Perception: I’ve always had a very idyllic view of sweat equity, pastoral really. I envisioned myself buying a less-than-perfect house–perhaps like an open box special, something not quite new and shiny–changing some hardware, applying fresh paint, and planting a quaint cottage garden. I could sell the house at full market value or build a life in my new envy-worthy house. The dogs would romp merrily around the yard while I grilled veggies from my deck with an unobstructed view.
Reality: Sweat equity is hard. Sweat equity involves digging trenches, hauling siding, climbing ladders propped awkwardly on the side of hills. Sweat equity means spending Labor Day doing actual, real labor–manhandling pave stones to create a wall to prevent a patio from washing out and loading and unloading literally a ton of dirt for backfilling the wall.
Sweat equity is pictured below.