Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about our programs:
What is Mutual Self-Help Housing?
Mutual Self-Help Housing is a group method of home construction for low to moderate income households. The group provides mutual labor exchange in the construction of their homes.
Who can apply for Mutual Self-Help Housing?
Any individual or household interested in making a commitment to building their home and future financial security.
What type of income is used to determine eligibility?
Income from employment or seasonal jobs for all members in the household who are 18 or older. Other incomes used are, for any member of the household, benefits from social security, unemployment, public assistance, child support, VA benefits, etc.
Must the applicants be US citizens?
No. However, the applicants must have proof of permanent residency.
Do you NEED TO be married to qualify?
No. Marital status is not one of our eligibility criteria.
How will planning and building be completed?
Generally, 8-14 households make up a build group. We coordinate building assignments with all participants in a team environment .
What size are the homes?
Typical homes are 3 or 4 bedroom with 2 baths and an attached two car garage. The square footage generally runs between 1,000—1,400 square feet. Two bedroom plans are also available if necessary, due to lending restrictions.
When are the homes built?
Most of the work is performed during the weekends and evenings. Coordination between homebuilders and the Construction Supervision team is key to the group’s success.
How many hours does each participant contribute?
Each household is required to provide a combined total of at least 30 hours per week. One person is designated head of household and must contribute at least 15 of the 30 required hours. The remaining 15 hours are provided by “helpers” (co-applicant, any child 16 years or older, friends, or relatives).
Do all the homes need to be finished before I can move in?
Yes. All of the homes in the group must be complete, inspected, and passed by all inspection agencies before homebuilders can move in.
Who provides the loan money for the land, construction materials and any subcontracted labor?
USDA-Rural Development (RD), formally known as the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), is the lender. The construction loans provided by RD cover the cost of the land, construction materials, utilities, closing costs, Builders’ risk insurance, and subcontracted labor.
Do you need a down payment?
There is NO down payment. However, there are some costs associated with the self-help program. The cost is determined by your cost of your homeowners’ insurance, tools, and credit report fees.
Do I have to make house payments during construction?
No. Your first mortgage payment will be determined by Rural Development after the final inspection on your home. This prevents you from having to pay rent and a mortgage at the same time.
How is this program different than conventional financing?
The mortgages through the USDA-Rural Development offer a payment subsidy based on your household size and income. Also, your hard work gains you sweat equity instead of a down payment. You are able to move in with immediate equity.
What are the terms of a USDA-Rural Development Mutual Self-Help loan?
The loans fixed-rate amortized over 33 years. Under certain circumstances, they may be extended out to 38 years.
How do I apply?
Contact Community Home Builders office either by dropping in or calling and requesting an application be mailed to you. You can also print forms from Links/Forms page of this Website.
I don’t think I would qualify. Should I bother applying?
YES!!! You don’t know until you try! If it is determined that you are currently ineligible, we offer assistance in helping you maintain your goal and reach your dream of owning your own home.
Where do you build?
Because the program is funded through the USDA-Rural Development, all homes must be built within rural communities. We are currently building in Lafayette, Oregon.