Habitat Partner Family Program Manual
Dear Partner Family,
Congratulations for being selected to partner with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for you and your family. We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to working with you.
Every hour you contribute during this process is an investment in your future for you and your family. Whether that time is spent in a workshop, on site, helping out at our ReStore or meeting with volunteers, you and your family will be proud of the fact that you have a place to call home where you can welcome friends and family for years to come!
Volunteers, staff, donors and other Habitat families are here to support and cheer you on! Be sure to utilize their knowledge and excitement as questions arise. Each person wants to help you accomplish the wonderful thrill of owning your own home! You have worked hard to get this far and we are proud of you for going after your dream- by working together, we will build you a home!
This Homeowner’s Manual will help guide you through the overall process of becoming a Habitat Homeowner and will be a good resource for you when you need information regarding sweat equity, the construction process, documents and what to expect once you move in.
The path towards homeownership through Habitat is a path of breakthroughs and vulnerable moments. We are honored to share this journey with you.
DeeDee & Catalina
Habitat Homeowner Services
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” Brené Brown
Habitat for Humanity International has more than 1,300 local affiliates in the United States and more than 70 national organizations around the world. Together, we have helped to build or repair more than 800,000 houses and serve more than 4 million people worldwide.
Habitat for Humanity International was founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller with the vision of a world in which everyone has a decent place to live. For more information, check out www.habitat.org.
The following Sections are a compilation of the Habitat Program Overview Responsibilities and Requirements. Each adult in the family must read each section, complete and turn in the section Assignments, preferably in the order suggested by the tab number. Even though we understand everyone has a different pace in tackling the work, our experience shows that one assignment per month is a good pace to keep engagement high and enough to maintain life balance. The time you dedicate to reading and completing the assignment is tallied with other activities for a grand total of 50 hours.
Any questions, do not hesitate to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-385-5387
What is Sweat Equity?
Sweat equity is Habitat’s most valuable tool in building the partnership between partner families and affiliate stakeholders. The term refers to the actual hands-on involvement of Habitat partner families in the construction of their own homes, as well as participation in other Habitat activities.
Sweat equity represents a partner family’s physical and emotional investment in the mission of Habitat and is designed to meet three important goals:
- Partnership: Sweat equity provides meaningful interaction between homeowners, affiliate representatives, and Habitat volunteers. Habitat for Humanity is not only about building houses; our mission extends to uplifting individuals and families and building community. The best way for partner families and volunteers to get to know one another is to work alongside each other.
- Pride in Ownership: Habitat is not a charity or a give-away program. We offer a hand up rather than a handout. Habitat works with, rather than for, individuals and families in need to build their own homes and a brighter future. By working on their own homes, partner families get full ownership of the home ownership process.
- Development of Skills and Knowledge: On the build site, partner families should gain a real understanding of the construction of their home and of maintenance issues they will face after occupancy. Through required education classes, partner families will gain skills that will be useful throughout their lives.
NOTE: Sweat equity should not and will not be assigned a dollar value. If a partner family is deselected or otherwise unexpectedly terminate the partnership before purchasing the home, they will not be compensated in any way for sweat equity hours performed.
You will be introduced to how to sign up for many of these hours at your Volunteer Orientation where you will learn about Volunteer Hub.
Opportunities for Sweat Equity
Sweat equity may include:
- Working on the construction sites
- Volunteering at the ReStore
- Raising funds and other public relations activities and events
- Classes and workshops as required by Habitat
Sweat Equity Hours will be expected in the following manner:
40 hours @ Construction (reserved 8 hours for your own home) Tracked through Volunteer Hub
35 hours @ Restore Tracked through Volunteer Hub
25 hours @ Events Tracked through Volunteer Hub
50 hours @ Other* = Classes (includes NeighborImpact), mandatory meetings, budget reviews, spending tracking, transportation, etc.
= 150 hours per adult (18 years and older) in the household
*Other (50) hours are awarded when all classes and requirements are complete. To track hours you will be required to submit the 50 hour sweat equity credit log monthly.
+ 100 Donated hours per household
Donated hours: A minimum of 100 hours can be contributed toward your sweat equity by other people such as family, friends, co-workers, etc.
At least 50% of donated hours should be by new volunteers to Habitat. So, invite your co-workers, extended family and friends!
In summary, the sweat equity requirement per household size is:
Single adult family: 150 hours of sweat equity + 100 hours donated
2 adult family: 300 hours sweat equity + 100 hours donated
3 adult family: 450 hours sweat equity + 100 hours donated
Your children can be involved in the sweat equity process too, however, it is not a requirement.
The maximum amount of hours that can be contributed by children to family hours per household is 20 hours.
Children at the Job Site:
- Children 16 years and older are allowed to work and be on the work site during construction without guardian supervision with a signed “Volunteer waiver” by parent/guardian. Note: No children under 16 years of age are allowed on site while the parent(s) are performing sweat equity hours.
- Children under 16: Examples of hours that may count toward sweat equity hours include:
- Writing thank you letters or cards
- Assist with landscaping days or office clean up
- Report Cards/Grades:
- Submitting Report Cards (A=3 hours, B=2 hours, C=1 hour)
- For elementary school age students, per report card: 4 E’s = 3 hours; 5 S’s = 3 hours, 3 5’s = 3 hours; 5 4’s = 3 hours. And, because making an improvement is important, an N to an S or E from one report card to the next = 2 hours.
● E – Exceeds expectations
● S – Meets expectations
● N – Needs improvement
● X – Consistently demonstrates
● Performance levels: 1-5
● Proficient – 4
● Advanced- 5
Minimum Monthly Sweat Equity Requirement
Each adult (over 18 years of age) in the household will be required to complete a minimum of 8 hours of sweat equity per month until their hours are completed. These hours will only come from VolunteerHub scheduled activities.
Partner Families will also be required to work a minimum of 8 sweat equity hours on their assigned home. This can include construction, greeting volunteers on site, site prep and clean up, and the final home inspection before move-in date.
Getting Started with your Sweat Equity Hours
Attend a Volunteer Orientation, usually held weekly at the Habitat main office, or one that might be scheduled specifically for Partner Families.
Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at 541-312-6709 to attend.
You will be introduced to the online volunteer sign up system, as well as given a tracking log for occasional hours that will be recorded and turned in monthly.
In order to ensure that Partner Families complete their obligations and abide by Habitat program policies and procedures in a timely, fair, and efficient manner, Habitat for Humanity has implemented a Three-strike system.
- You will receive a letter sent as a warning, pointing out the area(s) in which you have failed to meet your responsibilities under program guidelines as outlined in the Partnership Agreement.
- You will receive a second letter as a more severe warning that you have once again failed to meet your responsibilities.
- Prior to scheduling further sweat equity opportunities, you MUST meet with a member of the Homeowner Services Department to discuss your ability to move forward in the partnership program.
- At this point, you may need to assess your own level of commitment and ability to successfully complete the partnership program. If you feel that you cannot get back on track for any reason, you have the option of voluntarily withdrawing.
Third (and last) Strike
- You will receive a third strike letter advising that you have failed to meet your obligations under the program guidelines. Upon your third strike, the Homeowner Services Department Staff will formally recommend to the Homeowner Selection Committee that you be deselected from the partnership program. You will be given an opportunity to write a letter of objection to the deselection that will be presented to the Homeowner Selection Committee prior to their vote. The decision of the Homeowner Selection Committee will be final.
Offenses that Lead to Strikes
- Failure to complete the 8 hour minimum monthly requirement of sweat equity.
- Failure to complete the 8 hour minimum sweat equity requirement on assigned home.
- Repeated failure to show up for scheduled work at a construction site, Habitat events or ReStore.
- Not adhering to the volunteer code of conduct
- Failure to attend or arriving late for scheduled meetings with Habitat staff without prior notification.
- Failure to update your contact information with Habitat when you have a change in phone number, address, and/or email address, resulting in staff having difficulty reaching you when needed.
- Failure to reply to communications (email, calls, texts) in a timely manner
Habitat is strongly committed to the relationship between the organization and the Partner Family. The goal of Habitat is to work in partnership with the Partner Family and to prepare the Partner Family for successful home ownership. In the spirit of mutual cooperation, the Partner Family also has significant responsibilities and is expected to take the role seriously. If certain criteria are not met, it will be seen as lack of willingness to partner and could result in termination of the partnership (deselection).
According to Habitat for Humanity International, “deselection” is defined as “terminating the partnership between the time of board approval and the closing/occupancy of the home”.
Grounds for deselection include:
- Fraud or misrepresentation of material facts or information during the application process or after selection.
- “Failure to Partner” by failing to complete the requirements outlined in the “Partnership Agreement” (see sample by following this link)
- Negative change in financial circumstances that would significantly impact ability to pay.
- -5% income decrease from reported household income at time of program application
- Becoming unemployed while in the program: The family will have one year to regain qualified income through acceptable sources of income or benefits. After one year, if adequate income has not been secured, the Partner Family will be de-selected but all sweat equity hours will be saved for up to two years.
- Presence on a sexual offender database.
- Conduct not aligned with the Habitat Volunteer Conduct Agreement/ Volunteer Waiver
Prospective homeowners may also choose to deselect themselves at any point during the home-ownership process.
Should you re-apply for the program, your sweat equity hours will be saved for 24 months.
Matched Savings Program
Partner Families need to apply for an Individual Development Account (IDA) offered through NeighborImpact.
Note: the application process to be approved for the Matched Savings account can take 4 weeks.
This is a matched savings program that allows partner families to save money to cover their closing costs. These programs will match your savings, 3-1. Partner Families will be required to attend financial classes as required by these programs. These classes will provide helpful information regarding credit cards, loans, budgeting, home maintenance, lending, and other important information pertaining to home ownership. Habitat for Humanity partners with NeighborImpact to fulfill this requirement.
Classes consist of 4 financial planning courses at 1.5 hours each, and one 8-hour homeownership course.
- Financial Planning & Money Management
- Saving & Investing
- Financial Institutions, Taxes & Insurance
- Understanding & Managing Credit
- HUD approved Homebuyer Course
Note: Even if you do not qualify or if there are no funds available to participate in the matched savings program, you will be required to attend the courses. As a Habitat partner family, you can apply for a scholarship towards the Financial Fitness Classes. The 8-hour Homebuyer course has a higher fee per household. Habitat will reimburse you for up to $45.
Savings Account Contact Information:
NeighborImpact, Individual Development Account (IDA) – (541)318-7506.
Once approved and enrolled in the savings program, Partner Families are responsible for turning in a copy of their account statement to the Family Services Department each month.
What should be my savings goal for the matched savings account?
You should aim to cover as much of the closing costs of your home as possible. Closing costs are one-time fees that you, the homebuyer, will be required to pay at the closing of escrow.
Approximate Closing Costs:
$2,800 One year of Property Taxes
$500 One year of Homeowners Insurance
$600 Two months “cushion”
$900 Application Fee (State Bond Program)
$3000-4000 Points (1.5% of loan)
$500 Closing cost fees
How Much Do I Need to Save?
You will need to save approximately $2,000 per household. (You will be matched three times the amount you save).
- The minimum amount of time to receive a match is 6 months + 1 day, from 6 months to less than 12 months, the maximum savings matched is $1,000 – receiving $3,000.
- From 12 months + 1 day, maximum savings match is $2,000 – receiving $6,000.
- After 24 months +1 day, maximum savings match $3,000 – receiving $9,000
Even if you do not participate in the matched savings program, you are expected to save at least $2,000 (and make monthly deposits toward this amount).
Timely Need for Income verification
Because your mortgage payment is based on your gross income at time of credit/home loan application, we will need quarterly submission of your pay stubs/income verification or PNL report if you are self-employed. See the annual calendar for these dates.
The logging sheet for accruing the additional 50 hours should be turned in between the end of the month and before the 10th of the following month. Please ask staff for additional copies if needed or download your copy here.
Homeowner Education Meetings
These monthly meetings are designed to bring Partner Families together in order to share important information and cover topics related to Habitat homeownership. You will receive a schedule of these meetings in advance and attendance is required.
Partner Families are responsible for turning in their “other” sweat equity report, assignments and monthly budget prior to the 10th of the following month.
Failure to notify Habitat staff in advance if you are unable to attend a meeting may result in a strike. These meetings and classes are separate from the ones you will attend at NeighborImpact as a part of your matched savings agreement.
All classes and meetings count toward sweat equity time and this time will be awarded to you after all requirements have been met.
Each month you will be expected to turn in the following to the Homeowner Services Department:
- Budget (we have provided you with a copy of the budget form you should use while you are in the program, to download click here)
- “Other” Sweat Equity Time sheet
- Savings Account Statement or deposit slip
Pay stubs (or verification of income such as Profit and Loss statement) will be required quarterly (see your annual education calendar)
Please download the Assignment to be able to save after completing. You can either print and submit in person to Habitat Homeownership Staff or, email as an attachment to email@example.comClick to Open & Download Assignment One
You will need a paper and pen/pencil in order to read through this article
Discover Your Personal Core Values
Most of us don’t know our values. We don’t understand what’s most important to us. Instead, we focus on what society, culture, and media, value.
