Find the answers to our Frequently Asked Questions!

Have some questions about becoming a Habitat homeowner? Find the answers to our most Frequently Asked Questions below!

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  • The first step in the process of becoming a Habitat homeowner is to fill out an  eligibility questionnaire during an active application launch. It should take you about 45 minutes to complete. You will need to gather some numbers from all applicant’s Notice of Assessments (NOA), Credit Cards, Loans and Lines of Credit that you have.  This will be used to determine if you meet our basic requirements for a current Habitat for Humanity NWT project.
  • Please review the  program requirements  before filling out the eligibility questionnaire. Requirements may differ from one project to the next based on location, type of building, etc.
  • Based on your questionnaire, you will receive an email within 4 weeks indicating if you are eligible to proceed to the next stage of the application, or if you did not qualify. If you pre-qualify, we will then provide you with a full application and Online Informational Videos where you will learn more about our Homeownership Program.

The average process time from completing the  eligibility questionnaire to having the application approved takes approximately 2 – 4 months.

The average time from application approval to the occupancy/move-in date can vary from between 3-24 months depending on the specifics of the project and when the home is ready. After you are approved, we will discuss build timelines with you and provide an estimated completion and move in date, and keep you informed of the build progress or any expected delays.

There could be several reasons why a family does not meet the requirements. Please remember to review our eligibility criteria to learn about the minimum requirements before filling out the  eligibility questionnaire.

It is also possible that:

  • the town/location you applied for does not have any current projects available.
  • your debt-to-income ratio is too high (how much you owe each month to how much you earn), or that your income is above or below the income levels set for each project.
  • your family size is smaller or larger than the home size available.

Habitat for Humanity NWT receives many applications for a small quantity of homes. Applicants who meet all of the eligibility requirements are not guaranteed to get a home.

There are many things we consider before building in a community including the availability of residential building lots, amount of preparation work needed prior to building, availability of a local community liaison, availability of local contractors and volunteers, distance from the road system, community size, and others. Because we are a very small non-profit, we also may not have the people or resources to build in some NWT communities.

If you are interested in a Habitat home build in your community, please contact us at admin@habitatnwt.ca.

Habitat for Humanity NWT’s Family Selection Committee reviews each application to ensure they meet the minimum eligibility criteria, and then brings forward recommendations to the Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors.

These recommendations are based on three criteria: 1)The applicant’s level of need. 2)Their willingness to partner with Habitat and 3)Their ability to repay a mortgage through an affordable payment plan. Unfortunately, we receive many more applications than we have homes available and meeting the eligibility criteria is not a guarantee of becoming a homeowner.

See all eligibility criteria.

Part of the application process includes listing your sources of income.

Employment supplements can often count towards your overall income, but they cannot be your only source of income. One requirement to apply is that one adult be employed full-time, year-round. Here is information on what income can be considered in your application:

Long Term Disability (LTD):

  • Not accepted if it is your only source of income.
  • May be accepted at the discretion of our Board as a supplement to income.

Employment Insurance (EI):

  • Not accepted if it is your only source of income.
  • May be accepted at the discretion of our Board as a supplement to income. It will be used only if there is evidence that the applicant has had regular employment over a three-year period, and EI was only collected between seasonal employment periods (e.g., substitute teachers)

GNWT Income Assistance (IA):

  • Not accepted if it is your only source of income.
  • May be accepted at the discretion of our Board as a supplement to income in situations where IA serves as a top-up to regular employment, staff may require additional proof to calculate expected income.

All income is verified using the applicant(s) previous years Notice of Assessment Line 15000 supported by a Letter of Employment or your two most recent consecutive paystubs.

* Excluded Income is money you receive that is not included in your total gross household income in your application:

  • Canada Child Benefit
  • Canada Pension Plan Child Disability Benefit
  • Canada Pension Plan Children’s Survivor or Orphan Benefit
  • Foster Parent payments
  • Child support (Maintenance Enforcement)
  • Registered Disability Savings Plan
  • Residential School Settlement Payments

If you proceed to the next stage in the application, a credit check will be performed.

