Have questions? We have answers! Check out the frequently asked questions and answers below. If you have a question that’s not listed here, please contact us at info@gdmhabitat.org.

To begin your application, a prospective applicant must complete a pre-screening form and submit it during one of our Open Application Periods.  

Prospective applicants can access a pre-screening form in one of the following three ways:

  • Complete one online here and upload the needed documents.
  • Call the Habitat office at 515-471-8686 and request that a pre-screening form be mailed to you. 
  • Stop by the Habitat office some time Monday to Friday between 8:00am-4:00pm and pick one up there.

Along with the pre-screening form, prospective applicants will need to submit the following documents:

  • $25.00 money order or online payment for credit report fee (non-refundable). 
  • Copies of the three most recent months of pay stubs or income history for all adults living in the household
  • Copy of a valid photo ID for all applicants

Within 30 days from when an applicant has provided Habitat with a complete pre-screening form and required documents, Habitat will provide notification if the applicant is moving forward in the application process.

  • If you meet initial eligibility criteria, you will be invited to complete a formal Homeownership Program application and submit additional documentation.
  • If you do not qualify, you will receive a letter indicating the reason for denial as well as an invitation to meet with a Mortgage Loan Originator to discuss your mortgage readiness.
  • Habitat also offers Pre-Purchase Housing Counseling from HUD-Certified Housing Counselors that can help you make an action plan to address barriers to homeownership and assess your home loan options. For more information about the HUD-Approved Housing Counseling & Financial Education services, please click here.
  • If your contact information (address, phone numbers, email address) or any financial information changes, please contact Leah Hall at 515-471-8686 ext. 151.

An applicant’s gross household income must be between 30-60% of the area median income for the current year. Habitat uses the Area Median Income limits established each year by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development that take into account family size. The chart below shows the lower and upper limits depending on household size. If you have any questions about how income is calculated or what is included in the calculations, please contact a representative of the Homeownership Program.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Area Median Income $64,000 $73,100 $82,200 $91,300 $98,700 $106,000 $113,300 $120,600
60% / Upper Limit $38,400 $43,860 $49,320 $54,780 $59,220 $63,600 $67,980 $72,360
30% / Lower Limit $19,200 $21,930 $24,660 $27,390 $29,610 $31,800 $33,990 $36,180

Habitat will contact you in the next 30 days regarding next steps with your application. During this time, applicants may need to submit missing documentation, move on to the next application stage, or be declined. Submitting an incomplete pre-screening form will extend the length of your application process.

Qualified applicants will be notified of approval within 3-4 months of submitting a complete pre-screening form.

On average it takes about 14 months to complete the program and purchase a Habitat house, but some homebuyers purchase in a shorter amount of time and some take longer.

We evaluate applicants based on three main criteria—Need for Affordable Housing, Ability to Pay, and Willingness to Partner.

A full list of the criteria can be found here.

Habitat evaluates applicants based on a set list of criteria. Applicants must qualify for the Homeownership Program before meeting the program requirements and qualifying for a mortgage to purchase a house from Habitat.

The Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity Homeownership Program Family Selection Policy can be found here.

Yes, you can reapply anytime there is an Open Application Period.

Single people are welcome to apply. We welcome all interested applicants.

It does not count as income in the evaluation of the Ability to Pay criteria, as Habitat cannot reasonably project that that income will continue.

There is no minimum credit score to qualify for the Habitat Homeownership Program. However, the criteria takes into account the amount of debt compared to income, the amount of past due debt, and other credit factors.

The current required down payment is $500 in addition to about $2000-4000 in closing costs paid at the time of purchase.

Sweat equity opportunities are available in the office, in the Habitat ReStores, at Special Events, and working on other houses as well as the homebuyer’s own.

GDMHFH requires a minimum of 300 hours to purchase a previously owned house and 400 hours for a new construction house.

Depending on if the homebuyer is an applicant or two co-applicants, a set number of hours can be donated by friends/extended family/co-workers.

Additionally, parents can also earn sweat equity for time that others spend watching their children while they are working sweat equity shifts.

The Blueprint to Homeownership classes are specifically designed for the Habitat homebuying experience and cover information that is helpful to set homebuyers up for success in their new roles as homeowners.

That is not an option at this time. Habitat acquires properties and offers these properties with selected house plans to qualified homebuyers.

Where we have properties can vary. Historically we have had properties on the North Side, East Side, South Side, and Drake neighborhood. Occasionally we have had a property outside of these locations. We are always looking for opportunities for new locations to build. People, when eligible (when they are financially ready, and an applicant has completed 25 hours of sweat equity, or 50 hours of sweat equity for two co-applicants), are able to choose from a list of available properties we have at that time.

Habitat houses are a set number of square feet and 3 bedroom plans range from 1,158 to 1,348 finished square feet. The number of bedrooms in a house is determined by Habitat and is based on family size and make-up. Plans with over 3 bedrooms will have additional finished square footage.

Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity is not a custom home builder.

We build our house plans to the same structural specifications every time, and provide a basic set of amenities with each house. House features like room size, room location, wall placement, and kitchen arrangement are predetermined by the house plan being built. 

We currently provide homebuyers with a limited selection of cosmetic finishes for things like flooring materials, exterior paint color, and countertop color. Habitat also offers new ceiling fans and appliances installed before closing at cost to the buyer. The availability of selections is always changing and while Habitat is constantly working to increase options, we cannot guarantee that choices will be the same for every homebuyer. 

Habitat currently offers additional house features compliant with the American Disabilities Act (ADA). If you think this might apply to you or someone in your family, you can contact a Homeownership Program representative with additional questions.

Fair Housing

We Do Business in Accordance with the Federal Fair Housing Law

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.

Interpreters available upon request.

GDM Habitat for Humanity

2200 E. Euclid Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa 50317


Office Hours
Mon – Fri: 8:00am – 4:00pm

East Euclid ReStore

2200 E. Euclid Ave.
Des Moines, Iowa 50317


Store Hours
Mon. – Sat. 9:00am – 6:00pm

Urbandale ReStore

4033 NW Urbandale Dr.
Urbandale, Iowa 50322


Store Hours
Mon. – Sat. 9:00am – 6:00pm