Homeownership

Lancaster Lebanon Habitat works in partnership with local families in need to provide decent, affordable homeownership opportunities. Our homebuyers contribute hundreds of hours of sweat equity towards the construction or renovation of their home, which includes working on the build site and taking classes that will strengthen self-sufficiency. The home is then sold to the family with affordable monthly mortgage payments.

Homeownership through Habitat may be right for you if you are prepared to:

  • Invest up to 500 hours of sweat equity into your Habitat home and the homes for other households.
  • Participate with Habitat for the entire time it will take to build your home.
  • Save money towards the down payment for your home.
  • Commit to a 20 to 30-year legal obligation of a mortgage and to make your monthly payments on time.
  • Handle other legal responsibilities involved in owning a home, such as paying insurance and real estate taxes.
  • Pay for all utilities, including electricity, gas, water/sewer and phone service.
  • Assume responsibility for repair work on your home to prevent future problems.
  • Maintain an emergency reserve of cash for unexpected repair work.

If you are ready to accept the challenges and costs that come with the advantages of homeownership, then you may be ready to own a home through Habitat!

Preliminary Qualifications

Ability to pay:

  • Must have sustainable income. This income may include earned income, public assistance, disability, SSI, SSDI, worker’s compensation, child support, alimony, retirement, pension, etc. Food stamps are not counted as income.
  • Debt must not be excessive
  • No liens or judgments
  • No back Child Support payments
  • Considered a first-time home buyer OR has not owned a home (single, duplex, mobile, etc.) in the last three years, unless through divorce or separation applicant is taken off of the original mortgage and note.
  • Consistent payment history with rent
  • Ability to make applicable down payment and closing costs
  • 3 years since Bankruptcies/Foreclosures
  • Must be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Must live or work in Lancaster or Lebanon County.

Amount of your debt:
How much money do you owe?

  • School loans
  • Car loans
  • Bank credit cards
  • Store credit cards or accounts
  • Utility bills
  • Medical bills

Income Eligibility:
Maximum household income based on household size and the location of the Habitat home. Visit our Income Limits Chart for the Lancaster, Elizabethtown and Lititz areas.

The minimum household income required depends on the specific project we are building at the time of application.


Need for Housing criteria:

  • Overcrowded living conditions.
  • Substandard living conditions. Poor physical condition of home.
  • Paying more than 30% of monthly gross income for housing expenses.
  • Denied a traditional mortgage.
  • Unsafe community within 3 blocks.
  • Have a need for handicapped accessibility.
  • Currently living in public housing, or Sec 8.

Willingness to partner criteria:

  • Returns application complete and on time.
  • Returns phone calls promptly and has consistent communication with the Habitat office.
  • Agrees to complete 500 hours of sweat equity.
  • Agrees to save toward 1% down payment.
  • Agrees to attend homeowner workshops.
  • Creates safe environment for neighbors.
  • Applicant is not found as a listed sex or violent offender on the PA State Police website.

Click here to fill out a preliminary application for homeownership. If you do not receive a response from our family services manager within one week of submitting your pre-application, please call our office at 717.392.8836.