Can you articulate the top 5 to 10 values that are most important to you?
Without undergoing a discovery process, it’s challenging to identify your personal core values. It’s easy to speculate and idealize what you should value. But knowing and accepting what you value, takes effort.
STEP 1: Start with a Beginner’s Mind
It’s too easy to presume that we know the answer at the start and to, therefore, never embark on a creative, personal discovery process.
Adopt the mind of a beginner—someone with no preconceived notions of what is—to give you access to inner truths to which your conscious mind is yet unaware. Take a deep breath and empty your mind. Remember that your conscious mind doesn’t have all the answers. Create a space for new insights and revelations to emerge. Getting in right mental and emotional state is an essential first step.
STEP 2: Create Your List of Personal Values
Arriving at a concise and short list of personal values can be a daunting task. You can find lists online with almost 400 values to choose from. However, it is best if you can come up with your own first. Values are best discovered and revealed. If you start with a list, your conscious mind will test which values appear “better” than others. That said, if you’re not familiar with working with values, you can scan a list of values (below, at end of this section) to get a sense of your range of options.
To help you uncover your own personal core values, here are three processes you can try:
1) Peak Experiences
- Consider a meaningful moment—a peak experience that stands out.
- What was happening to you?
- What was going on?
- What values were you honoring at this time?
2) Suppressed Values
- Now, go in the opposite direction; consider a time when you got angry, frustrated, or upset.
- What was going on? What were you feeling? Now flip those feelings around.
- What value is being suppressed?
3) Code of Conduct
- What’s most important in your life? Beyond your basic human needs, what must you have in your life to experience fulfillment?
- Creative self-expression? A strong level of health and vitality? A sense of excitement and adventure? Surrounded by beauty? Always learning?
- What are the personal values you must honor or a part of you withers?
My initial Values List: (write on a piece of paper)
STEP 3: Chunk Your Personal Values into Related Groups
Combining all the answers from step 2, you now have a master list of personal values. Maybe there are between 20 and 40 values on your list. That’s too many to be actionable.
Your next step is to group these values under related themes. Values like accountability, responsibility, and timeliness are all related. Values like learning, growth, and development relate to each other. Connection, belonging, and intimacy are related too. Group them together.
My Related Values: (write on a piece of paper)
STEP 4: Highlight the Central Theme of Each Value Group
If you have a group of values that include honesty, transparency, integrity, candor, directness, and truth, select a word that best represents the group.
For example, integrity might work as a central theme for the values listed above. You can keep the other words in the group in parentheses to give your primary value more context. You’ll use them again in step 6.
Central Themes for my values are: (write on a piece of paper)
STEP 5: Determine Your Top Personal Core Values (5-10)
Now comes the hardest part. After completing step 4, you still may have a sizable list of values. Here are a few questions to help you whittle your list down:
- What values are essential to your life?
- What values represent your primary way of being?
- What values are essential to supporting your inner self?
As a unique individual, you possess certain strengths and weaknesses. Your values matter most to you. How many core values should you end up with? Too few and you won’t capture all the unique dimensions of your being. Too many and you’ll forget them or won’t take advantage of them. While the number of core values differs for each person, the magic range seems to be between 5 and 10.
Rank them in the order of importance. This is often the most challenging part.
You may need to do this step in multiple sittings.
After doing one round of ranking put it aside and “sleep on it.” Revisit your ranking the next day and see how it sits with you. Then, go through the process again.
My 5-10 Core Values in order of Importance are: (using the list of possible values below, write down the value that you consider high on your list, on a piece of paper)
List of possible Values by category
- Accountability, Candor, Commitment, Dependability, Dignity, Honesty, Honor, Responsibility, Sincerity, Transparency, Trust, Trustworthy, Truth
- Acceptance, Comfort, Compassion, Contentment, Empathy, Grace
- Accomplishment, Capable, Challenge, Challenge ,Competence, Credibility, Determination, Development, Drive, Effectiveness, Empower, Endurance, Excellence, Famous, Greatness, Growth, Hard work, Improvement, Influence, Intensity, Leadership, Mastery, Motivation, Performance, Persistence, Potential, Power, Productivity, Professionalism, Prosperity, Recognition, Results-oriented, Risk, Significance, Skill, Skillfulness, Status, Success, Talent, Victory, Wealth, Winning
- Brilliance, Clever, Common sense, Decisiveness, Foresight, Genius, Insightful, Knowledge, Learning, Logic, Openness, Realistic, Reason, Reflective, Smart, Thoughtful, Understanding, Vision, Wisdom, Gratitude, Happiness, Hope, Inspiring, Irreverent, Joy, Kindness, Love, Optimism, Passion, Peace, Poise, Respect, Reverence, Satisfaction, Serenity, Thankful, Tranquility, Welcoming
- Adaptability, Altruism, Balance, Charity, Communication, Community, Connection, Consciousness, Contribution, Cooperation, Courtesy, Devotion, Equality, Ethical, Fairness, Family, Fidelity, Friendship, Generosity, Giving, Goodness, Harmony, Humility, Loyalty, Maturity, Meaning, Selfless, Sensitivity, Service, Sharing, Spirit, Stewardship, Support, Sustainability, Teamwork, Tolerance, Unity
- Creation, Curiosity, Discovery, Exploration, Expressive, Imagination, Uniqueness, Wonder, Innovation, Inquisitive, Intuitive, Openness, Originality
- Ambition, Assertiveness, Boldness, Confidence, Dedication, Discipline, Ferocious, Fortitude, Persistence, Power, Restraint, Rigor, Self-reliance, Temperance, Toughness, Vigor, Will
- Independence, Individuality, Liberty
- Bravery, Conviction, Fearless, Valor
- Accuracy, Careful, Certainty, Cleanliness, Consistency, Control, Decisive, Economy, Justice
- Amusement, Enthusiasm, Experience, Fun, Playfulness, Recreation, Spontaneous, Surprise
- Alertness, Attentive, Awareness, Beauty, Calm, Clear, Concentration, Focus, Silence, Simplicity, Solitude, Lawful, Moderation, Organization, Security, Stability, Structure, Thorough, Timeliness
- Energy, Vitality
3. BUILDING YOUR NET WORTH AND AVOIDING DEBT
3.1 Ways to Get Money
Should I Borrow Money?
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. The adage is as true for borrowing money as it is for poking yourself in the eye with a sharp stick. But, unlike eye poking, which has few benefits, borrowing has good points and bad.
“Borrowing where you are not overextending yourself is good borrowing,” says Patricia Hasson, president of Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Delaware Valley.
“Bad borrowing is borrowing at a very high percentage rate. If you are borrowing and paying 18 percent interest, you have to evaluate whether it is worth it,” she says.
Anyone can become a bad borrower using almost any available instrument. But some products lend themselves to bad borrowing more readily due to fairly egregious terms and conditions. Keep in mind, though, that the potential for abuse and misuse exists with just about all loans.
Watch the 10 minute video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHTMuHvmarU
Car title loans
Watch the 4-minute video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr9vSWVXR2M
Tax refund anticipation loans
Watch the 2-minute video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IVOL_iy3ZQ
3.2 Co-signing a loan
You may already have a mortgage, a car loan and credit card bills of your own, but co-signing will let you enjoy all the responsibility of another financial obligation with none of the benefits.
“If you’re helping someone, probably one of your children, establish credit and you are comfortable in their ability to pay, then it might be OK,” says Patricia Hasson, president of Consumer Counseling Services of Delaware Valley.
“I would make sure that I had enough room in my budget to pay it,” she says.
If you can get one of your worst enemies to co-sign a loan for you, then it may one of the best ways to get revenge. All too often co-signers find themselves left holding the bag long after the other person on the loan has stopped paying it due to other more pressing debt obligations.
3.3 Other Types of Predatory Lending Practices
While there is some dispute about what constitutes a predatory lending practice, a number of actions are often cited as such — including a failure to disclose information or disclosing false information, risk-based pricing and inflated charges and fees. There are other predatory practices such as loan packing, loan flipping, asset-based lending and reverse redlining.
These practices, either individually or in concert with each other, create a cycle of debt that causes severe financial hardship on families and individuals.
- Inadequate or False Disclosure
The lender hides or misrepresents the true costs, risks and/or appropriateness of a loan’s terms, or the lender changes the loan terms after the initial offer.
- Risk-Based Pricing
While all lenders depend on some form of risk-based pricing — tying interest rates to credit history — predatory lenders abuse the practice by charging very high interest rates to high-risk borrowers who are most likely to default.
- Inflated Fees and Charges
Fees and costs (e.g., appraisals, closing costs, document preparation fees) are much higher than those charged by reputable lenders, and are often hidden in fine print.
- Loan Packing
Unnecessary products like credit insurance — which pays off the loan if a homebuyer dies — are added into the cost of a loan.
- Loan Flipping
The lender encourages a borrower to refinance an existing loan into a larger one with a higher interest rate and additional fees.
- Asset-Based Lending
Borrowers are encouraged to borrow more than they should when a lender offers a refinance loan based on their amount of home equity, rather than on their income or ability to repay.
- Reverse Redlining
The lender targets limited-resource neighborhoods that conventional banks may shy away from. Everyone in the neighborhood is charged higher rates to borrow money, regardless of credit history, income or ability to repay.
- Balloon Mortgages
A borrower is convinced to refinance a mortgage with one that has lower payments upfront but excessive (balloon) payments later in the loan term. When the balloon payments cannot be met, the lender helps to refinance again with another high-interest, high-fee loan.
- Negative Amortization
This occurs when a monthly loan payment is too small to cover even the interest, which gets added to the unpaid balance. It can result in a borrower owing substantially more than the original amount borrowed.
- Abnormal Prepayment Penalties
A borrower who tries to refinance a home loan with one that offers better terms can be assessed an abusive prepayment penalty for paying off the original loan early. Up to 80% of subprime mortgages have abnormally high prepayment penalties.
- Mandatory Arbitration
The lender adds language to a loan contract making it illegal for a borrower to take future legal action for fraud or misrepresentation. The only option, then, for an abused borrower is arbitration, which generally puts the borrower at a disadvantage.Click to open & download assignment 3
One of the best ways to be successful with your money is to know where your money goes each month. Many people fall into financial trouble but don’t understand why. This is because they miss the basic financial management principle of budgeting.Making a budget and tracking your spending can feel a bit like having strict parents and, it seems like your budget starts by telling you what to do. Then your spend-tracking sheet comes along to shame you or punish you when you don’t follow your budget.However, this perception of budgeting and tracking spending is misguided: Creating a budget actually gives you freedom.
A budget gives you the freedom to tailor your current spending practices as you see fit. It helps you adjust them in a way that ensures you are managing your money in line with your financial goals. In this section you will learn quick guidelines to prepare your own category budget, according to your lifestyle.
Monthly Budget Percentages by Category
Your budgeting percentages may vary from these suggestions due to the size of your family. The area you live in (cost of living varies from city to city) and what your financial goals are will have an impact too. These are percentages of your net or take-home income. Remember that it’s important to tailor your budget to fit you/your family’s personal needs and lifestyle.
How to calculate the percentage: Add up the category total and divide by your monthly net (take-home) income then multiply by 100 to get the percentage.
For example, Jan spent $450 on groceries and her monthly net income is $2,800 then $450/$2800 = .1607 x 100 = 16.07%. A little high, Jan.
Now, let’s do a little practice – using the budget wheel below complete assignment 4. Don’t forget to save the pdf to your computer in order to email or print upon completion.
Click to open & download assignment 4
If you want to win with money, you have to change your actions with money. The way you do that is to make a budget and then stick to it. The way you do that is to track your expenses. Maybe this is new terminology for you—but don’t be intimidated. We can give you the information you need to move forward in your money journey (with confidence!) while moving away from whatever’s been holding you back.
Steps to Track Your Expenses
Adapted from Everydollar.com – We liked the way they use layman terms to make budgeting fun and applicable. They will promote their app use down below, there are many apps available to track your expenses, so we think it is harmless to just take a look at what they offer. Lets keep going!
Step 1: Create a Budget
You won’t be able to track expenses without one. What’s a budget? It’s your monthly money plan—your expected income and expenses put in categories for the whole month.
A budget doesn’t control you; YOU control it. It’s a guide you set up to make sure your money is doing what you’re telling it to do.
There are three basic steps to setting up a budget:
- Write down your monthly income.
- Write out your monthly expenses.
- Start with food, shelter (your mortgage or rent plus utilities), clothing, and transportation.
- Once those are covered, list out all other expenses like entertainment, eating out, pan flute lessons, television streaming services, gym memberships, giving, saving, etc.
- If you’re new to budgeting and not sure where to start, check out our recommended budget percentages.
- Make sure your income minus your expenses equals zero.
- If the math doesn’t work out, you need to adjust your categories until you get that zero-based budget.
We could talk about tips for setting up budgets all day long, but that’s a quick summary.
Step 2: Record Your Expenses
This action is key in communicating to your partner and yourself what money is left to use in all those categories you set up through step one. And that brings us to the next step.
