How to Qualify for a Self-Help Home

Applying for a Self-Help Home is easy, but you must be eligible. Please review the following requirements to ensure that you meet the qualifications for the program:


Your income must be at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI) shown on the table below AND you must earn a minimum income of around $55,000.00/per year in Washington County, $58,000.00/per year in Utah County and $60,000.00/per year in Wasatch County. (Income can include SNAP Benefits and Child Support. We can also deduct child care expenses in most cases.)

NOTE: If you don’t think you meet these minimum income requirements, please give us a call we’ll be happy to review your income!

80% Area Median Income Limits by Family Size
Counties and Cities 1 Person 2 Person 3 Person 4 Person 5 Person 6 Person 7 Person 8 Person
Utah County:
$87,200 $87,200 $87,200 $87,200 $115,150 $115,150 $115,150 $115,150
Wasatch County: Heber $96,650 $96,650 $96,650 $96,650 $127,600 $127,600 $127,600 $127,600
Washington:Hurricane $77,200 $77,200 $77,200 $77,200 $101,950 $101,950 $101,950 $101,950

Please be aware that the income guidelines change periodically. Please verify with Self-Help Homes what the current income guidelines are.


You need to have a credit score of 640 or higher. This is verifiable with at least one line of credit. Collections and judgements may affect your credit score and are assessed on an individual basis. If you are asked to submit a full mortgage application, Self-Help Homes will process a TransUnion report at the time of submission. A tri-merge credit report will be processed by USDA-RD once the mortgage application has been submitted for final review.


Your debt-to-income ratio includes a potential house payment and cannot exceed 41%.  Depending on your income, we have discovered that along with the house payment, you usually can’t have more than approximately $300-$400 of other monthly debt payments. The debt-to-income ratio is dependent on household income. Debt payments include: credit cards, student loans (.5% of the balance if they are in deferment/forbearance OR monthly payment amount if they are on an income based repayment plan), car payments, child support, alimony, or any other installment loans. A USDA-RD approved mortgage calculator is used when you apply for the program. The calculator will tell us specifically how much debt your family can have along with a house payment.


You cannot currently have ownership in a house or property when applying for this program. The property in question would need to be sold before a mortgage application can be submitted.


You must be willing to work at least 35 hours per week on all the houses within your group until they are finished (an average of 8-10 months should be expected). The individuals on the mortgage are required to work at least half of the 35 hours per week. You can have friends or family help with the other half of the required 35 hours per week. If you do not have other volunteers to help you with the hours, all 35 hours will need to be completed by the mortgage holder(s). Please note that there are mandatory work hours required from each family. Each family must work the minimum amount of hours on Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Along with that, families are also required to work at least two other days during the work-week.


You cannot have a payment shock exceeding 100% of your monthly housing payment. For example, if your current rent is $800.00 per month and your potential mortgage payment is $1,601.00 per month, your payment shock would exceed the limit. You do have other payment shock options, please contact our office for more information.

Self-Help Homes recommends having at least $5,000.00 in your savings account at the time of application. This will help ensure that you have the adequate funds to cover the required expenses.


Success stories

Many participant families have a story to tell. Below are some of those who were willing to share their struggles and accomplishments in achieving the “American Dream” of owning their own home.


We’re here for you

To get your name on a waiting list, please take a minute to fill out a pre-application. Don’t be surprised if you get called earlier than expected as waiting lists tend to go quickly.

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