with Habitat for Humanity, we evaluate four categories: residency, ability to pay, need, and willingness to partner.


Residency requires that you have lived in Winnebago County for at least one year at the time of application.

Ability to Pay

Ability to pay is determined by reviewing your annual income, credit report and debt to income ratio. The minimum and maximum annual incomes required for a Habitat for Humanity mortgage change yearly based on numbers released by Housing and Urban Development. For any questions about income limits, please contact our office. Your debt to income ratio is all your monthly debt payments including your house payment divided by your gross monthly income. The maximum debt to income ratio allowed for a Habitat for Humanity mortgage is 36%, as of 2019.


Need is defined as your need for adequate shelter. Our Family Selection Committee will visit your current home to assess the size, condition and cost of your home.

Willingness to Partner

Willingness to partner is defined by your willingness to perform the 200 hours of sweat equity needed to build your home. Families demonstrate sweat equity by keeping appointments, filling out paperwork accurately and on time and completing the hours within the period allotted for your home. 

In order to prepare for an upcoming Application Seminar, there a few steps we recommend you to take:

  • Review your credit report. You are entitled to one free credit report, once per year from www.annualcreditreport.com. You should check your report, review the items for accuracy, and find out what items are influencing your credit. It can take 6-12 months to establish or build your credit. Starting sooner rather than later on building your credit is highly recommended.  
  • Increase income if needed. Attending job fairs, sprucing up your resume, and applying for a new job may the best solution to increase your income.
  • Seek homebuyer counseling. A qualified pre-purchase counselor can help you determine your debt to income and readiness to buy a home. If you are struggling with your credit, we suggest meeting with a certified credit counselor to review your report and budget to develop a plan to improve your score. We have provided a list of resources you can contact to obtain assistance.