Frequently Asked Questions
Purchasing a home: Eligibility
Are Headwaters homes only for first time homebuyers?
No, but you cannot own other residential real estate or a mobile home as a primary residence at the time of purchase of a Headwaters home. Closings may be set to be contingent on the sale of other real estate that you own.
I earn my income in one of Headwaters’ “local” zip codes, but the company I work for is not based in the Bozeman area. Am I eligible?
If you work for a local office or branch of a national company, like a bank or hotel, that counts as local income. If you work from home for a national company (ie, are a remote worker), then no, we don’t consider your income to be earned from a local business.
What if I am self-employed?
75% of your household income must be earned in Headwaters’ local zip codes.
My income varies from year to year. What amount should I submit on your forms?
For the entry form, please submit this year’s anticipated salary (2023). For the application, we look at your current income and two years prior (2023, 2022, and 2021). We look at gross income (before taxes), including wages, tips, child support, pensions, Social Security, investment income, and any other miscellaneous income. We recognize that incomes vary from year to year.
I just retired. Am I eligible to buy a Headwaters home?
Yes, so long as your income (social security payments, pension payouts, etc.) is sufficient to qualify for a mortgage and meets Headwaters’ eligibility criteria.
Purchasing a home: Weighted Drawing
Can each member of a household apply individually to purchase a home?
We ask that each household only submit one entry form. Your household includes everyone that will be living in the home.
One member of our household has lived in Bozeman for 10 years, but the other only for 2. Will that hurt us in the weighted drawing?
No, you should use the longest residency in your household (whether it belongs to the Applicant, Co-Applicant, or other adult in the household) on your entry form. In this example, you would select 5+ years on the entry form.
If you entered the Phase 2 weighted drawing, do you have more weight in the Phase 3 drawing?
No, there is no additional weight for previous entrants. Each phase will have an independent entry form period. Households need to complete an entry form for each phase to be considered.
If my name is pulled in the weighted drawing, will I have a choice of homes?
Each home will have its own weighted drawing. If your household is selected at the top of the list for a home, you will be offered the opportunity to apply to purchase that specific home.
If I select more than one home on the Entry Form, will it negatively impact my chances in the weighted drawing?
No. There is no negative impact for indicating you are interested in multiple homes. We run a separate weighted drawing for each available home. You will have the same number of drawing entries for each home you select based on the number of years you have lived in Bozeman. For example, if you have lived in Bozeman for 5 years, you will get 10 entries for each home you are interested in.
Purchasing a home: Financing
What is the difference between lender prequalification and preapproval?
Traditionally, a lender prequalification involves a basic analysis of your financial information to give a ballpark estimate of the amount of mortgage they are willing to offer. A mortgage preapproval is a commitment to lend a specific amount at a certain interest rate, based on a purchase and sale agreement for a particular home.
Are closing costs for purchase or resale subsidized or covered by Headwaters?
No. However, there are no real estate agent fees, which are usually 6% of the sale price. Headwaters will help locate an income-qualified buyer for a 2.5% transfer fee to facilitate the resale of a home, saving both the buyer and seller the cost of typical Realtor commissions.
Is mortgage insurance required?
Lenders typically require mortgage insurance if your down payment is less than 20% of the value of the home. The subsidy Headwaters provides acts as an equity investment that stays with the home, decreasing the loan-to-value ratio on behalf of the buyer; therefore, mortgage insurance is not required.
Are co-signers allowed on a mortgage for a Headwaters home?
No. In order to assure that the home is affordable to the members of the household, no co-signers are allowed.
Can you use a VA or FHA loan to purchase a Headwaters home?
These loan programs generally cannot accept the resale restrictions placed by Headwaters on the homes to ensure permanent affordability.
What parties need to sign the ground lease on a Headwaters home?
All adults over 18 that will occupy the home must sign the ground lease.
Owning a home: Living at Bridger View
What are the responsibilities of Headwaters homeowners?
Homeowners are expected to be responsible neighbors and community residents. Homes must be used responsibly and only for residential uses. As good neighbors, Headwaters homeowners are responsible for their behavior and the actions of who live in and visit their homes.
Is there a Homeowners Association (HOA) at Bridger View?
Yes. All 62 homeowners in the Bridger View neighborhood will belong to the Bridger View Owners Association. Dues paid by each homeowner average $200 monthly. The dues collected will be used by the Association to maintain and manage the neighborhood’s common areas (including interior streets, pathways, greenspaces, snow removal, garbage, and recycling collection, etc.) and, when needed, to maintain and replace siding and roofs of all homes in the neighborhood.
