By Jennifer McGraw

COLUSA COUNTY (CBS13) — A local nonprofit is looking for people who want to buy a new home at cost value.

The catch? You have to build it yourself.

A neighborhood in Williams, Valley Ranch, is already underway, but the nonprofit behind the project is looking to expand.

“NeighborWorks is allowing these people to facilitate the work to realize the American Dream and to own their own homes,” said Frank Pasquale, the group’s foreman. “It’s really amazing.”

One man, hard at work Tuesday night said he’s doing just that.

“I have two daughters ages 9 and 3,” said Cesar who is doing it for his family. “Being able to raise my girls here.”

But owning means building from scratch with his two hands from the ground up.

“I have my job and still have to come here and work more hours, three or four hours a day,” Cesar said.

He along with 10 other families are getting a once-in-a-lifetime chance thanks to a local non-profit in Sacramento, NeighborWorks.

“We are the first builder in the area to provide affordable housing in probably the last 10 years,” said Maria Leon with NeighborWorks.

She said the housing crisis affects everyone, especially low-income families, but through a USDA loan and determination, these soon-to-be homeowners can hammer away at the benefits.

“We tell buyers if you have any other way of buying a house, do it because this is the hardest way, but if you’re willing to put in the sacrifice the benefits are great,” she said. “These families are paying the cost of land, the cost of bricks and sticks and permits.”

It’s not just hard work you also have to qualify, which means have good credit score—640 or above—and make between $40,000 and $60,000 a year depending on how many people are in your family.

“Their equity is their sweat, the amount of hours there working to build a home,” Leon said.

The breakdown of monthly payments on what would be a 33-year loan is based on your income.

“These people couldn’t afford a home on their own, and now they’re getting 3- to 4-bedroom homes that are gorgeous homes when they’re done,” Pasquale said.

He has taught them everything there is to know.

“Some people didn’t know how to sharpen their pencil on day one, I mean you don’t have to have any experience, and that’s why am here to help walk you through it and teach you,” he said.

The rewards are endless, even for him.

“It’s extremely rewarding, I mean these people are very deserving, they are very hard-working. They’ll work full-time jobs and still somehow manage to get their hours in building their own home,” he added.

While it’s a lot of hours, at least 35 a week, and hard work, Cesar said others who are thinking about it should try it.

“They should do it because it’s going to be worth it. They should do it,” he said.

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