Step 3: Watch Those Amounts
Tracking your expenses can help make sure you don’t overspend in any area. When you enter an expense, make sure you keep track of how much is left in that category.
If you’re married, make sure both of you are recording all spending and checking in with each other before you spend. This is great for accountability and communication. That way neither one of you will ever say, “I didn’t know you spent most of the entertainment budget buying tickets to the wax museum. I wanted to sign us up for a couple’s beatbox class.”
Budgets are blown when you don’t track and watch your expenses.
Four Ways to Track Your Expenses
Pencil & Paper
Don’t dismiss old school methods. Plenty of people have and still do stick to a paper budget. The biggest benefit here (besides not needing access to technology) is that physically writing things down requires an active brain. Active brains are really quite helpful when you’re dealing with money.
The inferior side to this method is pretty clear: Most of us don’t keep up with paper copies of stuff these days. When you get a receipt, you have to hold on to it until you can get it to your budget and write it down. Sometimes receipts are misplaced. Sometimes the cash you spent on a quick trip to the dollar store is forgotten. Sometimes a few debit card purchases aren’t written down quickly by one spouse or the other. Any of these communication breakdowns can lead to a busted budget.
This expense tracking method is set up a “pay cash in person” method. You can auto draft things like retirement, mortgage and some utilities. You might send checks or make a debit card payment online for other bills. But the expenses you pay for in person become cash only.
At the start of the month, you put cash in envelopes labeled with budget lines. Groceries, entertainment and eating out are three great examples. Take your “groceries” envelope with you when you head to the grocery store. When the envelope is empty, your spending stops. Your money is essentially tracking itself.
Let’s face it, though, paying in cash can sometimes be inconvenient. Who wants to go inside the gas station to prepay at the register? Who likes counting out or keeping up with coins? Plus, with the rise of e-commerce, paying cash isn’t always an option. Still, this is a powerful way to track expenses, because physically watching the money leave the envelope inspires a whole new level of responsibility.
It’s time to talk digital. Plenty of people are spreadsheet fanatics, and they’ll talk to you about its perks until the end of time. The plethora of templates, the ability to customize your budget, the beauty of having the math done for you on the screen—these are a few benefits to spreadsheet budgets.
But those spreadsheet enthusiasts aren’t always married to fellow spreadsheet enthusiasts. Couples should be in open communication about their spending; don’t let spreadsheets come between your happily ever after.
The second disadvantage to spreadsheets is getting to your computer to keep up with your spending. If you grow lax on these daily visits to enter expenses, your budget isn’t really a budget—it’s just a spreadsheet full of good intentions. Good intentions are where you start, but good intentions don’t accomplish money goals on their own.
You probably spend a fair amount of time on your computer, so maybe you think spreadsheets will work for you. But you know what’s always by your side? Your phone. Which brings us to the next—and, we boldly declare, BEST—option for tracking your expenses. Drum roll, please.
Budgeting Apps (This is the part where EveryDollar sells their app, just click to see if you find this option suitable)
Like, EveryDollar. With this free budget app, you can create a budget in minutes. You can log in on your phone and track the expenses mere moments after they occur. Don’t leave the parking lot of the dollar store without recording that you spent $3 and tax on a birthday balloon, gift bag and stuffed clownfish you hope your toddler niece will think is Nemo.
As you can see, the convenience of a budgeting app is its greatest asset.
Of course, EveryDollar boasts even more. Customize your templates to make them fit your spending and saving needs. Set up funds to meet big money goals. And sync your budget with your partner’s devices, so you guys are in constant commerce communication.
The two things to keep in mind with a budgeting app both stem from one key word: consistency. If you know you’ll forget to add in your spending, we can help. Some apps can link to your bank account and stream your transactions for you. All you do is drag and drop your expenses to the correct categories. Some people feel completely comfortable sharing their banking information through the internet, some prefer never do that. You do what works for you and your family.
No matter the method, you have to make tracking your expenses a habit to win with money. If you aren’t watching where your money is going, you’ll always be wondering where it went. But when you set yourself up with the right tools and know the work is worth it (which we totally verify from personal experience), you’ll move beyond good intentions into financial victories.
QUICK 5 TIP SELF CHECK-IN
- Have you filled in your net income and expenses completely?
- If self-employed:
- Are you using a Profit and Loss statement? If not, click here to download PNL template
- Do you have a separate bank account for your business? Let Homeowner Services staff know if you need some coaching in this area.
3. Is there an excess or shortfall in cash at month end? If so,
“Do you feel you could be setting aside more into your savings each month?”
- “Are there any variable expenses that you would like to adjust?”
4. If money always seems tight (or short) each month ask yourself:
“Have you ever done a cash flow budget?” Ask Homeowner Services staff for training and samples, if needed. Or click here to download.
5. Did you take a close look at your bank account statements when tracking your monthly expenses?
- Did you notice excessive bank account charges or banking fees?
Do you understand how to read your pay stub?
If not, click watch the “What the Heck! Pay Check?” Video © First Federal Bank of Kansas City
Click to open & download assignment 5
Here are four steps you can apply to any financial goal setting exercise:
Step 1: Identify and write down your financial goals, whether they are saving to send your kids to college or University, buying a new car, saving for a down payment on a house, going on vacation, paying off credit card debt, or planning for you and your spouse’s retirement.
Step 2: Break each financial goal down into several short-term (less than 1 year), medium-term (1 to 3 years) and long-term (5 years or more) goals; which will make this process easier.
Step 3: Educate yourself and do your research. Read Money magazine or a book about investing, or surf the Internet’s investment websites.
Step 4: Evaluate your progress as often as needed. Review your progress monthly, quarterly, or at any other interval you feel comfortable with, but at least semi-annually, to determine if your program is working.
If you’re not making a satisfactory amount of progress on a particular goal, re-evaluate your approach and make changes as necessary.
Sometimes when people write down their goals, they discover that some of the goals are too broad in meaning and nearly impossible to reach, while others may seem smaller in scope and easier to achieve. Break your goals down into three separate time categories.
By placing a time frame on your goals you are motivating yourself to get started and helping to allow you the chance to succeed.
Just remember that you can adjust the time frame whenever you want to.
Long-term goals (over 5 years) are those things that won’t happen overnight, no matter how hard you work to achieve them. They may take a long time to accomplish (hence the reason they are called long term goals), so give yourself a reasonable amount of time, that is based on your best estimates of what it will take to achieve them.
Examples of long-term goals might include college education for a child, retirement plan or purchasing a home. Whatever the case, these goals generally require longer commitments and often more money in the end.
Intermediate-term goals (1-5 years) are the type of goals that can’t be executed overnight but might not take many years to accomplish. Examples might include purchasing/replacing a car, getting an education or certification, or paying off your debts like credit cards etc. (depending on the amount).
Short-term goals (within one year) generally take one year or less to achieve, based on the date the task is needed, the total estimated cost, and the required savings.
What are your goals?
To find out, you need to make up a list, decide which timeline your goal fits into, detail the steps necessary to achieve your goals, then take action toward reaching those goals. It’s that simple.
You might be wondering where to start with your financial goal setting plan. These are some basic tips to help you in making the best choices for you.
After looking at these tips, it is best for you to go out and do some research to find the method(s) that suit you best.
- Begin by taking 5%-10% out of each paycheck and put it in a savings account
- Look into different investment strategies such as IRA’s, stocks, RRSP’s, mutual Funds, personal investments etc. There are many more and all can assist you in short and long term goals.
- Start making a budget for yourself that leaves you with some extra money and follow it
- Use your coupons; that is why they are there. It seems like small savings, but added together you could save 20-30 dollars at each trip to the market
- Shop around for bargains
- Do not live outside of your means
- Work with a credit counselor to get help in lowering your monthly expenses and get rid of your debt. NeighborImpact offers great classes, resources and one-on-one counseling by credit experts to help you get there.
These are just some of the things that you can do when beginning your financial goal setting plan. The steps to setting goals successfully don’t change, only the methods that you use to go about it. For example: when it is career wise, work to get noticed; for relationships, work on maintaining your intimacy or getting it back; in financial goal setting, work to save and invest money etc.
Review the following and plan saving goals for necessary household items:
Considering Purchasing Options
For first-time homeowners, it may make sense to buy used appliances, housewares, and lawn tools. The key is to take your time and do your research. You want to be sure that the used item is actually less expensive and reliable. Bend and Redmond Habitat ReStores are great resources. Ask Family Services to receive your Discount Card to receive 20% off your purchase.
Go slowly when buying items—even used items. Purchases that could be put off should be put off, at least until you have a clearer picture of your new expenses.
- Research online and ask around to find out which brands are the most reliable.
- Consider buying used from a business or individual (but consider the cost of delivery and whether a warranty is available)
- Consider buying a floor model or scratch-and-dent item. Imperfections reduce prices.
Tip: A used appliance that lasts only a few years will still give you time to save for the model you really want.
Let friends and family know you need certain items. They may have items gathering dust that they will give you or sell to you at a low cost.
Visit garage sales and flea markets. Inspect items carefully, then bargain over the price. Think creatively. A tablecloth from a yard sale could make a unique window treatment.
-Be sure the item will start.
-Check the condition of important parts, such as the motor and blades.
-Request a test drive.
-Ask if the item comes with any paperwork, such as an owner’s manual.
-Ask a knowledgeable friend to come along.
Tip: Keep seasons in mind. There may be little need to buy a lawn mower or gardening tools in the late fall, which gives you time to research and save. A snow shovel, however, may be in order.
Most first-time homeowners are looking forward to owning their own home and bringing a new member to the family. The Habitat trust deed included with your Habitat loan documents, the CCR’s (covenant, conditions and restrictions) recorded on your home and/or the language on the Home Owners Association’s covenant, as well as the City Codes list detailed restrictions of the types of pets and how many are allowed per household. Please always refer to these documents before getting excited about moving forward with adopting or buying your new family member.
It is always helpful to include the cost of owning and caring for a pet in your monthly budget, as we know they could come to be a high initial payment depending if you adopt or buy; and down the road, whether you sign up for pet insurance, spay or neuter costs, food, license fee, vaccinations and unfortunately, emergency visits to the Vet.
Please follow this link to learn more about what considerations should you plan for when becoming a pet owner. There is a cool pet cost calculator in this articleClick to open & download assignment 6
Making an Impressive First Impression
Adapted from McDonald Group Inc. article
Interviewing is stressful enough without having to answer dumb interview questions. Unfortunately, many interviewers, because of habit, lack of preparation time, poor training, or yes, even laziness, often ask dumb interview questions. Of those, one of the most challenging is the often used “Tell me about yourself?” interview opener.
What most candidates ask about this insipid interview question is “What do they want to know?”…they want to know about you, the candidate, as a potential employee.
They don’t want to know about your family, your last vacation, your hobbies, your religious beliefs, that you like the Cubs, or that you are a proud member of AA. Interviewers also think it is a sign of your lack of preparedness, improper or even rude for you to answer their “Tell me about yourself?” question with a question like “What would you like to know?”
If you are prepared or even seriously thinking about making a career change, you will have a prepared a thoughtful answer to the “Tell me about yourself?” question BEFORE you begin your interview.
As an example, I watched a candidate lose their dream job because he did not understand the importance of the simple “Tell me about yourself” question. The scenario was this: the candidate was a financial services professional and was interviewing for a higher level management position. The candidate had the ideal background and skill set and it seemed they were a perfect fit.
To start the interview, the candidate was asked the dreaded “Tell me about yourself?” question. Thinking this was an unimportant icebreaker question the candidate retorted, simply intending to cause an opening chuckle, “Well, as you can obviously see, I am 15-20 pounds overweight.” (He was only joking but a bit too honest!)
Yet, due to the impact this answer had on the interviewer/business owner, for all practical purposes, the interview was over as soon as the interviewers heard this answer. That “amusing” answer to what the candidate viewed as a seemingly harmless question convinced the employer that this potential manager had an image problem or low self-esteem problem.
The retort was just a joke…but not really. It was no joke to the candidate who lost the dream job. This candidate attempted to humorously break the ice, but the interviewers misinterpreted the response to the question and became convinced the candidate was not management material. This whole fiasco could have been avoided if the candidate had just been taught a very simple formula for answering this question. Yes, this is an unnecessary question with which to begin an interview, especially while holding your resume. However because clients open interviews with this question, candidates need to know how to respond to this question intelligently. This formula has worked wonders for hundreds of our candidates.
This would be an easy question if candidates answered with a prepared and well thought-out initial marketing statement of themselves and their skills which are applicable for the open job. While this sounds straightforward, few candidates are able to answer this question in an intelligent manner. Candidates must teach themselves to answer this question with a three-part, pre-planned marketing statement that can more or less be used from interview to interview.
A Personal Career Statement
Part One: A one sentence summary of your career history.
For example: “I am a Certified Nursing Assistant with 5 years of varied experience.” You get the picture. Your whole career needs to be condensed into one sentence that encapsulates the most important aspects of your career/jobs, the aspects that you want to leverage in order to make your next career step. Few candidates seem to be able to condense a career into one sentence, but it must, and can, be done. Record this answer in Assignment Section 7
Part Two: A one, maybe two sentence summary, of a single accomplishment that you are proud of that will also capture the potential employer’s attention.
