Can we get money for sweat equity provided on a house that we were having built?

We were buying a land and home package from a builder. However, they messed up so much on the house, we backed out. Before doing so, my husband and dad, who are carpenters, did a lot of the labor work for the foundation, the driveway and the culvert. They did this so that it would be cheaper on our loan. Now that we backed out we think they should pay the labor work it took to do the job and they do not want to pay.

Asked on September 10, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, there is no recovery for sweat equity in a case like this: the court does not give you compensation for your own time, effort, etc. It is possible you may be able to sue the builder to recover any deposits or downpayment or other payments you made to them; you might also be able to recover for other monetary losses, such as if the problems in construction caused you to have to rent a place elsewhere for a time to live, or put belongings in storage; but you cannot recover for your sweat equity.

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