Steps to Apply and Buy an OPAL House
The steps in OPAL Community Land Trust’s home-buying process are designed to make sure OPAL has all the information we need in order to help you successfully obtain a mortgage and buy your OPAL home.
Our process is also designed to make sure you have all the information you need to feel confident that if/when you make the actual decision to buy a home, you know precisely what is involved.
As you can see, we have included opportunities for you to talk with people other than OPAL staff about what it is like to be an OPAL homeowner.
Steps to becoming an OPAL homeowner:
- Determine whether or not you are eligible. If you are not sure, make an appointment to meet with OPAL staff to determine your eligibility. If you are not eligible, we can help you make a plan to become eligible.
- Submit your application. Once you have completed the inquiry form you will receive an invitation to fill out an application online. Alternatively, you can print a copy of the application to complete, or pick up and return an application to the OPAL office.
- Meet with OPAL staff to learn more about OPAL and the home-buying process. Be sure to bring current income and debt information with you to this meeting (your most recent tax returns, current pay stubs, etc.). If you have a recent credit report, bring that, too.
- Watch a video to learn more about community land trusts:
• YouTube — Homes and Hands: The Success Story of CLTs, parts 1 to 4
• Interview with one of OPAL’s founders, Michael Sky
- Review a copy of the CC&Rs for the appropriate neighborhood. Each OPAL neighborhood develops its own Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs), which govern the dos and don’ts of that neighborhood. You can find a copy of each neighborhood’s documents at www.opalhomes.org.
- Meet with an OPAL homeowner to get his/her perspective about what it is like to buy and own an OPAL home. If you do not already know an OPAL homeowner, ask OPAL staff for a few names and phone numbers in order to arrange a meeting.
- Become an OPAL member and pay the relevant fees: membership fee ($25), application fee ($30), and if applicable, credit report fee ($28 for one person or $55 for two people).
- Attend two OPAL board of trustees or neighborhood meetings. The OPAL board meets monthly, and each OPAL neighborhood has regular meetings. It is best to attend a meeting in the neighborhood where you hope to live. Check with OPAL staff for upcoming meeting dates.
- Sign Intent to Purchase Agreement. If everything looks good and you feel confident you would like to move forward with an OPAL home purchase, sign the Agreement and pay the associated $200 fee. This fee is non-refundable and is meant to demonstrate that you are serious about buying an OPAL house.
Once you have completed all these steps, you are officially in OPAL’s applicant pool. When a house becomes available for sale, all households in the applicant pool with a household size appropriate for that house are notified and the household with the oldest application date in the applicant pool gets priority to purchase the home.