What are the maintenance responsibilities of Headwaters homeowners?
Homeowners are expected to maintain their homes and yards in good, safe, and habitable condition, in full compliance with all laws, regulations, insurance coverage and Bridger View Owner Association requirements. While the Association is responsible for repair and replacement of home siding and roofs, homeowners are responsible for all other maintenance, upkeep, and repairs to their homes and yards.
Can Headwaters homeowners in the Bridger View neighborhood make changes and alterations to their homes?
Careful attention was paid to the aesthetic and environmental benefits of the interior of each Bridger View home. Nevertheless, homeowners may make cosmetic changes to the interior finishes of their homes, as they wish.
Major alterations that require a building permit from the City of Bozeman (e.g., finishing the basement, adding a deck, installing solar panels, etc.) require prior, written approval from Headwaters and must be consistent with the neighborhood’s Design Guidelines.
Due to the compact nature of the Bridger View neighborhood, expanding the footprint or height of homes is not allowed.
May Headwaters homeowners rent or sublet their homes?
Homeowners must live in their home as their primary residence, occupying their home for at least ten (10) months every year, and may not rent any part of their home for any period of time unless the homeowner receives a written exception to this policy from the Headwaters Community Housing Trust Board of Directors. Short-term rentals are not allowed.
Does Bridger View accommodate mobility differences?
All homes in Bridger View were designed for aging in place and with different people’s mobility in mind. Doorways are wider than standard, porches have a zero threshold access, bathrooms have blocking to install grab bars, and most homes have been designed to accommodate ramps. Bungalow units feature first-floor living designs. All neighborhood walkways and the common house meet ADA standards, allowing all neighbors to connect with the community.
Owning a home: Finances
Are there fees paid by Headwaters homeowners?
Yes. Homeowners pay a monthly lease fee to Headwaters Community Housing Trust. This fee is $50 monthly and will be increased by 2.5% annually. Headwaters will use the fees it collects to maintain contact with its homeowners and provide support, as needed, as well as to expand the number of permanently affordable, below-market homes in Bozeman and the surrounding area.
Will Headwaters homeowners need to budget for future special assessments?
Many safeguards have been put in place to try to avoid future special assessments, including high quality construction, mandates for the HOA to set dues to meet expenses and build adequate reserves, and the inclusion of a 1% transfer fee on the market homes dedicated to funding the HOA.
Do Headwaters homeowners pay property taxes? How much are they?
Homeowners enjoy the benefit of public services like roads, schools, etc., so, like other homeowners, are responsible for paying real estate taxes assessed by the Gallatin County Treasurer, along with City of Bozeman Special Assessments. Property taxes are typically around 1% of the value of a home. Headwaters homes are currently appraised at, and taxed on, the below-market value (not the full free market value) of the home.
Given the cap on appreciation (2.5% annually), what is the financial benefit of buying a Headwaters home?
Investing in real estate is a risk. The primary financial benefit of Headwaters homeownership is the potential ability to build equity through appreciation (2.5% compounded annually) and through paying down your mortgage debt. Headwaters homes provide an entry point to homeownership that may not otherwise be available locally to middle income buyers.
Selling a home
Can a Headwaters homeowner choose to sell their home at any time?
How much can a Headwaters homeowner sell their home for?
At resale, homeowners may sell their home for the original purchase price, keeping the equity earned by paying down the principal balance on their mortgage. Plus, they may receive compounding interest of two and one-half percent (2.5%) for each year they own the home. And, if the homeowner made approved capital improvements or capital system upgrades to their home, they will be eligible for a credit for these modifications, up to ten percent (10%) of the original purchase price of your home.
This arrangement allows Headwaters homeowners to build equity while keeping the home affordable for future income-qualified homebuyers.
Are Headwaters homes inheritable by designated heirs and beneficiaries?
Yes. Homeowners may designate in their wills who may inherit their home. If the designated heir is a spouse or common law partner residing in the home, Headwaters will consent to this person assuming ownership of the home. Any other beneficiary must be income-qualified by Headwaters and, if this person does not meet these income qualifications, the home will be resold at the resale-restricted price and the beneficiary may inherit the proceeds.
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Housing affordability is at a critical juncture. It is a community-wide problem that requires community-wide participation. By supporting the Headwaters Community Housing Trust today, you can be part of the solution.