home buying process

THE HOME BUYING PROCESS

Moving home is one of the most stressful things that you’ll ever do, but luckily, our experienced team members will be with you every step of the way! The process of securing your new home is:

  • If you’re a first-time buyer you will need to see a mortgage adviser before you make any offers on a property and be pre-approved or pre-qualified for a mortgage, so you know exactly how much you can borrow.
  • Once you have been pre-approved for a mortgage you can begin your search. 
  • Once you have found a home within your budget that you like, get in touch to find out more and to arrange a viewing.
  • When you have found your perfect home and are ready to make an offer, you can do this by contacting Open Door’s Sales Team.
  • If you’re making an offer on a new build property you can, in most cases, put down a small deposit (usually £500) to reserve your property until all the necessary paperwork has been completed.
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UNSURE ABOUT YOUR OWNERSHIP OPTIONS?

Here at Open Door, we offer homes for sale. However, for those who are struggling to save a deposit, we do offer affordable home ownership schemes which are perfect for first time buyers or those looking to get back onto the property ladder. These affordable home ownership schemes are called Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy. If you’re unsure about what the best home ownership option is for you, take a look at our 'Ways to Buy' page!
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Buying Questions

Your frequently asked questions about buying a home, answered:

I’d like to buy a home. What do I need to do first?

Make sure you do your homework to find what your credit score is, how much you can borrow and how much deposit you need to provide – at this point you’re able to get a mortgage in principle, but don’t worry, this doesn’t tie you into anything.

Don’t forget to factor in all the additional up-front costs too, such as stamp duty, valuation fee, surveyor fees and legal fees. You’ll then have to bear in mind on-going costs such as contents and building insurance, council tax and utilities.

How do I sign up for property alerts?

To sign up to our mailing list and get exclusive updates on new build developments and homes for sale, scroll to the bottom of the homepage and fill in the ‘Be in the Know’ section. Enter your details and the types of properties you’re interested in, click submit and you’re done!

How do I find the home of my dreams?

Visit our ‘Find a home’ page, where all our available properties are listed. 

You can also sign up to our emails which provide regular updates on the homes that we have for sale. 

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn too – we regularly post news and updates on the latest homes! 

I've found a home I'd like to buy - what's next?

If you haven’t already, we’d suggest you apply for a decision in principle at this point. Make sure you do lots and lots of research and carefully consider all your options before you sign up to a mortgage. We have several trusted, independent advisors who we’d be happy to recommend.

Once your mortgage is in place, you’re able to reserve the house of your dreams! Generally, we charge a £500 reservation fee, but please check with a member of our Sales Team to confirm. Once you’ve reserved your home, no one else can reserve it.

What do I need to reserve my property?

Found your perfect Open Door home? Great! You will need the following things to hand in order to reserve your brand new home:

  1. Proof of address, a utility bill and/or bank statement
  2. Proof of ID, a passport or driving license
  3. Mortgage in principle or proof of funds (bank statements showing cash available)
  4. Reservation fee
  5. Solicitor details will be required for the reservation form (to enable you to reserve)

Shared Ownership reservation details will vary. Please contact our Sales Team to discuss shared ownership reservations further.

Why do I need a valuation and survey?

As part of your mortgage application your lender will need confirmation of what your home is worth and what you’re paying for it. For a small fee, they will organise a valuation and survey, which will check the condition of the home you’re buying.

Do I really need a solicitor?

Solicitors look after all the legal aspects of the home buying process. Although it often sounds like boring legal waffle, you need a solicitor to make everything happen, so that the property is legally and officially yours.

Always remember to shop around for the best rates and ask your friends, family and colleagues for their personal recommendations too. Don’t forget you’ll need a solicitor that specialises in conveyancing.

What is Shared Ownership?

Shared Ownership is an affordable way of getting onto the property ladder. You buy a share of a home - between 25% and 75% and pay reduced rent on the remainder.

Who do I share with?

No one at all! The reference to ‘shared’ describes the relationship between you (the homeowner) and the housing association (in this instance Halton Housing).

Can I buy a Shared Ownership home if I already own a home?

If you already own your own home, including a home overseas, you may not be eligible for Shared Ownership. However, if you need to buy a larger home and can’t afford to make this move, you may still be eligible. Every application we receive is assessed on a case-by-case basis; you’ll need to demonstrate that you’re in housing need and have a sale agreed on your existing home before applying. 

Can I buy a Shared Ownership home if I previously owned a home?

Your application for a Shared Ownership home will be based on your current housing and financial situation. But if you have any equity from the sale of a previous home, this will be taken into account.

What deposit do I need?

Depending on your mortgage provider’s requirements, you will need a minimum of a 5% deposit for the share that you are buying. For example, if you are buying a 25% share of a £200,000 home (£50,000), your 5% deposit would be £2,500.

What fees do I have to pay?

Like any house purchase, there are a number of fees that have to be paid. These include a reservation fee (usually £500 secures your home and is deducted when the sale completes), solicitors fees, mortgage survey and mortgage arrangement fees, stamp duty (where applicable) and removal costs. There are also costs to consider once you’ve moved in, such as council tax, contents insurance, mortgage protection insurance, gas, electric and water bills. If you’d like further information on expected fees, please ask and we can share more details. 

Do you have to buy the shares advertised?

No. The share you buy is based on information gathered during an affordability assessment, initial shares range from 25% - 75%.

Am I buying leasehold or freehold?

All Shared Ownership homes are initially leasehold as you own part of the home, with a housing association owning the remainder. In most instances, once you’ve bought the remaining shares in your home (100%), then you will own the freehold too. There are exceptions to this, including flats or apartments and homes in a Designated Protection Area.

Can I sublet my Shared Ownership home?

Other than in extenuating circumstances and with prior permission from the Open Door team, subletting a Shared Ownership home is not permitted. 

What's a service charge?

A service charge covers the cost of the maintenance of any communal or external areas for the development in which you’ve bought your home and not just specifically for your house or apartment. Areas include gardens, pathways, playgrounds, and hallways. Service charges are usually paid monthly and are reviewed annually. They are set on a development-by-development basis; please speak to our Sales Team if you would like further details and a full breakdown of costs regarding the development you are interested in. 

How much is Shared Ownership rent?

Rent is calculated dependant upon the share you are buying. It’s usually 2.75% of the unsold share. Rent is paid monthly and the rent charge will be confirmed when you reserve your home. 

Who pays for the repairs and maintenance on my Shared Ownership home?

Any repairs or maintenance to a Shared Ownership home is the responsibility of the buyer, regardless of the share purchased.

How long is my defect period?

Usually, the warranty period is twelve months for any defects that need addressing, but please note that this is from the date that the house build was completed and not the date that the sale completes. 

Do I need buildings insurance?

No, unless you decide to staircase to own 100% of your home, we are responsible for the building insurance policy and your home is covered by our block policy. However, all homeowners must organise their own contents insurance. 

Can I make money buying a Shared Ownership home?

Yes - if the value of your home increases, then so does the value of your share. However it’s important to remember that the value of your home could also decrease.

Can I buy more shares?

Absolutely. You can buy more shares usually up to 100%, at any time. This process is called staircasing. 

What happens if or when I want to sell?

You can sell your Shared Ownership home at any time. Unless you own 100% of your home, you will have to pay for a RICS valuation before it goes on the market. Any potential buyers will have to be approved by our Sales Team to ensure they are eligible for Shared Ownership and that its an affordable and sustainable option for them.

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