This sentence immediately follows your initial career summary sentence from above. This accomplishment should be one that the employer will be interested in hearing, one that is easily explained or illustrated, and one that clearly highlights a bottom line impact.
When done correctly this will build the interviewer’s interest about the accomplishment so that they will inquire further, giving you an opportunity to further discuss your significant career success. For example, “I was able to save my last employer $500 per month by suggesting a scheduling modification to the current system”. Write the answer in Assignment Section 7.
Part Three: A one sentence summary of specifically what you want to do next in your career or position.
The reason this third part is so difficult is that the summary needs to specifically address what you want to do next AND it needs to change from interview to interview to make sure the summary matches exactly the position you will be interviewing for with the INDIVIDUAL employers.
For example, two final sentences, which were used for two different employers, are below.
The first business is a small Care Facility that also employs specialty doctors and technical staff that is advertising to hire an experienced CNA.
- “For the next step in my career, I would like to move away from in-home Nursing Assistant care and work in a care facility where I can use my skills in a more clinical environment”.
But for a second employer, this sentence could be altered because of the employers multiple locations and differing opportunities:
- “For the next step in my career, I would like to find myself as a manager of a strong nursing assistance program, such as yours, while still working part time with clients so that I continue to stay in touch with the industry. I would love to apply my management and scheduling skills to this growing nursing team.”
These were two very different endings that perfectly matched two very different employer needs.
Clearly you can see how the difference between businesses can direct your answer to align with the opportunities. With some simple revising, the candidate made sure that each employer heard that they were interested in doing exactly what the employer was interested in for this open opportunity. The revising is what makes the third piece fluid and sometimes challenging as candidates do not always see the need for being this specific from job interview to job interview. Most tend to generalize, hoping that a shotgun approach will work. But it is the rifle sharpshooters, those who get specific in what they want from interview to interview, who get the best results.
With some simple planning BEFORE an interview, you will quickly realize the benefit of a targeted third sentence in these pre-planned opening statements as employers feel you are perfectly suited to do just the job they are interviewing you for.
Candidates who take the time to create their own Personal Marketing Statement significantly improve their initial verbal impression and get their interview off to a confident and focused start – one that will hopefully lead to follow-up interviews.Click to open & download assignment 7
When Construction Begins
Habitat works with local architects, sometimes on a volunteer basis, to design each house. Once the architect and other authorities are satisfied with the design of the home, Habitat will take the plans to the city for approval. The timeline can vary greatly for approval for each home, typically ranging from 3 to 5+ weeks. Once the plans have been approved and funding has been secured for a home, we will meet with the prospective homeowner and then begin construction.
On average, new home construction takes about 18-20 weeks to build, assuming no outside influences. However, each home’s schedule will vary because of one or many of the following: work occurring on multiple sites, unforeseen weather conditions, volunteer fluctuation, financial limitations, and material and contractor availability. Rehabilitation projects are even more variable – work may take anywhere from 2-6 months based on the work to be completed and other variables similar to new homes. Home Services will be providing updates regarding construction schedules on a quarterly basis. Specific dates that will be shared with future homeowners are: Building plans approval date, Plan review date, Dry-wall completion date.
The Plan review is a meeting scheduled between the Construction Director and the future homeowner. This meeting is scheduled after Habitat receives approval on building plans from the respective city (Bend or Redmond), typically before the ground-breaking. Drywall completion means we are about 8 weeks out to finishing up your home and kicks-in getting you ready to apply for your home loan.
Typically, a family is assigned to a property (home address) when they are about 75% complete with all program requirements.
Habitat for Humanity is making great strides to reduce material consumption by employing a variety of green building techniques. Green Building uses a whole systems approach to design, construction and operation of buildings, attempting to conserve natural resources and reduce the demand on energy while improving indoor air quality. With each home built, Habitat evaluates the environmental and economic costs and benefits of each stage of construction.
With help from experts and guidance from organizations working on standardizing the green building industry, we have formulated a plan for building better homes.
Habitat has considered the following topics and created Best Management Practices for each. Although not everyone can be incorporated into each home, Habitat has guidelines for implementing as many of these practices as possible:
Site Selection Structural Materials and Framing
Appliances Site Conditions
Windows and Doors Electrical
Foundation Mechanical Systems
Renewable Energy Systems Finish Materials
Plumbing Indoor Air Quality
Insulation Building Operations and Maintenance
Specific Home Details
Building Size and Location: The size of your home reduces environmental impact by limiting the amount of land disturbance per home, the amount of materials, energy and other resources necessary. When possible, the location facilitates walking to schools, shops and other amenities while creating a neighborhood feel for all homeowners.
Insulation: Habitat exceeds insulation codes and builds highly efficient homes that retain heat in the winter and remain cool in the summer. Advanced framing techniques allow for more insulation in the walls and raised-heel trusses in the roof allow for more attic insulation where most heat escapes from homes. Increased insulation and air sealing techniques help reduce monthly energy bills.
Home Orientation/Passive Heating: By orienting homes South-East, more natural sunlight can enter the home during cold weather months and heat the living space “passively.”
Passive Cooling: In the summer, the sun is higher in the sky and sunlight is blocked from entering the main living space by the extended eaves. Cross ventilation is another passive cooling strategy that involves strategically opening windows in the evening to allow for the cool night air to flow through the home. Windows should remain closed during the day to keep the hot air out.
Tankless Water Heater: This alternative to a traditional hot water heater saves space, money and energy. This unit heats water once hot water is turned on somewhere in the home. This is also called an “on-demand” hot water heater; there is no need to maintain hot water in a traditional water heater tank.
Radiant Floor Heating: Radiant floor heating is a very efficient way to heat your home through the winter months. Hot water is circulated through tubing just below the floor in a continual loop. The heat from the water rises into the conditioned space and warms the home. Homes typically have 2 heating zones, one for living areas and another for bedrooms.
Indoor Air Quality: Low VOC paint and finishes, natural materials and urea-formaldehyde free products are used. Habitat also provides mechanical means of exhausting moist/damp air, significantly reducing the chances of mold and/or mildew and facilitates air circulation throughout the home.
Appliances and Fixtures: Habitat provides Energy Star rated appliances and low-flow water fixtures (refrigerator, range, toilets, faucets, showers).
Landscaping: By using native plants that require little water and maintenance, it is easier to keep your yard looking great. It also reduces water bills and conserves this valuable resource.
Home Design: As is stated in the Home Design Policy “A family’s home assignment depends only on two considerations: The number of bedrooms a family requires (at time of application/acceptance into the Partnership program) and the sizes and types of homes are currently available or will be available in the future on planned sites”.
Type of Construction
Following is a listing of the types of construction and components that normally will be used; however, alternative types of construction may be considered:
- Attic access shall be provided
- Typically, 2 bathrooms provided
- Standard toilet
- Shower (master) or tub/shower combo with shower rod
- Externally vented exhaust fan
- Towel bars, mirror, toilet paper holder
- Vanity sink & faucet
- Obscured glass in window
Cabinets / Counter-tops
- Kitchen lower and upper cabinets are provided.
- Bathroom vanities are provided
- Laminate counter tops installed on-site
- One shelf and clothes rod shall be provided for each closet
- One shelf is provided in the washer/ dryer area
- Steel exterior doors
- Lock set and deadbolt for all exterior doors, keyed alike
- Installed hollow core interior doors
- Bedroom closet doors shall be hollow core, 6 panel, bi-fold or by-pass doors
- Locking bathroom and master suite doors
- Covered front porch, if the site plan allows
- Stoop/pad shall be provided at all exterior doors; minimum 3’ x 3’
- Cement lap siding, board and batt system
- Fascia and trim boards are wood
- PVC core laminate flooring is typically installed throughout the home (incl.: baths, bedrooms, entry, kitchen)
- Carpeting is installed on stairs and 2nd floor bedrooms (if applicable)
- Stem wall and floor joists
- Wood frame (2’x6′) exterior walls
- Roof trusses
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
- In floor radiant heat system will be installed
- Ceiling fans are installed in the main living area and prewired in all bedrooms
- R-24 exterior wall batt insulation
- R-49 attic blown-in insulation
- R-38 underfloor insulation
- Air sealing with spray foam and caulking
Interior Walls / Ceilings
- Gypsum wallboard installed on all walls and ceilings
- All surfaces are textured, primed and painted
Kitchen Equipment & Appliances
- 18 cubic ft. Whirlpool refrigerator/freezer (white)
- 30-inch Whirlpool gas range (white)
- Exhaust hood provided or owner can purchase a micro-hood combo. Note: Construction needs to know if family will be using a micro-hood combo to order the right cabinet configuration
- Electrical circuit installed for future microwave (homeowner must notify BRHFH)
- Double stainless steel sink with faucet and garbage disposal
Note on Appliances
If purchasing your own appliances, please let the Homeowner Services Department Staff know if they have measurements that are different from the standard appliances supplied by Whirlpool during the Plan Design Review meeting and/or before the framing stage.
Note: Please wait until post-purchase (Dedication and Closing) to install your own appliances. If you will not be using the supplied appliances, Habitat will pick them up after the home has passed final inspection for use in another Habitat home.
- Xeriscaping (native plants, low water) will be used wherever possible
- Provide 1 exterior hose bib per house
- Wooded/mature lots shall be cleared only to the extent necessary. Care shall be taken to leave the maximum number of the existing trees and other native vegetation.
Lighting / Electrical Supply and Wiring
- 200 amp electrical service
- Wiring for TV in living room and all bedrooms
- Wiring shall be provided for phone jacks in the kitchen and master bedroom
- Wiring will be provided for a dishwasher (dishwasher not provided)
- Interior and exterior lights and outlets will be provided per code
- Smoke alarm/carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarms will be provided per code
- Freezer circuit wired in garage
- Roof pitch is typically 5/12 or 6/12
- Composite architectural shingles
- Continuous ridge vents shall be provided
Washer / Dryer Space
- An area will be provided for installation of a washer and dryer; stacked units may be required for most 2 bedroom homes/townhomes
- Water supply and drain plumbing shall be provided for the washer
- Appropriate electrical receptacles shall be provided for both appliances
- Dryer vent ducting to the home exterior is provided
- Gas source at dryer
- A shelf or other suitable storage means shall be provided for supplies
- Washers and dryers are not provided by Habitat
- Tankless water heater is provided
- Bedroom windows must meet egress requirements
- Windows will be U=0.30 rated, double-paned vinyl frames
- Windows shall be single hung, horizontal sliders, or fixed pane
- Screens shall be provided for operable windows
- Hunter Douglas window coverings will be provided for all bedrooms
- Note: Partner Family will need to provide window coverings for other rooms, if desired.
- A walkway shall lead from the driveway to the nearest entrance
Certain features and amenities must be excluded from Habitat homes. These exclusions do not detract from the basic livability of the houses. Excluded features include but are not limited to:
- Rain gutters for entire home
- Fences (unless required in some cases)
Exceptions to Criteria
Criteria set down in this policy are intended to define the basic Habitat home. Exceptions will be allowed for the following reasons:
- Materials or equipment of equal or higher quality are donated with no financial impact on Habitat or the homeowner
- Safety or municipal codes require changes
- Special needs related to the health or well-being of the homeowner and/or family members
- Other reasons approved by the Executive Director
Modification to Criteria
Bend Redmond Habitat home building criteria shall be reviewed by the Construction Committee at periodic intervals, not to exceed one year. Any changes shall be recommended to the Board of Directors.
ADA Access / Special Needs
If you require any special accommodations please let the Homeowner Services Department Staff know as soon as possible.
Rehabilitated / Renovated Homes
There will be instances where Habitat will be able to purchase an existing home that needs to be updated/weatherized that will then be resold to a new Habitat homeowner. These homes will be evaluated, both from a systems’ functionality and a performance perspective, then retrofitted with energy savings measures and updated based upon the results of the evaluations. Examples of this work are: adding attic insulation, repairing and replacing underfloor insulation, performing air sealing, replacing water heaters, and replacing electrical breakers. Energy Star rated appliances, typically a refrigerator and range, will be installed. Whenever funding is available, the home may have renewable resource systems installed (i.e. solar thermal, solar PV).
Necessary repairs will be made to the home attempting to return it to “like new” condition, all the while maintaining the affordability of the home for the eventual homeowner. Depending upon the condition of the home, the repair work will range from minor drywall repairs and interior and exterior painting to window and door replacement, new roofing, new flooring, and equipment replacement.
Please Read the Following Sections Carefully!!!
The Habitat Construction Committee takes the family size and make up into consideration when planning each build. The number of bedrooms and bathrooms is specifically chosen for each family in accordance with Habitat’s guidelines and are non-negotiable.
Habitat follows a specific design criterion to help in standardizing the homes. This helps with keeping costs low and makes sure each homeowner receives the same end result: a clean, safe, affordable home. Habitat houses are bound to contain differences, due to family size, donations available, building codes, and other matters beyond the control of Habitat.
