FAQ's & Resources
Q. What documents do I need to bring with me once I make an appointment?
A. Social Security cards for all family members; Birth Certificates for all family members; income verification for all family wage-earners (5 most recent pay-stubs); six months of most recent bank statements; two picture identifications cards (driver’s license, resident alien card, passport); three most recent tax returns with W-2 forms; lease or a letter from the landlord with their name, address, and phone number; other income information (Letter of Disability, AFDC, Social Security, SSI, Pension, Child Support Order, etc.); divorce papers or marriage certificate; if applicable, work permit number, citizenship certificate, custody court order. Printable Required Documents List.
Q. How do I qualify?
A. Income, credit worthiness, and savings are the most important requirements to qualify for a home.
Q. How long do I have to be employed in order to qualify for a house?
A. You must have a steady, documented income for a period of 2 years. However, you do not have to work at the same place of employment for the entire 2 year period.
Q. Are the Homeowner Academy Courses mandatory?
A. Yes. Over a period of 12 weeks, you will cover the basics of money management, credit, asset building, savings, 401(k), sales contracts, mortgages, insurance, settlement, maintenance, fire safety, foreclosure, and many other topics.
Q. Do I have to finish the classes before I buy a house?
A. The completion of the classes is necessary. However, if you’re ready to complete the closing process before your final class, you will be required to put $500.00 into an escrow account with the Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society. This money will be held by SJCS until you have completed all of the classes and received the 2 Academy certificates. Upon completion of the classes and receipt of the certificates, Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society will fully refund the $500.00.
Q. What is the minimum annual income required to buy a house?
A. Generally, an annual income of $18,000 is needed to buy a home.
Q. If I have bad credit, can I still buy a house?
A. Yes, but it is necessary to resolve your credit issues first. Come in to see one of our mortgage counselors and get started today.
Q. How much money do I need to have as a down payment?
A. There is a minimum down payment requirement of 3% of the cost of the house.
Q. How much money will I need for the closing?
A. The closing will cost between $3,500 and $5,000.
Q. I don’t have any money. What are my options?
A. Don’t worry, you have options. There are several grants available, including the First Time Homebuyer’s Grant and the First Front Door Grant. Our mortgage counselors are also available to sit with you and help you to set up a savings plan.
Q. What is the First Time Homebuyer’s Grant?
A. We refer all of our clients to apply for the First Time Homebuyer’s grant through the City of Camden. At this time, they are offering $5,000 to help with the purchase of your home. We use this to assist with down payment and closing costs. The City decides who qualifies for this grant. However, you must still submit at least 3% of the sales price as a down payment.
Q. How much does my credit report cost?
A. The credit report costs $23.00 for each applicant.
Q. Can I buy a house if I have no credit history?
A. Yes. If you do not have “traditional credit” (credit cards, loans, etc.), the lenders will base your credit (your ability to pay) on “alternative credit” (rent, utilities, daycare, insurance, etc.).
Q. Does Saint Joseph's Carpenter Society help me fix my credit?
A. Yes. Our mortgage counselors are available to sit with you and help fix your credit today.
Q. Can I qualify to buy a house while receiving government assistance?
A. Yes, as long as the assistance is enough to qualify you for a mortgage.
Q. Will my mortgage payment change?
A. The only way that your mortgage payment will change is if your tax or insurance rate changes. Your interest rate will not change for the term of the loan, unless you refinance.
Q. Does Saint Joseph's Carpenter Society take the house back if I lose it?
A. No. Once you buy a house from SJCS, any financial issues that arise will be settled between you and your lender.
Q. If I want to move, can I sell my house?
Q. Do I get to keep the money from the sale of my house?
A. The money from the sale of your house pays off your mortgage. You will work out the sales price and the amount of profit with the State of New Jersey, not with Saint Joseph’s Carpenter Society.
Q. Do you offer “rent to own”?
Q. Do you only sell houses in Camden, NJ?
A. No. SJCS offers homes for sale at a limited basis in surrounding communities as well.
Q. Can my parent/sibling and I buy a house together?
A. Yes, but the house has to be the primary residence for anyone who signs the contract.
Q. Do I need to have a co-signer to buy a house?
A. No, you can purchase a home in your name only.
Q. Do I get to choose my own house?
A. Yes, but homes are available on a first-come, first-served basis to those who qualify.