Habitat Blog

Welcoming our Newest Homeowners across the Bay Area

By Angelica Resendez, Director of Homeowner Development. We’re excited to welcome our newest homeowners into their homes on Saturday, December 1st in East Palo Alto! Every home dedication ceremony is special to us, but this event is particularly special since we’re holding the celebration at one of the actual homes.


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Unlike our new home dedication ceremonies, these homes have been sold by Habitat homeowners and “bought back” by Habitat as part of our resale program. This allows more families to have an opportunity to own a Habitat home in the Bay Area.

You may be familiar with our new home program, but what is a "resale"?

When a Habitat Greater San Francisco homeowner decides to sell back their home, we have the right to repurchase the home as long as it is within the affordability period, which can be up to 55 years. Habitat’s intent is to preserve affordability for low-income households up to the 80% Area Median Income (AMI) range. That means if a homeowner chooses to sell back their home, we have the opportunity to buy their home back and then resell it to another qualified household in our region.

Homeowners usually sell back their home because they’ve retired, outgrown their home, or relocated due to a better job opportunity. And the best thing? Habitat homeowners receive – at minimum – all the equity they’ve paid at the time of selling their home back to us. It’s not unheard of that our homeowners end up buying a market-rate home elsewhere or retiring comfortably with the equity they’ve built in their Habitat homes over the years.

Just like our new homes, resales are marketed the same way. We open applications to everyone in our region and host a lottery to determine processing order. From there, we find qualified households based on income, need, and ability to partner.

A lower sweat equity requirement is the only difference from the new home process. We only require 250 hours versus 500 since the resale home has already been built and usually only requires renovations. Other than that, the process for resales is the same as new home sales.

Similarly to our homeowners in our new home program, our homeowners in our resale program come from different backgrounds, reflecting the diverse community we have right here in the Bay Area. What they have in common is their desire to stay in our region and to have stable affordable housing for their family and children.

One of our future resale homeowners, Norma, has a long history of advocating for affordable housing on behalf of her community. She used to work at Santa Inez Apartments (affordable rentals in San Mateo) and reached out to the Homebuyer Readiness Program (HRP) to host a series of financial literacy workshops for the residents taught by Habitat staff. When our resale applications for San Mateo County opened, she encouraged residents to apply, in addition to applying herself.

After finding out a Santa Inez family was selected as a qualified household and waiting for months, Norma finally heard back from Habitat. She was elated to find out that she met our homeownership requirements, was qualified, and had been randomly selected. Now, she has the opportunity to purchase a Habitat home through our resale program.

We’re looking forward to celebrating the start of the homeownership journey of all our homeowners at the Home Dedication Ceremony! If you've never attended any of our Home Dedication Ceremonies, check out these photos to see what they're all about.

Interested in attending this special celebration?
Please reach out to Angelica Resendez at 415-625-1008 or aresendez@habitatgsf.org.


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