Upgrades or Changes to Habitat Homes While Being Built
The following policy was accepted by the Bend Area Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors at their December 16, 1998 meeting:
“No upgrades to the new Habitat homes are to be allowed for families while Habitat is in the process of building their new home.”
In other words, the plans that are approved by the City of Bend or Redmond, are to be followed specifically as drawn. After the home has been legally transferred to the Habitat homeowner, the Executive Director has always been willing to entertain a request for construction changes as long as the project meets City of Bend, or Redmond, requirements. Prior approval must be received prior to any changes.
You will not be allowed to move any personal belongings on to the property until the closing documents have been signed and recorded.
Expectations as a Habitat Homeowner
Maintenance of your home is important. We consistently struggle to fight the stigma that Habitat homeowners don’t take care or pride in their homes once they move in, resulting in the loss of appraised value of their neighbor’s home. Please let us know if you need assistance learning how to care for, or repair something as it is our goal to prepare you as best as we can.
Donations to future homes
We hear you get a lot of questions from folks who want to help when they find out you are buying a Habitat home. We bet it can be difficult to manage everyone wanting to help. Here are a couple of answers you can give them:
Because Habitat is not a private home builder, and they have unique requirements for their Earth Advantage and Net Zero certifications, they do not always take in-kind donations. However, you may contact their Director of Construction, who can help determine if it is something they can use. Thank you for thinking of me/us”.
Regarding being on-site/inside your future home, without the presence of Habitat Staff and before purchase date
Because we have liabilities, we cannot have you on site without a staff person before you purchase the home. We have given occasional special permission for home/site cleaning but this is still a risk for us. Although families and other volunteers have signed our waivers, we can sometimes allow for this to happen. However, we absolutely cannot have other guests on site who have not signed waivers. Always, always there needs to be a Habitat staff person present. We have been slack on this at times, but we really need to follow our policy for the safety of everyone.Click to Open & download assignment 8
Do you want to live in a neighborhood where you feel safe and connected to others? This, and other aspects of neighborhood life, can impact both your level of happiness and stress. Click on the link to watch a video on how Bend Habitat (now, Bend-Redmond Habitat) creates community in Central Oregon, one home at a time.
What Does It Mean to You to Be a Good Neighbor?
By definition, being a good neighbor means having selfless concern for the complete well-being of people around you.
When you and your neighbors hold a conversation, you might notice a way you could be a better neighbor and friend to them. For instance, if they mention having car troubles, you might offer to drive them to work, or drive their kids to school… If they mention that they have been feeling sick, offer to make them a meal to allow them ore rest. Invite them to contribute to your garage sales, have them over for tea, or offer to babysit their kids/pets while they’re away. They’ll do the same for you. Humble offerings like these show your neighbor that you are investing in the relationship, not simply wanting something in return.
Things to Consider…
- Consider your neighbors’ lifestyle. What do they do for a living, what their schedules might be like, and so on? Sometimes, you can remedy problems before they even start; for example, if they work nights, quiet mornings will be important for them. If they have young children, quiet evenings will be very important to them. Similarly, give them information that’ll help them be more considerate of your lifestyle. If you do a lot of yard work, or if your teenage son plays the drums, let them know in advance and mention that if it’s getting too loud, they shouldn’t hesitate to let you know.
- Keep your dog on a leash. If your dog has a habit of running rampant on your neighbors’ lawns, especially if they have a cat or a dog of their own, leash your dog or find another way to control it. Make sure to clean up after your dog, both in your yard and your neighbors’. If you have a particularly noisy dog, this may also become a source of contention for your neighbor. Put yourself in their shoes and imagine how upset you’d be if you or perhaps your newborn was woken from a much-needed nap by the sudden yapping of a nearby dog. If you have problems controlling your dog’s barking or whining, consider seeking advice from your local vet or a local animal organization.
- Parking Etiquette. When you park your vehicle, be sure not to block anyone’s access, or make them have to pull out of a very tight spot. Don’t over-rev the engine of your car or motorcycle early in the morning or late at night. Park in front of your home, not theirs. Avoid slamming your doors or shining your headlights into your neighbor’s windows late at night.
- Alert your neighbor to parties. If you’re planning a party, be sure to give your neighbors plenty of warning, letting them know when it’s going to start and how long you expect it to go on. Leave them a telephone number to contact if they need to ask you to turn it down. If you get on well with your neighbors, why not invite them too? When it comes to the party itself, stick to your agreed arrangements and ask your guests to be considerate when leaving.
- Keep your yard tidy. Weed your yard or garden regularly, because the presence of weeds in your yard is not only unsightly but can also spread to your neighbor’s yard. Mow your lawn regularly and keep your flowers, trees and bushes trimmed appropriately. Put equipment away as soon as you’re finished with it. Ask if your neighbor has chemical sensitivities, small children or pets before applying pesticides.
- Put garbage out on the right day. Only put your garbage out on the day it’s due for collection. If you accidentally miss the collection, bring it back onto your property immediately and try to contain it well. Garbage can attract vermin, insects, and other pests, and is also unsightly.
Have you ever had a terrible experience as a new neighbor? What made it difficult?
Have you had a great experience as a new neighbor? What did you learn from it?
Remember: “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t met yet” ~ William Butler Yeats
While you may not be able to change the neighborhood in which you live, you can change the experience you have in your own neighborhood by getting more involved with those around you and taking pride in the area in which you live. The following are some ideas and resources that can help you to feel more at home in your neighborhood:
- Get Out More: If you live in a generally safe area, take a morning or evening walk. It’s a great stress reliever that also allows you to get to know many of your neighbors, get an understanding of who lives where, and feel more at home in your surroundings.
- Smile: It’s simple enough, but if you’re not in the habit of smiling and giving a friendly hello to the people you encounter in your neighborhood, it’s a good habit to start. While not everyone will return the friendliness immediately, it’s a quick way to get to know people and build relationships, even if you’ve lived close for years and haven’t really said much to one another.
- Talk to Your Elders: The more veteran members of the neighborhood often have the inside scoop on the neighborhood. You may be surprised at how much you can learn if you stop to take the time to talk to the sweet old lady at the end of the block.
- Start a Neighborhood Watch Program: To feel safer at night and build a sense of community at the same time, starting a neighborhood watch program is a great idea.
- If you hear of any neighborhood news (events, crimes, special garbage pickups, special event parking restrictions, etc.) give them a heads-up by e-mail.
- If you have a snow blower and they don’t, spend that extra 60 seconds to clear their walkway. It will save them 60 minutes of hard work and they’ll be grateful!
- Be nice to your new neighbors- When someone new is moving next to you, Welcome them. They will be thankful to you for a jug of lemonade.
So, What Else Can You Do?
- Socialize: With our busy schedules, we don’t always see friends as often as we’d like. For a bit of socializing that takes only minutes out of your day, it’s nice to stop and chat with people for a few minutes on your way out to your car. And the more people you have available for shared social support, the better, generally speaking.
- Share Resources: People in more friendly neighborhoods who share dinners minimize the effort it takes to cook. Others trade fruit from their trees. One neighbor who might borrow a few eggs could come back with a plate of cookies that the eggs helped create. Knowing your neighbors increases everyone’s ability to share.
- Security: Knowing the people around you can bring a sense of security. If you need something–whether it’s a cup of sugar when you’re baking cookies, or someone to call the police if they see someone lurking outside your home–it’s nice to know you can depend on those around you and they can depend on you.
- Home Pride: Knowing the people who live around you provides a strengthened sense of pride in your home and neighborhood. Coming home just feels nicer.
“Media reports often depict the world as a scary, hostile place – not really the view we want our children to take. Getting to know the people in our community creates a healthier, more balanced perspective. Neighbors are almost always… just normal people- human and imperfect, but generally trustworthy, generous, and very much worth knowing”, quote from brighthorizons.com
Become Involved in Your Neighborhood and Your Community
Community involvement is an excellent way to contribute to your neighborhood.
- Take a look at the following list of ideas about how you can get your family more involved in the community after your move, as well as make our community a better place once you have settled in.
- Sports can be the focus of activities in your community, so join in the fun.
- Throw a block party and invite neighbors to bring a covered dish and a fun activity.
- Take an active role in your neighborhood watch program.
- Get your kids plugged into after-school activities. Use Bend Park and Rec’s Playbook or the Redmond Park and Rec Activity Guide to find activities and classes for everyone in the family
- Hold a canned food drive. Here is a useful link from one of our local community partners on how to host a canned food drive
- Hold a community trash pick-up day
- Attend a Habitat Nuts and Bolts Class. Offered for Habitat Homeowners after home purchase.
- Register to Vote! or update your voter registration
- Bake cookies for police stations or fire departments
- Hold a community-wide garage sale, and use the funds to paint/repair homes or donate to Habitat or a charity of your choice
- Host a Block Party: If you already know several of your neighbors in a superficially friendly way, you may want to get to know them better and meet the rest by throwing a block party. They’re surprisingly fun and easy.
- Work with local officials to create a community garden or playground. Visit the City of Bend Neighborhood Associations page. City of Redmond has not yet developed a Neighborhood Association project, but as of summer 2017, the City opened the conversation to its residents to get organized and work together in improving and rehabilitating the town. See article published in Cascades News. If you feel passionate about participating and having a voice, Neighborhood associations are great spaces to work with the City
Whether your Habitat home is built in a preexisting neighborhood or you purchase a remodeled Habitat home, your neighbors are a good resource in finding out more about the history of your home, and they are also very helpful in providing you with information about the neighborhood and fellow homeowners. They can advise you about services in your area, their locations, and phone numbers.
After move-in date…..
Create and post a listing of these services for your family. Choose a location that all family members have access to.
Your list could consist of the following:
● Police and Fire Station
● Schools and Libraries
● Post Office
● Parks and other Recreational Sites
● Voting Precincts
● Grocery Stores
● Doctor, Dentist, and other Medical Facilities
A great way to become involved in your community is to volunteer. It will help you network and feel good.
Not sure where to start?
- Log onto Volunteer Connect to find something to do in or our own backyard
- Come back to your favorite side of Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity: http://www.bendredmondhabitat.org/volunteer
- Volunteer at your children’s school
- Offer to help with Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts and if there is no troop, start one
- Volunteer at an animal shelter. In Central Oregon we are very lucky to have two wonderful organizations that advocate for our furry friends. Visit the Humane Society in Bend or Brightside Animal Center in Redmond for volunteer opportunities
- Spend time with local Senior Citizens. Meals on Wheels or join a Community Dinner with Council on Aging of Central Oregon
- Volunteer at your Church (greeter, musician, small group leader)
Note: To be able to complete Assignment 9, you will have to have read all three Sections: Neighborhood and Community, HOAs and NA/CCR’s Sections 9B and 9CClick to open and download assignment 9
What is a Homeowners’ Association?
When you are selected for Bend-Redmond Habitat home that is part of a cottage community development, or built on leased land, BRHFH will establish a homeowner’s association (HOA). Download this Booklet to learn how and why community associations work, and the benefits of living in an HOA community. Read our most recent Declaration as reference.
A Homeowner’s Association, or an HOA is the governing body of a community that is established when a realty development is built. It is installed to provide a set of rules and regulations that are enforced on a property that is under its jurisdiction.
Every individual or family that purchases a property on said community automatically signs up for membership to the homeowners’ association and receives a copy of the Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions (CC&R’s). Each month, a corresponding membership fee is paid; the actual amount depends on the facilities available to the members. Bend-Redmond Habitat is committed to maintaining your housing monthly costs available and to max-out at approximately 33% of your income. This is why we include the HOA fee (and land-lease fee, if applicable) within your monthly mortgage payment. The full monthly payment amount will include mortgage, property taxes, homeowners insurance, HOA fee and land lease fee.
Developments with facilities like a swimming pool, playground, and clubhouse charge a fee of a few hundred dollars per month, while the high-end ones with more facilities can charge as much as $1,000 to $5,000 monthly. We estimate Habitat community’s HOA fees not to exceed $150 per month, and will include things like landscape care and snow removal for the community property.
An HOA ensures that all bylaws set by the association, as well as those imposed by city ordinances, are followed by hiring a property management company that takes charge of enforcing the rules and handling maintenance jobs.
Dissecting the HOA’s Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions
A covenant, in its strictest sense, is a legally binding agreement between parties and that is pretty much the same when it comes to real estate. The covenant or the CC&R’s contains the rules that are imposed on real property and is enforced by the homeowners’ association, binding the owner of a real property that is under its jurisdiction. In fact, even a very simple mutual agreement signed privately by and among people living in a neighborhood, village, or subdivision is also legally binding, and a breach of it may involve a court hearing.
Basically, there are two reasons why a covenant is entered into by homeowners. First is to keep and enhance the aesthetic value of the village or subdivision. Secondly, it is to enable the homeowners to live comfortably and in peace without the annoyance of outsiders and by some other members who may cause a distraction or disturbance within the premises.
Responsibilities of an HOA
The homeowners’ association, as already mentioned earlier, is the governing body of a specific real property development such as a village or subdivision. Though different HOA’s adhere to different ways of doing it, there is an overarching set of responsibilities that it handles, including:
1. Maintaining the landscaping
One of the things that make a community exclusive is its landscaping, which is designed to include every individual property within the premises. Anyone who comes here for a visit can immediately tell that he’s entered the community because of the look and feel. Also, the sidewalk, landscape, house design, etc.
