What is Sweat Equity?
Sweat equity is the single most important strategy Habitat for Humanity of Berkeley County (HFHBC) uses to empower future homeowner families (Partner Families) and one of the features that sets us apart from other affordable housing providers.
HFHBC uses the term “sweat equity” to refer to the hours of labor our Partner Families dedicate to building the homes of their fellow Partner Families and their own home, as well as the time they spend investing in their own self-improvement through our educational workshops. HFHBC Partner Families begin their sweat equity after being accepted into the program, and they must complete a minimum of 350 hours before they can move into their homes.
Sweat equity reduces the amount of paid labor needed for a house, which in turn helps reduce cost. Additionally, time spent building their own homes instills a sense of pride and ownership while teaching house-maintenance skills that are necessary for homeownership.
Most importantly, by going beyond a mere financial investment in their property and performing sweat equity alongside other volunteers and neighbors, HFHBC homeowners gain a greater sense of self-worth and become more personally invested in their community.
I have filed for bankruptcy in the past, does
this disqualify me?
If you have filed for bankruptcy in the last three years, you are not eligible to apply at this time. If you have a bankruptcy that is over three years old, you may apply but documentation that the bankruptcy has been discharged will be required.
Do I have to own land/will you build on my land?
Owning your own land is not a requirement. If you do own land, it may be possible to have a home built on your land, provided that the applicant has clear title to the property.
I scheduled an interview appointment, what happens now?
Your interview appointment will be scheduled approximately two weeks after your prescreening. This will give you the necessary time to compile the documents needed for your interview. After you attend your interview on the scheduled date, our Family Services Committee will begin processing your application. A home visit is the next step in the application process. If one is required, you will be notified.
Where do you build?
We build in various locations throughout Berkeley County. We do our best to honor a Partner Family’s preference as to which part of the county they would like to live in, but the final decision is based on HFHBC’s current land inventory and access to affordable land.
How long will it take for construction to begin on my home?
The length of time to complete the program and purchase a house will vary, but typically once accepted into the program, it takes approximately 12-18 months for construction on your home to begin.
How much do HFHBC houses cost?
HFHBC acts as the lender for a 25 year interest free mortgage. The money that Partner Families pay back is channeled into the construction of additional HFHBC homes for other qualifying families. The total cost of the home is approximately $100,000 with monthly mortgage payments averaging from $450-$550 per month. This includes an escrow payment for homeowners insurance, property taxes and termite bond, but does not include any utilities.
Is there a down payment?
There is no down payment required, but Partner Families are required to cover the cost of the legal fees associated with the closing on their home. The costs incurred are approximately $2500. Families will deposit $155 per month into their closing cost savings account so that they will have the necessary funds at the time of their closing.
Does HFHBC repair existing homes?
Yes, We do undertake a limited number of home repairs each year. Applicants must own their home.
I applied for homeownership with HFHBC in the past and was denied. Can I reapply?
Yes! If you applied with us in the past and your application was denied we encourage you to reapply if the circumstances that lead to your denial have changed.