'Sweat equity' lets buyers work for their homes

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PHOENIX -- A brand new Bellago home in South Phoenix is not quite move-in ready, but it is getting closer with help from its new owner, who’s paying some serious sweat equity to seal the deal.

"They make you work," first-time homeowner Tina Miller said. "They make you earn it!"

Miller would not be buying her home if it were not for a sweat equity program. Bellago Homes is offering buyers a chance to offset their down payment by working on the house themselves and completing their work in four days. The house must then pass inspection.

"We provide some training for people to paint the inside of their home, and they can earn from $2,500 all the way up to $4,000, which really can take care of their down payment," said Wayne Funk of Bellago.

Homeowners must paint the tops and bottoms of the doors, caulk the baseboards, and caulk all of the shelves, among other responsibilities, Funk said.

Six of 11 incoming homeowners have signed up for the new program. One expert likes the idea of helping people get into their first home.

"If you’re starting from scratch, and you’ve got no down payment, there’s nobody offering 100 percent loans like they used to in 2004," said Michael Orr, a professor at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. "In fact, money is quite hard to qualify for."

Putting in this kind of sweat equity shows how committed a person is.

"It makes it more my place, definitely" Miller said.

Bellago Homes
http://phxaznewhomes.com/down-payment-help/
http://bellagohomes.com/