2. Ensuring security
The most attractive part of living in an HOA neighborhood is the security that comes with it. In fact, developers always use it as one of their strongest selling points. The homeowners’ association sets rules regarding access to the neighborhood and maintenance of privacy.
3. Providing street maintenance
When living in ordinary residences, it is the local government who takes care of street lighting and maintenance. However, in HOA communities, it is the HOA that is responsible for it, using funds from the association’s coffers. After all, each member pays a monthly membership fee to cover projects, which include street maintenance.
4. Implementing deed restrictions
The homeowners’ association wants to control what goes in and out of the neighborhood and what is done to the properties of each member. There are so many restrictions imposed depending on the property such as how and when renovation or modification can be done, whether pets are allowed or not, and there are even HOAs that determine how old the residents are.
Advantages of an HOA
With everything that’s been stated above, an HOA offers numerous advantages and disadvantages. But let’s take a look at the positive points first.
1. Increased home value
In a nutshell, an HOA protects every property that is under its jurisdiction and thus, increases its aesthetic and market values. The rules that are imposed help maintain the neighborhood and ensure that every member is aware of his or her responsibilities as a resident. It further establishes the condition that since violations come with consequences, each member follows the rules which help attain order and harmony.
2. Shared values
People who live in the same neighborhood with an HOA share the same values that promote goodwill and great relationships with neighbors.
With security as one of a communities strongest features, members of the HOA can sleep better and more soundly at night, knowing that they are safe. Kids can also play outside their street during the day without having too many negative thoughts to think about.
Disadvantages of an HOA
To balance our knowledge of what a homeowners’ association is, let us also discuss its disadvantages.
Living in a well-maintained neighborhood doesn’t come for free. Fees are paid monthly which may even be more expensive for subdivisions that have more luxurious amenities. Not to mention, there may also be extra fees to be paid by the members.
For example, the homeowners’ association feels like putting a playground but is underfunded, then, the expenses to be incurred for these will be offset by the members by having to pay an additional amount for a certain period.
2. Restriction on renters
While some members may want to open their property to renters, most HOA’s enforce rules on this. For example, a certain neighborhood requires that only 20% of the houses can be open to tenants while the rest have to be occupied by the owners themselves. In the case of Bend-Redmond Habitat HOAs, all Habitat homes must be home-owner occupied, without exception.
Other homeowners’ associations don’t give the freedom to members to just let anyone rent their house and, instead, subjects renters to a rigorous screening process that some people may feel uncomfortable with.
One of the HOA’s purposes is to make sure that the aesthetic side of a property is maintained all the time. So, the moment a part of one’s house needs renovation, the HOA will require it to be done the soonest.
Being a member of a homeowners’ association does not guarantee lifetime membership, especially if a homeowner fails to pay the relevant fees. A foreclosure will surely be around the corner.
Based on the above information, it can be said that overall, an HOA is a good thing. People should just need to remember that nothing good comes cheap. Living in comfort and safety, surely doesn’t come easy but it definitely comes with a price.
HOA Board of Directors
A board of directors is a requirement for a homeowners association to function properly. These elected volunteer officials are responsible for all operations of the association and ensuring the community governing documents are followed and enforced. The bylaws of an association give all the information regarding a board of directors. Election procedures, the number of members, officer positions, and terms will all vary from association to association.
The residents who assume positions of responsibility as officer and directors of homeowners associations will be the key to its success or the catalyst for its failure.
What is the difference between a Homeowners Association (HOA) vs. a Neighborhood Association (NA)?
A neighborhood association (NA) is a group of residents or property owners who advocate for or organize activities within a neighborhood. An association may have elected leaders and voluntary dues.
The term neighborhood association is sometimes incorrectly used instead of homeowners association. Some key differences include:
- HOA membership is mandatory generally through rules tied to the ownership of property like deed restrictions. Neighborhood association membership is voluntary or informal.
- HOAs often own and maintain common property, such as recreational facilities, parks, and roads, whereas neighborhood associations are focused on general advocacy and community events.
The rules for formation of a neighborhood association in the United States are sometimes regulated at the city or state level.
The City of Bend has designated areas as various Neighborhood Associations. It’s meant as a way for neighborhoods to communicate with the city and is comprised of volunteers from the neighborhood. www.bendneighborhoods.com
Neighborhood associations are more likely to be formed in older, established neighborhoods, whereas HOAs are generally established at the time a residential neighborhood is built and sold.
In some cases, neighborhood associations exist simultaneously with HOAs, and each may not encompass identical boundaries
What are CC&R’s?
CC&Rs are the governing documents that dictate how the homeowners association operates and what rules the owners must obey. The covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) are the governing documents that dictate how the homeowners association operates and what rules the owners — and their tenants and guests — must obey. These legal documents might also be called the bylaws, the master deed, the houses rules or another name. These documents and rules are legally enforceable by the homeowners association, unless a specific provision conflicts with federal, state or local laws.
Suppose I don’t like the rules. Can they be changed? Most rules are easy to accept, but some may strike a nerve. Such issues as pets, parking spaces, recreational facilities and subleasing can prove quite controversial. The procedure for changing the rules should be explained in the governing documents. A majority vote or, in some cases, a super-majority, will be required.
What are the consequences of breaking a rule? Penalties might include fines, forced compliance, a lawsuit by the association, the misery of being at odds with your neighbors and emotional distress.
What are the most important provisions in the governing documents? Review the association’s operating budget and make sure the complex isn’t losing money. Ask for copies of any engineering, architectural or structural inspection reports. Pay attention to provisions governing the election of board members, subleasing and restrictions on remodeling your own unit.
Do I need an attorney to explain the CC&Rs to me? It’s always a good idea to seek legal counsel if you have questions about the governing documents or rules. Read the documents yourself and prepare a list of questions, then ask an attorney to interpret anything you don’t understand.
Mortgage and Closing Documents
What exactly are Property taxes?
Property taxes are fees paid on an annual basis to the City or County and are based loosely on property value, known as assessed value. The tax year runs from July 1 to June 30 of every year. At the closing of escrow, you may be required to pay property taxes that are due. You will receive an estimate of what, if any, taxes you will owe from the escrow company.
Property taxes are charged by local and state governments and may be tax deductible. Taxes are based on the value of your property. When you purchased your home we opened an escrow account. An escrow account is a special account where money is held to pay your property taxes, hazard insurance, and other premiums such as flood insurance if it is required. Your monthly mortgage payment includes a months’ worth of insurance and taxes. Your escrow account has a cushion of at least one month’s, but no more than two, mortgage payment.
Together, research property tax information at Deschutes County website. Visit: http://dial.deschutes.org/
- Enter your property address in the search box (you might have to try a few variations)
- Under the “Taxes” heading click on “Current Statement”(PDF)
- If you have questions about how to read the statement, contact the Finance Manager at Habitat.
Habitat Mortgage Example
* Maximum Sales price as of February 2019. This amount varies every year, per Oregon Bond Program Guidelines
In this graphic, let’s estimate that your affordability (33% of your gross income) equates to a home loan of $170,000. The home appraises and is sold at $345,000
Habitat has to work to secure or fund-raise for $176,000! ($346,000 less $170,000)
Benefits of a Habitat Home Loan
- Mortgage is based on YOUR affordability (32-35% of your monthly income at time of credit application)
- Networking and a Hand up – We want you to be a successful homeowner and we provide services and opportunities to support you and your family both personally and professionally. You will establish new relationships within Habitat, that may last a lifetime.
Before purchasing your Habitat home
- You will be contacted by the lender to make an appointment to fill out your loan application
- The Lender will run a credit check prior to closing to be sure no debt has been accumulated since the time of selection and your (and co-borrower’s) score is still above 620.
- An account will be opened for your payments to go toward escrow.
- You will be required to pay closing costs out of your matched savings account (IDA or VIDA). This is to be paid when you sign your final documents.
After purchasing your Habitat home:
- Your mortgage payment is due on the 1st of each month.
- It is imperative that you communicate with Habitat staff should your payment be late.
- You can expect notification of delinquency, should your payment be more than 15 days late, including the addition of applicable fees
- You will be assessed a late fee in the amount of 5% of your principal if your mortgage payment is received after the 15th of the month.
- Any account that is past due will be considered delinquent.
- Your loan will be declared in default after 30 days of delinquency.
- The Homeowner Services Staff and Executive Director will review delinquent accounts on an ongoing basis.
- Delinquency and failure to make payments may result in triggering Habitat to exercise its option to purchase your property back. (as specified in the Trust Deed)
- We encourage you to set up direct deposit.
Do not put yourself at risk of losing your home! Communication is key
Most banks do not allow skipped mortgage payments. However, communication is key. You might be able to make arrangements or at least notify them of your payment dates to catch up.
Remember, your mortgage (including late payments) are reported to the credit agencies and has a strong effect on your credit score.
It is also strongly recommended that you keep a savings account with no less than three (3) months mortgage payments to help you during times of transition or financial crisis. It is always advised that you pay your mortgage first!
Homeowners Insurance protects you and Habitat for Humanity from loss or damage to the house and is a requirement for you to obtain. This insurance is usually paid on an annual basis, although some insurers will allow monthly payments. At the closing of escrow, you will be required to pay for your first year’s insurance premium up front. Again, your escrow officer will provide you with an estimate of these costs.
Because you will be enrolled in a matched savings program (IDA or VIDA) to cover closing costs, your first year’s homeowners insurance, and an escrow or reserve account start up balance, you will have these funds available at closing.
Please note that your principal mortgage payment will stay the same every month but your property taxes and insurance premiums will change every year. Make sure to plan ahead for these increased expenses.
Your lender will send you a letter at the end of each calendar year (usually mid October) to notify you as to whether or not your taxes and insurance costs have gone up.
Note: If you receive a tax or homeowners insurance bill and are still making mortgage payments, make a copy for yourself and send the original to your lender; Bank or Habitat immediately. After your mortgage has been paid in full, you must start paying property taxes and homeowners insurance yourself.
To shop for homeowners insurance you can use the appraisal on your home or request the information needed by an insurance agent on the home from Habitat.
Click on this link to see answers to most frequently asked questions regarding Homeowners Insurance, to understand coverage and quotes from different vendors. When you are shopping for Home Owners insurance, we typically recommend to get three quotes, one of them being your current insurance agent, meaning the company that currently holds the policy of your car and/or renter’s insurance.
Habitat Closing Documents
You will have a review of these documents with the Finance department at Habitat before signing and closing on your home loan.
- Purchase and Sales Agreement
The Habitat purchase and sale agreement is a document that is agreed upon by the buyer and seller, and that breaks down the sales price of the home. It will list a breakdown of the sales price and will also list the terms and conditions of the sale.
This document is used to open escrow and to request any matched savings funds to be released.
- Promissory Note
A real estate promissory note is a document signed by a buyer who get a mortgage loan from a mortgage lender. It provides that the loan taken by the borrower must be paid back. But in case where the borrower defaults, the lender will not be completely exempted and will have to pay the loan.
A real estate promissory note is distinct from other promissory notes. In a real estate promissory note, the lender arranges a mortgage or lien to secure the loan. The principle behind a real estate promissory note is that, if the borrower defaults on the loan, it is the borrower’s obligation to pay back the loan amount.
- Trust Deed or Deed of Trust
Deed: The legal document that transfers title or ownership to the new homeowner.
Used in some states instead of a mortgage, it gives the lender a security interest in the property. The title is conveyed to a trustee (a neutral third party) by the borrower (who retains equitable title). When the debt is paid in full, the title is re-conveyed to the borrower.
Beneficiary: The bank and/or Habitat.
Grantor: You, the future Habitat homeowner.
Trustee: The Title and Escrow Company.
Sections of the Habitat Trust Deed
There are 12 sections of the Trust Deed including Definitions, Payment of Taxes, Defaults and Remedies, Compliance with Laws, Damage and Destruction, and more.
Click here to browse through a sample copy of a recent Habitat Trust Deed.
Under “Trust Property” there are several things we’d like to call your attention to:
- Good Repair and Condition
- Grantor will keep the Trust Property in good repair and condition, reasonable wear and tear excepted, and will not commit or permit any waste of the trust property.
- Making Changes
- Grantor will not remove, demolish, or materially alter any improvement on the Trust Property except with the prior written consent of Beneficiary, in connection with the replacement of an improvement with an improvement of equal or greater value.
- No Rezoning
- Grantor will not initiate, support, or consent to any rezoning of the Trust Property or any change in any public or private covenant, condition, or restriction relating to the use of the Trust Property.
- Prohibited Actions
- Grantor will NOT:
- Disturb the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood in which the Trust Property is located; the generation of excessive noise and unnecessary noise and raucous behavior by individuals and other sources attributable to Grantor or a visitor of Grantor will be deemed to constitute a violation.
- Occupy, use, or permit the Trust Property, or any part thereof to be used for any purpose other than a private residence of Grantor or Grantor’s family.
