Frequently Asked Questions
What is Sweat Equity?
Sweat Equity is not a simple programmatic requirement, nor is it in any way meant to be a test for partner families to pass or fail. Rather, sweat equity is an exciting cornerstone to the Habitat ministry, designed to meet three important goals:
- Partnership – Sweat equity provides meaningful interaction between partner families, affiliate representatives and Habitat volunteers.
- Pride in homeownership – Investing sweat-equity hours in their own homes helps families in the construction phase begin the transition to homeownership.
- Development of skills and knowledge – On the building site, partner family members should gain a real understanding of the construction of their home and of maintenance issues they will face after occupancy.
How many hours of Sweat Equity must I complete to own a Habitat home?
Before moving into their home, families will work side-by-side with volunteers and staff for 350 hours. The 350 hours include time spent on the construction of your home and the homes of other Habitat families, as well as time spent in financial counseling and homeowner education courses. Sweat Equity helps families develop a sense of ownership through hard work on their own home. Applicants who lack interest in completing the 350 hours of Sweat Equity are not viable candidates for our program.
Can friends and family members pitch in to meet the 350 hours of Sweat Equity?
Yes! Family members and friends are encouraged to pitch in. Their work counts toward your 350 hours, as do the hours you spend in financial counseling and homeowner education courses.
How long does it take to complete the process for purchasing a Habitat home?
Building a home with Habitat is a process. It starts when you apply for a Habitat home and finishes when you and your family move into your new home. In all, the project can take anywhere from 12 – 18 months from beginning to end.
What happens after I submit a prescreening application?
If you complete prescreening process and everything checks out, you will receive an invitation via the U.S. mail to attend the next scheduled orientation. Orientations are held one Saturday each month from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00pm. During the orientation, you will receive an overview of the Habitat program, and the full application with other supporting documents.
What types of homes are available?
We build three, four and five bedroom houses. Each home has at least two full bathrooms and central air conditioning/heating. All the homes we build are ENERGY STAR qualified, which means they meet strict guidelines for energy efficiency set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
If I complete this process, can I customize my Habitat home?
At the beginning of the building process, you can choose the cabinet and shutter colors, the type of flooring and other options. After you close on your home and move in, there are other changes you are able to make, such as paint colors on the inside. There are some restrictions, which will be addressed during the orientation process.
How are repairs to Habitat homes handled?
Habitat provides you with a one-year written limited warranty agreement.* During this period, Habitat will repair or replace defects in material or workmanship. Habitat may extend the warranty for an additional year if you agree to a home inspection prior to the end of the one-year warranty, and you agree to be present at that inspection so that the findings from that inspection and recommendations for home maintenance can be shared with you, then.
After the warranty period is over, you can choose to complete any needed repairs yourself or hire someone to help you and pay them for their services. Habitat also offers some repair services, which you can pay for. For more expensive maintenance issues, you may qualify for a 0% interest loan.
*The limited warranty agreement does not include everything. Examples of things not covered include damage from fire; damage from misuse or abuse of covered items; or products, appliances or other equipment that are covered by manufacturer’s or installer’s. A comprehensive list of what is not covered is included in the agreement.
Does Habitat make money on the homes built?
No, Habitat does not make money on the homes we help build. Instead, monthly mortgage payments are used to help us build more Habitat homes for hardworking families.