Build A Home

Do you think you’ll never be able to afford a home? Is the down payment too high? Are housing loans beyond your reach?

The National Affordable Housing Network, with headquarters in Southwest Montana, can make your home owning dreams come true with Mutual Self Help Housing. With support from your friends, family and the self-help community, you can build your own home in Montana in Silver Bow, Jefferson, Beaverhead, Powell and Madison counties.

What is the Mutual Self-Help Program?

You could be one of the qualified owner-builders who earn equity in their new homes by working alongside family, friends, and other self-help families. This “sweat equity” is worth thousands of dollars towards the cost of your home and is one of the ways that makes Mutual Self Help homes affordable for anyone.

 How does the Mutual Self- Help Program work?

The first step is the pre-application process that determines if you meet income requirements and are financially ready for home ownership. Complete our form (at the bottom) and we will contact you to make an appointment with one of our credit counselors.

When you and the counselor decide you are ready, you will submit a full loan application to the USDA Rural Development 502 Direct home mortgage program. These mortgages have special features like subsidized interest rates for those most in need, 33-year terms, and no down payment.

Once approved for your mortgage, you will work with staff to choose a house design is right for your needs and budget. Along the way, you will choose paint colors, flooring, cabinetry, doors and other features that make your home unique.

Every owner-builder must contribute a total of 1,000 hours of labor during construction. Help donated by friends and family count towards your total, so you are never expected nor advised to do it all yourself. Time donated by local groups of volunteers is divided among all the owner-builders by our staff.

Construction usually happens in a group as multiple families build simultaneously and sometimes in the same neighborhood. Each family is expected to help as needed until all homes are complete. This means you do not just work on your home, but on every home in the group as directed by our staff. Families can move in only after all homes in the group are ready.

Don’t worry about experience. Instruction and supervision are always provided. Your job is to listen, learn, and do whatever you can to contribute to the success of the group.

What does it take to qualify?

Basic Requirements

  1. US citizen
  2. 18 years or older
  3. Documented stable income of at least $1000 a month
  4. Unable to obtain financing from any other source
  5. Must personally occupy the home
  6. Favorable credit, with a low debt load   **We can help with this**
  7. Meet with our credit counselor at least once to ensure readiness
  8. Willingness to partner with our organization and other families
  9. Meet the income guidelines for your county:

Yearly combined family income before taxes must be less than these numbers.

Silver Bow County

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Jefferson County 

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Beaverhead County

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Powell County

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Madison County

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How do I sign up?

Click the button below to fill out the initial application form. Staff will then contact you to schedule a one on one appointment.

NAHN operates this program only in the state of Montana in Silver Bow, Jefferson, Powell, Madison, and Beaverhead counties. If you are outside of this area, please check here for your nearest Mutual Self Help provider. By completing this application you will also be considered for the Habitat for Humanity of Southwest Montana homeowner program, which provides additional support for building material and supplies.

To request a paper application, or if you have any questions, please call 406-782-8579 or email

Fill out a pre-application now →