- Violate, or allow any other person present on the Trust Property to violate, the Oregon Criminal Code.
- Grantor will NOT:
- Repairing Damage/Destruction
- If any damage or destruction occurs with respect to the Trust Property, and if Beneficiary receives any insurance proceeds under any insurance policy that provides coverage to Grantor for the Trust Property, Beneficiary may hold the proceeds as additional security for the full and prompt payment and performance of the Obligations.
You will have the opportunity to review this document extensively prior to purchase.
Right of First Offer and Shared Equity Agreement
In the initial phase of Habitat orientation and partnership, we discussed the need and demand for affordable housing in our community. We also discussed that one of your partnership roles with Habitat was in understanding and supporting others in the community who are starting on the path of homeownership much like you were. Our “Right of First Offer” is about having the option to purchase back your home, should you want or need to sell it, in order to keep affordable housing options available in our community. The Right of First Offer is still in place even if your loan is held by another bank/lending partner.
Should we choose not to buy back your home, you will then be free to sell it on the open market (and pay off any other loans or grants on the home). A shared appreciation model between the homeowner and Habitat will also apply.
Habitat Land Lease
To preserve affordable homeownership in our community, Bend-Redmond Habitat designed and implemented the land-lease model for households earning up to 80% of the area median income. In the Habitat land-lease model, Habitat owns the land and the homeowner pays an affordable monthly lease fee, included in the affordable housing monthly payments. The lease is 99 years renewable, is transferable and typically has reduced property taxes.
Some of the resale restrictions include:
- Limited priced the house can resale for
- New homeowner has to stay below 80% AMI
- Habitat and Homeowner share the equity
Other restrictions of homes on a Habitat land lease are:
- Must be owner occupied
- Must be owner’s primary residence
- Home maintenance ruled by Homeowner’s Association
NOTE: Habitat will provide you a sample copy of the Land Lease Agreement when applicable during one of our program workshops.Click to open & download assignment 10
Life Insurance (enough to cover your mortgage)
Buying a home usually means taking on one of the biggest financial obligations of your life. A homeowner’s life insurance policy can be essential financial protection, particularly when you’re obtaining a mortgage with a partner or if you want to protect the home for your children.
Mortgages can become unaffordable if one partner dies or if your health and/or job circumstances change. You wouldn’t want your family to have to move out and have to find a new home if you were no longer around.
Here’s where life insurance can help.
Term life insurance can cover your mortgage
Term life insurance promises to pay a set amount if you die while the policy is in effect. You choose the coverage amount and how many years the policy should last. New homeowners can buy a term life insurance policy timed to match the duration of their mortgage. For example, if you have 20 years left on your mortgage, you could buy a 20-year term life policy. If you want the same policy to cover other obligations, like replacing your income if you die, you would buy a policy with a longer term and a higher amount.
The following web page from Fidelity Investments, has a simple comparable chart on the most common varieties of life insurance. Read more at: What is life insurance?
Mortgage life insurance has limited benefit
An alternative to term life insurance is mortgage life insurance, which serves one purpose: It pays off your mortgage balance if you die. It pays the exact amount of the mortgage balance, and the payout goes directly to the lender, not your spouse or family.
Therefore, families are usually better off with a term life insurance policy. The policy amount can encompass more than just the mortgage balance, and your family members can use the payout for their most pressing financial need, whether it’s the mortgage, health care, college or another issue.
Mortgage life insurance might make sense if you need life insurance to cover a mortgage but you have a health issue that would prevent you from qualifying for term life coverage.
Permanent life insurance may be too much
A permanent life insurance policy lasts your entire life and builds cash value over time. It can be considerably more expensive than term life. If your family’s financial obligations are finite — like the years covering a mortgage or college tuition — term life insurance is suitable and will give you more bang for your buck.
Free (Income Based) Insurance Plan to Cover Children’s College Education
There are programs, such as LifeBridge, MassMutual’s Free Life Insurance Program, that offer a free life insurance program for income eligible families (policy holder must be under 42 years of age). It is designed to help you protect your dream of providing an education for your children if you die before they complete their schooling. Under the LifeBridge Free Life Insurance Program, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) will issue a $50,000, 10-year term life insurance policy to a trust, administered by the MassMutual Trust Company, FSB, a wholly owned stock subsidiary of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, on the life of a qualifying parent or legal guardian. There is no cost to you – MassMutual pays the premiums. The $50,000 is used to cover the educational expenses of your eligible children. After your death, your children have 10 years or until age 35, whichever is later to use this $50,000 educational benefit.
Habitat for Humanity can help you find a local representative from MassMutual for you to speak with if you are interested.
Wills and Testaments
Things you should know about a Will
Writing a will isn’t the most pleasant of tasks. After all, by doing so you’re not only acknowledging your own inevitable demise but actively planning for it. But creating a will is one of the most critical things you can do for your loved ones. Putting your wishes on paper helps your heirs avoid unnecessary hassles, and you gain the peace of mind knowing that a life’s worth of possessions will end up in the right hands.
A will is the most basic estate planning document there is—and for some people, it represents the only estate planning they want or need to do. But it’s important to understand what a will is and what it does (and doesn’t) cover.
A will is an important way you can stay in control over who gets what of your property. The laws governing wills vary from state to state. If you aren’t familiar with them, consider consulting a knowledgeable lawyer or estate planner in your area. Before you do, review the following information from the Oregon State Bar website to help you answer these important questions (and complete the assignment for this section).
1. What is a will? What happens if you die without a will? Do you need an attorney to prepare your will? Joint or Separate Wills? and other questions related to this topic
Click here to see instructions on how to write a basic will. You may also find this article useful “Cost Effective Wills”
2. What is Probate
3. What is a Trust
4. What is a Living Will
5. Powers of Attorney and Other Decision-Making Tools
6. Revocable Living Trusts
7. Who should I name as my executor?
How often does a will need to be updated?
It’s possible that your will may never need to be updated — or you may choose to update it regularly. The decision is yours. Remember, the only version of your will that matters is the most current valid one in existence at the time of your death.
With that in mind, you may want to revisit your will at times of major life changes. Think of pivotal moments such as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, the death of a beneficiary or executor, a significant purchase or inheritance, and so on. Your kids probably won’t need guardians named in a will after they’re adults, for example, but you might still need to name guardians for disabled dependents.
A rule of thumb: Review your will every two or three years to be safe.
However, a will alone may not be sufficient to meet everyone’s’ needs if they:
- Expect to owe estate taxes when either or both of them die—which is most likely if they own property worth $2 million or more. (or $1 million in Oregon)
- Want to have some control over what happens to their property after their deaths, such as specifying that a house goes first to their children, then to their grandchildren (after their children die).
- Have any child who has a special need or disability, and they want to provide management for property that goes to him or her.
- Have children from one or more prior marriages who are likely to conflict with a current spouse.
- Fear that someone may claim their wills are invalid because they were mentally incompetent or subject to fraud or duress when writing them.
For those with such concerns, consider setting up a trust instead of—or in addition to—a will. Trusts are explained in more detail at caring.com’s page on Revocable Living Trusts – click here for more.
How to be a record keeping rock star
American consumers have embraced online banking since banks began offering it in the early 2000s. Electronic statements appeared shortly after, as banks realized they could cut their printing and mailing costs dramatically by encouraging customers to “go paperless. Banks promote e-statements as a convenience — less clutter, “one less piece of paper to worry about” — but consumers haven’t been so quick to say goodbye to their paper. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, only one-quarter of credit card holders who have access to a computer choose to receive their monthly statements electronically. Of those who do receive e-statements, the study indicates that many aren’t reviewing them.
Regardless of whether you like to keep your records in paper and folder files, or doing everything electronically, there are some best practices to consider if you do not want to loose your mind when you are in a hurry and need to find a certain important document. Not having an organized system can become costly. To make
To make informed sound decisions you need your information readily available. Listed are some examples.
Housing your important documents:
- Use file folders and file them in a desk drawer for easy access.
- Create a filing system with labeled folders for each category.
- Wooden or steel file cabinets can be purchased. These cabinets are available in many price ranges. Many include a lock for secure storage.
- Plastic containers that are available in all sizes and shapes could be used for storing files.
- Expandable file folders can be purchased. Be sure to label dividers with appropriate categories.
- If you have nothing else available, and lack the resources to purchase any of the above, a heavy duty box will suffice temporarily. Remember to check the ReStore too!
- Having a safety deposit box at your bank or credit union is a good opportunity for storing and securing your information. If you choose to do so, make sure you have a copy of the important documents like your mortgage and insurance paperwork in your home files.
It is recommended to use fire resistant housing. However you store your documents, the important thing is that your information is together in one location if and when you need it.
Best practices for managing e-statements
Excerpt from article on Nerdwallet – Credit Card E-Staements: If you go paperless, Do it Right by Ellen Cannon is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ellencannon.
If you decide to get e-statements only, follow these tips so you don’t slip up and harm your finances:
1. Open and save your statement each month. When you get the email saying your statement is available, go online and download it. Don’t just glance at it online; save it to a place where you can access it in the future. If there’s a transaction you want to dispute, you’ll need a printed copy of it.
2. Check your credit card account throughout the month. You don’t need to wait for the monthly statement. Check in on your account once a week online or on your credit card’s mobile app to keep an eye out for any suspicious charges or fees.
3. Create a filing system for your financial records. No matter what form your statements or bills take, it’s important to be well organized to manage your money. For e-statements, make a folder on your hard drive for your financial life. Then make folders for each of your accounts. Or you may want to organize your files by month to be sure you’ve taken care of all your bills.
4. Keep a record of your payments. Make a spreadsheet with all your accounts in one column and the months across the top. Each month, type in the amount you paid. The benefits are twofold: You can be sure you paid that bill, and you’ll be tracking your spending.
5. Keep your contact information up to date. If you change your email address, how are you going to get your e-statements? Your bank or credit card issuer needs to know your email address, mailing address and phone number. If you move, go through your bills in your financial files to be sure your records are current.
6. Make sure your computer is secure. This is crucial whether you receive paper statements or electronic ones. And change those passwords regularly.
Now, the next questions comes naturally,
How long should you keep your banking and other important documents?
The following link gives a good summary on what to keep and for how long: https://www.suzeorman.com/resources/record-keeping
Below are general suggestions for you to consider:
- Your bank statements should be kept for at least one year. Today many banks send a copy of your checks instead of sending your cancelled checks. This is much less bulky and makes storage easier. If you receive cancelled checks keep them for at least one year. Some banks send an annual summary so place this in your file and discard the monthly statements you have saved. Make sure you protect yourself and personal account information by shredding the statements. For those used for tax purposes, home improvements, and mortgage payments. Keep for at least seven years.
- Retain receipts for big ticket purchases permanently. Monthly credit card statements should be saved for at least one year. Keep your receipts during the month and check them against the statement for accuracy. If the statement is correct, you can shred the receipts. If any charges are questionable, contact the credit card company. Speak to a supervisor if possible. Document the first and last name of the person you are speaking with, the day and time you made the call, and what was discussed. Keep this information with your records. You may need to follow the call with a letter. If so, ask for the address, and to whose attention the letter should be written. For those used for tax purposes, home improvements, and mortgage payments keep for at least seven years.
- ATM, debit card and deposit receipts should be kept to check against the statement and then shredded.
- Keep all bank loan agreements, including auto loans and credit card agreements while your accounts are active. Signing and returning a credit card offer you receive in the mail is signing an actual binding agreement. Read the fine print and know exactly what you have agreed to.
- Keep paycheck stubs for approximately one year. When you receive your W-2 form/end of year tax statements, compare with your check stubs, and then shred the stubs. Keep tax information for at least seven years.
- Savings or retirement plan quarterly statements should be retained until you receive your annual statement. Compare the monthly statements to the annual statement. If there are no discrepancies, shred the monthly statements and save the annual statements permanently.
- Keep home records permanently. At signing, you will receive both printed copies and a pen drive with the electronic copies of your home loan. Make sure you store these in a safe place. Habitat also keeps a copy of all active mortgage files in a fireproof safe, shall you ever need a copy of these valuable documents.
Tip: Schedule a day of the week to pay bills. Arrange for a location close to your filing system and/or computer. Have envelopes, stamps, and extra pens handy. Or set up your account on auto payment plans if you are comfortable.
- It is recommended that you pay bills together so both of you will be familiar with monthly household bills.
- Balancing your checkbook together is also a good idea. Following your budget will be more successful if you both know what is coming in as income and what is being paid out each month as expenses.
- Using a cash flow calendar is also suggested.
- Write down on the calendar the dates that your bills come due. This method will assist you in budgeting and give you ideas on due dates that could possibly be changed.
And finally, if you feel ready to take on the home filing system, check this article from moneycrashers.com: How to create a Home Filing System for Record KeepingClick to open & download assignment 11
The Home Stretch
In the next few weeks you can expect to meet with Habitat’s Finance department (regarding loan documents), Homeowner Services staff (regarding sweat equity final requirements and to sign applications for possible grants on your home), construction staff (regarding details of your home), Development and Outreach Department (planning your home dedication), and more. You will be asked to come in and personally sign or e-sign loan qualification documents or grant applications for the different affordable housing programs we apply with City of Bend or Redmond and other affordable housing agencies, as well as request the match amount of your IDA or cash your closing cost savings as applicable.
