Build Your Own Home


Self-Help Enterprises can make the dream of becoming a homeowner a reality for low-income families in the San Joaquin Valley. Through our program, eight to twelve families are grouped together and agree to help each other build their houses with skilled onsite supervision and guidance of Self-Help Enterprises construction staff.

The homes are built under the mutual self-help method of construction where each family is required to contribute a minimum of 40 hours a week working on all the homes for a period of 9 to 12 months. Family hours can be provided by the owners-to-be, any household member 16 years of age or older and approved helpers. Together, families pour foundations, frame homes, install electrical wiring, hang doors and windows and even lay tile and paint.

These labor hours, or “sweat equity”, are used as the down payment on their new home, reducing costs for a new home they could otherwise not afford. Self-Help Enterprises also assists each applicant with securing the loans needed to build their home. Special financing from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the State of California makes these homes affordable.

Participants choose from three and four bedroom floor plans, which include a dishwasher and range, two car garages, landscaped front yard, and energy-efficient features.

What makes the program so successful is that the participating families not only work on their own home, but everyone works on every house in the building group and no one moves in until all houses are completed, creating a community bond.

Self-Help Enterprises does more than work with families to build a new, safe place to call home. Families are witnesses to the results of hard work and personal investment. Their homes stand as living proof that they and their children can shape their own futures.

Benefits of the Program

  • No Down Payment and Closing Costs are included in your Primary Loan
  • Monthly mortgage payment is based on household’s income
  • Your payment could be lower than what you pay for rent
  • Low interest rates
  • Energy efficient homes
  • A brand new home for your family

Main Qualifications

  • Good credit status (no credit may be acceptable)
  • Stable income from employment and other sources of income
  • Income that does not exceed eligibility guidelines
  • Ability and willingness to meet the labor requirement
  • Main applicant must be a permanent resident or U.S. citizen

Current Cities

We are currently recruiting families to build their own homes in:

Upcoming Cities

In the next 12 to 18 months, we will be recruiting families to build in:

“It’s something amazing to know that you’re building your own home and helping your neighbors. It’s great for me and my family.” ~ Nancy Marquez, Reedley homebuilder


Do I need construction experience?

No construction experience is needed. Everyone receives instruction and training before and during construction to complete every task you will need to do.

Can I only work on my own home?

8 to 12 families in the building group enter into a contract with each other to share labor. This labor sharing agreement is a fundamental principle of the program. Everyone works on all of the houses in the group.

How much will my house payment be?

The amount of the monthly payment will vary based on family’s income and the terms of the loan. You will receive an estimate of the expected monthly payment before committing to the program.

More FAQs 

Are You Interested?

If you are interested in building your own home, please register below.






Welcome home.

Families achieve the dream of becoming homeowners by working together to build each other’s homes.


Healthy Homes and Communities



Building homes that are energy efficient, use fewer resources, and are affordable.

Community Building

Community Building

Empowering people to become leaders in their community.

Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness

Creating and supporting efforts to promote healthy homes and communities.