Homeowners get hands-on at Basalt Vista

To help make the homes more affordable, Habitat also gave owners the opportunity to help build them
Habitat for Humanity allowed homeowners to contribute sweat equity to reduce their down payment on homes in the Basalt Vista community. (Photo: Arturs Budkevics, Dreamstime)

Of the 27 homes that will be built in the Basalt Vista community, 14 are reserved for employees in the Roaring Fork School District. Eligible families will be selected by a lottery: one for the teacher pool of houses and one for the local workforce. Once selected, winners have to sign a reservation agreement with a $1,000 nonrefundable reservation fee.

Scott Gilbert of Habitat for Humanity noted that some winners struggled to come up with that $1,000.

“The people who are in the workforce came up with $1,000 no problem. The teachers, they just looked at us like, ‘You think we have $1,000?’” he said. “We ended up having to lower the commitment amount to sign the letter to $500 over two payments and they couldn’t even come up with $500 at that time. It was over at least a month where they could actually get to $500 in savings.”

To help make the homes more affordable, Habitat also gave homeowners the opportunity to help build the homes. Each adult in a household can contribute 250 hours on the build to earn a $25,000 credit on their down payment.

Gilbert also pointed out that homeowners who can get up to 20% of the purchase price of a home for a down payment can avoid paying private mortgage insurance.

Homes in the community are priced at different levels depending on homeowners’ income. Those who make up to 80% AMI are eligible for units ranging from $270,000 for a two-bedroom home to $345,000 for a four-bedroom. At 100% AMI, prices increase to between $295,000 and $370,000. Above that level, homeowners must pay between $345,000 and $420,000 before sweat equity.

All nine families accepted for the first round of homes opted to contribute sweat equity, Gilbert said.

[Related: Are you building ‘affordable’ or ‘attainable’ housing?]


Danielle Andrus

Danielle Andrus was previously the managing editor for Colorado Builder, and is currently Editor for the Journal of Financial Planning.

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