- Approximately 8 weeks prior to the home dedication, Habitat Finance and Homeowner Services staff will begin asking you to complete applications related to buy downs on your home. For example, if your home loan will have grant or reduced and/or deferred System Development Charges (SDC) assistance from the City of Bend or Redmond you will be asked to complete the applications for these supports.
- About 6 weeks prior to your home dedication (see more on that below), you will be asked to schedule a meeting to review loan documents (hopefully, you will have already attended the monthly class on closing documents and process). You will also have an opportunity to review the estimated sales agreement and loan amounts based on the appraisal of your predetermined home. You will be able to take copies of these documents home with you to review.
- Bend-Redmond Habitat is currently working with an outside lender and mortgage partner (to partner on an affordable loan with the State of Oregon bond program). The mortgage partner agency will contact you to request you to complete your home loan application and related documents. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or need assistance gathering and copying any of the necessary documents. We will likely have most of the documentation they need, ( 2 years of tax returns, W2, most recent pay stubs etc) but they might be in need of a particular document for underwriting.
- Due to your final savings account deposit and matched savings funds, there will likely be an adjustment in the final amounts on your loan, which will affect your loan documents and sales agreement. You will be asked to sign these amended agreements.
- When your loan documents are complete and approved we will schedule your closing with a local title company. Bring two copies of a photo identification (your driver’s license if possible). Plan on taking one to one and a half hours for this signing.
This is an exciting time as you are getting very close to purchasing your home! It may feel like it is all coming at you quickly. We realize it is stressful. Gather up your patience and support systems. You are in the home stretch!
Please continue to read important information on next steps:
YOUR HOME DEDICATION
Once you receive notice from Habitat of your move in date, you and the Homeowner Services Department Staff, and the Development Department will begin planning your Home Dedication. The Dedication is an opportunity for all the volunteers who have worked on or contributed toward your home to view the finished results. Habitat will conduct a brief program dedicating your home.
You will be asked to present a short thank-you speech. This can be a written statement, a poem, or an unprepared talk, whichever you feel most comfortable with. A home dedication is a celebration to acknowledge everyone’s efforts and to formally wish you well.
Local media may also attend.
Your dedication might be a combined event of 2 or more families, especially when we are building higher density homes and completion dates are within one month of each other. If you have already moved into your home, it will mean that you will want to have it looking in tip-top shape for the dedication (no visible boxes, clean, and garage as clear as possible). We will address how this will look at our planning meeting.
Habitat will prepare an email invite as well as a printed invite that you can give out to family, friends, employers and your new neighbors. Plan on handing out at least 10 printed invites each for neighbors, friends at work and more. You can also forward the email invitation.
Habitat will also provide food (light, finger food) and drinks. We try to plan our dedications with one vendor in order to keep the costs down.
Homework before the planning meeting:
- Please see the sample Agenda for the ceremony. We will need to know who will introduce you. This should be someone who has seen you grow through our program, often this is your mentor, and how excited they are for your next chapter of homeownership.
- If you have a pastor that you would like to pray at the ceremony, please be prepared to share the name and contact information so that we can reach out.
- We will need photos of you and your families at your house during construction for our Home Dedication program. These can be emailed or texted 3-4 weeks before the home dedication date.
- Plan on delivering invitations to your soon-to-be neighbors. If you have children, this would be a good opportunity to introduce yourself.
Sample Agenda (two homeowners):
Family 1 and 2 – Home Dedication
Friday, March 15, 2019
Welcome & Donors Robin Cooper Engle, Director of Development
Family 1 Introduction Mentor
Family Speak Family 1 (and children, if appropriate)
Family 2 Introduction Mentor
Family Speak Family 2
Prayer Pastor or staff
Key Presentations Habitat Board Member
HOME INSPECTION, WARRANTIES AND REPAIR POLICY
Home Inspection Walk-through
Approximately 1-week before scheduling the home closing, the construction staff will do an inspection walk through with the homeowner and a local inspection company to review the systems of the house with the Partner Family. A partial punch-list (a checklist of work that remains to be done on the home and it’s covered under the one-year builder warranty) will be started at that time. If an item is urgent or structural, it will be addressed before closing on the home, schedule permitting. The homeowner should begin keeping a list of punch list items that will be reviewed and added to, if necessary, during the first year of homeownership.
Please make every effort to keep your scheduled walk through appointment. You will only have one opportunity to reschedule each appointment or you will forfeit you punch list completion or warranty. If you change or replace any construction item in the home, such as doors, toilets, lighting, etc., you will forfeit the 1-year warranty on that item.
Habitat is not a home maintenance company. Future maintenance and upkeep of the property is solely the responsibility of the homeowner.
Habitat will convey to homeowner any warranties by manufacturers or suppliers on individual materials, products, or systems supplied by Habitat. You will be given a packet of warranties specific to your home and a contact list for Habitat and all applicable contractors for your home.
During your first year of homeownership, shall any issue arise, please contact WIN Inspections, first. A representative from WIN will be able to provide you with the best suggestions as a volunteer community member. WIN will either escalate the issue to Habitat, advice for you to talk directly with contractors, or provide advice on how to fix it yourself as applicable. When/if you call one of the contractors on your list, be sure to let them know you are a Habitat homeowner and that the repair should be under warranty. If the issue is not under warranty or it is beyond your first year of homeownership, you will be responsible for any costs related to service or maintenance.
Warranty Requests: Items that are approved will become an under-warranty punch list and the work will be completed before warranty expiration date, usually the same date as the loan document signing. Please follow this process to submit a warranty request:
- Submit a written request (email or mail) any time during the first year of homeownership to family services (email@example.com)
- Provide two quotes from two other local contractors with your request submittal
- Family Services will review with Construction Team on deciding / approving if it is a valid warranty request
- Family Services will communicate approval or denial to the Homeowner
Note: Approved punch list items will be strictly focused on safety and structure. Cosmetic items or changes will become the responsibility of the new homeowner. Any punch list items that require additional cost will have to be pre-approved by the construction staff or committee.
Repair requests, particularly those concerning defects in materials or workmanship, will be evaluated by Habitat construction staff and possibly an objective person with construction experience. If the repair needed reflects a defect in materials or workmanship, a designated contractor or person with construction experience will complete the repair(s) needed.
8 weeks before you move checklist:
So, you’re 8 weeks out! Close, but not too close. It’s important for you to start planning ahead for every aspect of your move.
- Create a “moving” file or folder on Google Drive to store quotes, receipts, and records related to your move.
- Create a realistic budget for moving expenses. Are you going to purchase boxes and packing materials, rent a truck, take time off work?
- Request time off work for moving day. If you can, plan to take off and move on a Friday. That gives you the rest of the weekend to get yourself organized.
- If you have children and they are moving schools, requests transcripts for your kids from their old school for their new school. Regardless of how far you are moving, the new school your child attends will need these. Arrive prepared so your kid(s) don’t get left behind.
- Plan a garage sale. Then, donate anything left that you couldn’t sell.
- Plan how to move fragile or unusual items, such as musical equipment, fine art, large items, glass tables or safes. The list goes on and on.
6 weeks before you move checklist:
When you’re six weeks out from a move, it’s important to make sure you’re getting all your ducks in a row.
- Make time for friends and relatives before moving day. Squeeze in a few last memories is your current home by throwing a simple dinner party. It doesn’t have to be elaborate to do the trick.
- Collect free boxes from restaurants liquor, grocery, and office supply stores. You can also pay a visit to your local bookstore. They have more boxes than they know what to do with and will be more than happy to hand them over for free.
- Research packing hacks to make moving day easier.
- Label your moving boxes using different colored stickers/tape for each room. This will make your life a ton easier when you’re all moved in and ready to start unpacking.
- Keep a private list of which boxes you packed your valuables in.
- Mark moving boxes that are fragile. You don’t want textbooks stacked on top of your grandmother’s china.
- Take photos of all electronics before unplugging them. This will help jog your memory when you’re reconnecting things such as your TV and stereo.
- Put all your hardware in labeled baggies for easy furniture reassembly.
- Gather socks, t-shirts, towels, and linens to use as free packing supplies. Wrapping water glasses in dish towels? Address minor repairs before moving out. If you live in an apartment, this might be the difference between getting your security deposit back, or not.
- Pack a little every day. You don’t want to find yourself packing all of your belongings the night before.
4 weeks before you move checklist:
Four weeks out – you’ve officially hit the one-month mark! Now’s the time to start gathering important documents that you’ll need to bring with you to your new place. You should also start doing things like selling and donating items. It will be a lot easier to complete items on your moving checklist when you’re not bogged down in possession that you neither want nor need.
- Use or donate items that you can’t pack or sell, such as frozen foods, bleach, and aerosol cans.
- Gather all financial and legal records in one place.
- Gather birth certificates and passports for everyone in your home. Then, carry important documents on your person during your move.
- Return your library books.
- Compile medical, dental, and optical records for everyone in your home.
- Update your voter registration!
- Shop around for cable, internet, and phone bundles. Then, schedule installation and/or cancel your old services.
- Make sure your pets have ID tags for their collars.
2 weeks before you move checklist:
The big day is almost here! You’re two weeks away from moving and it’s time to update your accounts and records for your new place and address. You also want to take these two weeks before your move to plan ahead packing, meals, medication, pets, and children. Moving day is a BUSY one. Make sure to have everything on your moving list checked off for this two-week point.
- Create a moving file to organize your moving-related receipts and bills. You’ll want to keep a list of moving-related expenses to claim as a deduction at tax time.
- Recycle or dispose of corrosives, flammables, and poisonous items. Make sure you’re disposing of toxic items properly.
- Prep two-weeks worth of meals and use everything in the freezer.
- Return borrowed items from friends and family.
- Back up your computer. If something goes awry during your move, you’ll be thankful you have everything saved in an alternate place.
- Set up trash removal and recycling for your new home, and cancel your current service.
- Remove light bulbs from all lamps you plan to move.
- To keep little ones safe during a move, line up a babysitter or make arrangements for a play date.
- Find somewhere safe for pets to go during your move. Look into doggy daycare or ask a friend to watch them for a day.
- Change your address credit cards, banks, and the payroll department at work. Also, remember to order new checks.
- Forward your mail.
- Change address for Social Security benefits within 10 days of moving. Make sure to notify government offices, including the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the IRS.
- Update your address for newspaper and magazine subscriptions.
- Transfer your utilities including water, electric, and natural gas.
- Update your driver’s license.
- Update your address with Amazon and any monthly subscriptions boxes you receive.
- Change your address for your auto insurance and car registration.
- Clean outdoor furniture before it’s moved.
- Transfer your prescriptions to a new pharmacy, if necessary.
The week you move checklist:
The week has come! It’s time to make sure you organize your belongings, finish packing, and clean your old home. Make sure everything’s squared away early.
- Make sure you canceled and/or redirected scheduled deliveries. Remember that pair of shoes that was on backorder? Make sure they get shipped to correct address.
- Clean your current home for the next resident.
- Unplug your fridge and freezer to defrost the night before. Make sure you lay a towel in front of it to absorb any water that leaks.
- Drain water hoses to your washing machine and ice maker.
- Empty oil and gas from grills, heaters, lawn mowers, and snow blowers.
- Make sure nothing is hiding on shelves or in closet corners.
- Before conducting a final walk through with your landlord, fill nail holes with a bar of soap.
- Pack an essentials box with everything you’ll need for your first 24 hours in your new home.
- Take photographs of your empty place to prove it’s in move-out condition.
Moving day checklist:
Moving day is here! All your moving prep has led you to this very moment.
- If you haven’t already, get to know your neighbors!
- Go grocery shopping. At this point, you’ve eaten enough take out. Having food in the house will also prevent you from unnecessary spending.
One week, post move checklist:
You’re moved in! There’s still some things left to do.
- Post leftover moving boxes or unwanted furniture on Craigslist or Nextdoor.com. Or, give them to someone you know is moving.
- Send thank you notes to friends and family who helped you move.
- Aim to unpack all your stuff within two weeks of moving in.
Congratulations! You did it! We are so happy for you. We do hope you will continue in partnership with us for the years ahead.
As a part of the Habitat Homeownership Program, we expect you to attend three post-purchase workshops within the next 12 months. These workshops will each cover different topics each time but will always have a home repair, community, and financial planning component. Each of these 3-hour workshops will be offered in the evening or on a weekend. The first step will be to schedule a budget review with a homeowner services staff within 3-6 months of purchasing your home.
We will also be sending you and your mentor a survey to gather your feedback regarding the program. We strive to improve with each homeowner and we value your thoughts. Be on the look-out for this survey.
You are now officially invited to the Habitat Homeowner (closed) Facebook Group. Be on the lookout for an invite.
Please send photos, updates and stay in communication. We want to celebrate and support you as a part of the family.
DeeDee & Catalina
Bend Redmond Habitat Homeowner Services