Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc.

What is RurAL CAP’s Owner-Built Homes Program?


Example of what a home built in the Owner-Built neighborhood might look like.

What is RurAL CAP’s Owner-Built Homes Program?
The Owner-Built Homes Program at RurAL CAP is a path to affordable, homeownership of quality homes with no down payment. Participants of the program are provided with the opportunity to earn “sweat equity” in their new homes. Families and individuals join a group of eight to twelve owner-builders working together under the guidance of RurAL CAP Housing and Planning Division staff to create a community of attractive, five­-star energy rated, single-family homes.

The homes have three or four bedrooms, two baths, and two-car garages. Designs provided by RurAL CAP and approved by USDA Rural Development ensure participants have structurally sound and efficient homes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Program allows participants to take advantage of low interest home loans (as low as 1% for a 38 year term in some cases) to borrowers and funding to RurAL CAP, a non-profit agency, who provides professional construction supervision, training and scheduling of the owner-builder group, and their volunteers.


SHHFAQ2016-2Who is eligible for the program?

Participants must meet certain obligations to be qualified for the Owner-Built Homes Program:

Have a dependable source of income sufficient to support a house payment and your other obligations.

  • Payment amount depends on the house design you choose, the qualifying interest rate and term, and your income.

Meet certain income limitations based on the number of people in your household.

  • See USDA Guidelines on our FAQ document for income limits

Have a history of paying your bills on time.


Example of what a home built in the Owner-Built neighborhood might look like.

What is the process like for an applicant applying for the Owner-Built Homes Program?
To join the program, you will need to start with an application. All applicants must submit a Pre-Screening Application, a $10 application fee, and Credit Authorization to RurAL CAP. If your income and credit meets program guidelines, then RurAL CAP staff will assist you in applying for a loan through USDA Rural Development. Loan applications will need to be submitted to the USDA­ RD Kenai Area Office, along with a check or money order for a mortgage loan credit report ($25 for each borrower). Applicants will be required to attend a no-cost AHFC Home Choice Homeownership Workshop and pay a $150 tool deposit upon signing of the Association Contract.

Once your application is approved, program participants will choose their building site. RurAL CAP will have the lots pre-developed, complete with well, septic, driveways, electric and natural gas. Homes with five-star energy rated plans will be reviewed and participants will select a house design that meets their needs. All participants will then join the homeowner group by agreeing to the covenants and committing 30 hours a week per household to building their homes and their neighbors’ homes.

But I don’t know how to build a house…How can I build my own home?

That’s where RurAL CAP comes in. We provide hands-on instruction and training at the building site.

You will learn how to:

  • Use power tools correctly and safely
  • Utilize today’s building techniques
  • Maintain your home

What will homes in the new Self-Help Owner­-Built Homes neighborhoods look like?

The neighborhoods will consist of eight to twelve attractive, energy-efficient, accessible, and affordable homes. The homes will vary in square feet in size and will vary in design, as the potential homeowners will personalize the structure of their new homes. The pictures on this page are examples of what a home built in the Owner Built neighborhood might look like.