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Habitat Home Ownership

Do you want to be updated when applications are open? Fill out our interest form below!

Habitat for Humanity Monterey Bay provides qualifying households the opportunity to purchase a new home through an affordable mortgage in Santa Cruz & Monterey Counties.

When you submit a pre-application, we will review your household's information to confirm basic criteria are met such as income, U.S. legal residency, and ensuring you are a first-time homebuyer. If you meet pre-application criteria, you will be invited to submit a full application which will include a credit check, background check, and further verification of income & application status. 

Program Guidelines


Habitat's homeownership program is for households earning between 50-80% of the area median income. The charts below show the current minimum and maximum gross annual income separated according to household size. These income limits are put out annually by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Santa Cruz County 2022 AMI Limits
Monterey County 2022 AMI Limits
Income Documentation

Upon submitting a pre-application, you will be required to submit proof of income. During application periods, the required income documents will be specified on the pre-application, but generally they include recent paystubs, benefit statements, and/or other forms of proof of income. 

Proof of U.S. Legal Residency

All applicant(s) whose name will be on the title must show proof of legal U.S. residency and at least one applicant must show proof of permanent legal U.S. residency.

First-time Homebuyer

To qualify for our homeownership program, applicants must be a first-time homebuyer according to HUD's definition. Generally, a first-time homebuyer is anyone who has had no ownership in a principal residence during the 3-year period ending on the date of purchase of the property. 


For applicants to qualify, their credit score can be no lower than 620. Habitat will be looking for a history of on-time payments, no judgements or credit collections, and no Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharged or dismissed within last 4 years or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy discharged or dismissed within last 2 years.


The number of people in a household, their ages, gender, and familial relationship (siblings, couples/spouses, etc.) will determine whether a family will qualify based on the home(s) available at any given moment.

Minimum occupancy

  • No fewer than one person per bedroom

  • Couples of any kinda are required to share a bedroom

Maximum occupancy

  • Two people per bedroom


All applicants must attend a Homeownership Orientation detailing everything you need to know about the specific homes available. Any scheduled orientations are available for sign up at this link. 


When qualified applicants have completed their pre-application, have been invited and approved to submit a full application, Habitat selects future homeowners according to these three criteria: ability to pay, need for housing, and willingness to partner.

Ability to Pay

We look at the income and credit of the applicants as described above. The selected household will be able to pay an affordable mortgage, a down payment of $1,500, and closing costs.

Need for Housing

We consider many factors contributing to a household's need for housing. Do your monthly housing costs exceed more than 30% of your monthly income? Is your current living situation overcrowded? Is your housing unsafe or unhealthy?

Willingness to Partner

Habitat's homeownership program requires selected households to complete Sweat Equity toward the purchase of their home. Partner households must contribute 500 hours of sweat equity into the construction of their home. This is done on the construction site, with reasonable accommodations made for health and disability reasons. 

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