Selection Process and Criteria

Applicant Selection Criteria

Applicants must:

  • Have gross income of at least $38,900 and a maximum that does not exceed the income limits based on household size (see the accompanying chart)

  • Be able to afford repayment of the interest-free (or low-interest) mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance expenses as well as current debt and other expenses.

  • Have debt that does not exceed 43% of gross income.

  • Currently and for the prior year either live or work in Hunterdon, Somerset, or one of the adjacent counties (Bucks, PA, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Union, or Warren)

  • Currently have a need for affordable housing due to, for example, living in inadequate housing or paying rent that is too high

  • Provide proof of citizenship or permanent residency for all members of the applicant’s family who will live in the house.

  • Give evidence of marital status (for legal reasons, we do not sell to individuals who are separated, but not divorced from their spouses).

  • Be out of bankruptcy for at least two years

  • Be out of foreclosure for at least two years

To qualify for a future Habitat project, your family income must be between these minimum and maximum levels, based on the number of people in the family:

Household size Minimum Income Maximum Income
2* $38,900** $43.200
3* $38,900** $48,600
4* $38,900** $53,300
5* $38,900** $58,300
6* $38,900** $62,600

Income ranges are based on 2018 HUD guidelines

** Minimum income level is higher than  HUD guidelines to ensure RVHFH homeowners have enough income to meet expected financial obligations and the certification requirements of local municipalities and funding sources for the homes.

* Housing rules prohibit an adult and a child, or a boy and a girl from occupying the same bedroom.

• Be willing to partner with RVHFH by working on the applicant’s home, and other homes (this work is called “Sweat Equity”), and compete the required Sweat Equity requirements before purchasing the house.
Sweat equity involves helping to build the home, and attending various workshops and fundraising events. Reasonable accommodations will be made for those who are physically unable to assist in the building process.

• Attend one of Central Jersey Housing Resource Center’s (CJHRC) excellent and free seminars:
Step by Step Homebuyer Education Course
First Time Home Buyers
ehome America Homebuyer Education

Applicant selection Process

  • All potential applicants must attend a Homeowner Orientation Meeting. These meetings are held at the beginning of each building project selection period, and include information about RVHFH, the particular project and the application process and deadlines. Applications are available at these meetings.

  • The applicants must submit the application with all required documentation by the due date announced at the Homeowner Orientation Meeting.

  • The Homeowner Selection Committee reviews the application, calculates your income, and reviews all financial information, including a credit report.
  • If an applicant qualifies financially, then a home visit is conducted. The need for housing and the applicant’s willingness to partner are discussed at this visit.

  • For all applicants that meet the criteria, as determined by the Homeowner Selection Committee, a criminal background, sex offender and OFAC check are conducted on all household members aged 16 and older. 

  • Applicants that do not present any issues in those areas are then presented to the Board of Directors. If approved by the Board, they are entered into a lottery for the available house(s).

NOTICE: Due to the nature of Habitat’s program requirements, we cannot help families in emergency situations.
For immediate housing assistance, call 2-1-1 or visit to connect to services through the NJ 2-1-1 Partnership.
In Somerset, you can also contact: SHIP (Samaritan Homeless Interim Program) 908-393-9545.
In Hunterdon, you can contact Hunterdon Helpline, at 908-782-4357 or 1-800-272-4630; or Family Promise at 908-782-2490.

Non-Discrimination Statement: We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. Policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are not barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status or national origin.