Gross household income is the combined income of the applicant and any co-applicants listed on the application, before income taxes. Households with additional family members, who are of legal age, and live permanently in the home and earn an income will be included in the total gross household income. It includes all income listed on line 15000 of all applicants previous years Notice of Assessment.

Here is an example of gross household income. Please note that this is not a real example.

  • Pierre earns $75,000 per annum from his job as a Government Employee.
  • His wife Catherine earns $35,000 as a part-time cashier.
  • Pierre’s brother Jean also lives with them and plans to do so long term. He earns $20,000 per annum from his permanent part-time job in construction.
  • This brings their total household gross income to $130,000.

The minimum and maximum household income varies year over year for each project primarily based on location.

A Partner Family’s ability to pay must be based on Gross Household Income as indicated on the CRA Notice of Assessment and must fall below the Median Household Income, by Community, as defined by NWT Bureau of Statistics most recent census data and greater than half that figure, for the year in which they applied. For point of reference, Yellowknife’s income range for 2022 builds was $74,000-$148,000.

Yes, you can apply if you are on paternity or maternity leave. However, keep in mind your household income will be looked at accordingly. If the return date is within six months of the application date, then we will use 100% of the stated salary on the application.

If the return date is not within six months of the application date, then we can only use 60% of the stated salary. As part of your application, you will need to provide documentation from your employer about your Maternity/Paternity leave, your expected return to work date and your position and salary upon returning.

Habitat uses a shared equity model to lower the cost of homeownership for families. Families can obtain a mortgage, through Habitat for Humanity NWT, that is affordable to them based on their income and requires no down payment. We provide an affordable payment option in form of a Repayable Loan that is 75% of the Fair Market Value (FMV) of your home at time of occupancy. FMV is the price an asset would sell on the open market. The remaining 25% is a Deferred loan that is due upon default of payments, sale of the home, full repayment of the Repayable Loan or after 25 years, whichever is sooner. Thus, giving families a hand-up to be able to afford and purchase a home that would otherwise not be possible.

How our mortgage model works at a glance:

Getting in the door…

  • Your family purchases the home at fair market value.
  • You obtain through Habitat for Humanity NWT, a Repayable Loan (75% FMV of home) based on your income.
  • Habitat for Humanity NWT defers the remaining 25% fair market value of the home, to be paid later, as described above.
  • Family size and configuration is considered.
  • Approved families complete 500 volunteer hours as part of their partnership, with Habitat for Humanity NWT, which can be completed in their community and on their home build, with the assistance of their family and friends.

Staying in your home…

  • Habitat for Humanity NWT helps keep payments affordable, initially set at 25% of your gross annual household income less property taxes (if applicable) and home insurance.
  • An Annual Income Review as well as a Collateral Mortgage and Amortization Review each take place once a year to determine suitability of payments in a holistic manner.
  • We support you throughout your Habitat Homeownership journey.

Long term affordability…

  • Habitat for Humanity NWT will buy your home back when you are ready to sell and help another family just like yours!
  • If the home is sold during the first 5 years of homeownership there will be no equity returned to the Partner Family.
  • If the home is sold after 5 years of homeownership, there will be a 50/50 split of the change in FMV Equity of the house between the Partner Family and Habitat for Humanity NWT.
  • If the home is sold after 10 years of homeownership, all equity in the house created through principal payments and any increase (or decrease) in FMV would accrue to the Partner Family as outlined in the buy-back clause of the Loan agreement.

If you have been informed that you are not eligible/did not qualify you may fill in the online questionnaire again when your status has changed to meet the eligibility requirements, or if it has been over 12 months since you submitted your previous questionnaire. 

If you were informed that you did not qualify after you submitted your full application, you may contact us at  familyservices@habitatnwt.ca, referencing your original application, to inform us about any changes in the original application that you submitted after six months. Beyond that time frame, you may submit the online questionnaire again to check eligibility for new projects.

Please note that if you re-apply and are found to be eligible, another credit check will be required.