The option fee likely will cost between 1% and 5% of the purchase price. Tenants also can expect their rent to add up to slightly more than the market rate during the lease. Usually all or part of the option fee will be set aside as a down payment. While the home is being rented, the landlord retains ownership but often requires the tenant to assume maintenance responsibilities.
If your property has a gate, your gate remote will be located in the kitchen drawer unless your property was purchased from a foreclosure or short sale. If a gate remote is missing, you will need to contact the HOA for one. Your HOA packet should be sent to you via email. If you didn’t get one from your agent, please contact the office. If the HOA charges you for a gate remote, you may deduct that from your first month’s rent.
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The legal controversy surrounding rent-to-own transactions has centered primarily on the question of whether the transaction should be treated as a lease or a credit sale. The industry has contended that the transaction is a lease;[17] while consumer advocacy groups have advocated for the transaction to be treated as a credit sale. As of 2011, forty-seven U.S. states, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have passed laws characterizing the transaction as a lease.[18] Of the five U.S. state supreme courts that have addressed the question, three (Massachusetts, Arkansas and Maine) concluded that the transaction was a lease.[18][19][20] New Jersey and Minnesota concluded it was a credit sale based upon those states’ credit laws.[21][22][23] A federal district court in Wisconsin also found the transaction to be a credit sale under Wisconsin state law.[24]
Credit. Your credit plays a large role when you apply for a mortgage. If you have poor credit, or if you have a thin credit history, renting or RTO may be a better option because they will both give you a chance to build your credit. This will give you time to get out of any debt you may have and establish a good repayment history. If you have excellent credit and you can afford a down payment, outright purchasing a home would most likely be a better option.
Rent to Own is your resource for all things related to rent-to-own real estate. Whether you are looking for rent-to-own homes in your area, or you are simply looking for information about rent-to-own properties, such as determining if a rent-to-own home is right for you or understanding more about the rent-to-own process. In addition to our lease-to-own home options, we also provide local-level data on foreclosures, auctions and regular home sales so you can get a great deal on the home you deserve.
You may lack the credit score and traditional 20% down payment for a traditional mortgage, but remember to investigate an FHA loan. If you’re a first-time buyer, you can put as little down as 3.5% if you have a credit score of at least 580 and meet other criteria, such as steady employment and a certain debt-to-income ratio. You will, however, have to pay mortgage insurance to help lessen your lender’s risk.
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The lease option gives you dibs to purchase the home you’re renting, typically valid for a term equal to the lease term set forth in your rental agreement. So if the rental agreement specified a three-year lease term, the lease option will usually give you three years to buy the house without worrying about anyone else swooping in and snatching it out from under you.
You may lack the credit score and traditional 20% down payment for a traditional mortgage, but remember to investigate an FHA loan. If you’re a first-time buyer, you can put as little down as 3.5% if you have a credit score of at least 580 and meet other criteria, such as steady employment and a certain debt-to-income ratio. You will, however, have to pay mortgage insurance to help lessen your lender’s risk.
On the other hand, if you don’t think you’ll have enough time or discipline to be able to change your financial situation, or if you’re on the fence about the house you’re renting, you could lose a lot of money by walking away, whether because you wanted to or were forced to. You’ll be better off renting a smaller, cheaper place while scrimping and saving the old-fashioned way.

The cost incurred by consumers in rent-to-own transactions has been the subject of long-term debate and differing opinion. Historically, consumer advocates, some U.S. state attorneys general and some academic researchers have expressed concern that consumers entering into rent-to-own agreements may be unaware of the potentially high long-term costs of rent-to-own in comparison to traditional installment or layaway plans.[11] Often mentioned alongside most critiques is the question of whether prices paid for services of this type are adequate for lower-income individuals who can least afford additional financial outlays.[12] At the same time, other academic researchers and representatives of industry associations have contended that rent-to-own transactions are not comparable to traditional methods of purchasing or financing consumer goods, in that they include services such as delivery, assembly, service and repair, all of which are factored into the higher assessed value and corresponding price charged.[13][14] Also frequently noted by proponents of the unique nature of rent-to-own transactions is the point that they are not obligations to purchase, since the agreement can be terminated by the lessee at any point in time with the return of the property.[15] Research conducted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2003 found that 90% of rent-to-own merchandise is returned with less than 36% of the scheduled weekly payments made, suggesting that transactions of this type are "more frequently used for short-term needs rather than as a method of acquisition."[16]


Units are typically leased out at market rates with an additional rent-to-own fee tacked on each month. That fee varies, but it’s usually anywhere from 10 to 15% of the monthly rent. For instance, a unit that would rent for $1200 on the open market may cost a rent-to-own lessee $1350 per month, with the $150 difference put aside in an escrow account. Any funds collected in the escrow account can usually then be used toward the purchase of the home if the tenant decides to exercise their option to buy. Otherwise, the funds are forfeited to the owner at the end of the lease term. Using the same example as above, this would result in $5400 collected over a 3-year lease period, which the tenant could put toward closing costs or a down payment on the home.

In a rent-to-own transaction, the tenant lives on the real property and pay towards purchasing the property at a fixed price within a specific period of time, usually one to three years.[3] As part of the contract, the renter may be required to make a nonrefundable deposit [3] often included as part of a down payment at the end of the lease term. In addition to monthly rent, often an additional amount called a rent credit is paid into an escrow account during the lease period. This amount is added to the deposit and used as part of the down payment at the end of the lease term. This pushes the rent above the market rate but helps build savings for purchase if the buy option is taken.[37] At the end of the lease term, the tenant is offered right of first refusal to purchase the property at the agreed upon sale price, or walk away and forfeit the deposit.[38] If the tenant is unable or unwilling to exercise the option to buy, the owner is then free to rent or sell the property to another buyer, or to restructure the contract.[3][37]


It turns out that many tenants who enter into rent-to-own agreements end up unable to buy the house at the end of their lease for the same reason they were unable to buy before: they still don’t have the credit rating, the income, or a large enough down payment. At that point, the seller walks away with a great deal of extra cash toward his mortgage and the tenant ends up with nothing.
Option Consideration. With these types of contracts, the potential buyer may have to pay the seller a one-time deposit. This deposit is called an option consideration or option money, and it usually isn't refundable. This deposit gives the potential buyer a right to purchase the property, and not an obligation. The size of the option consideration isn't set, and it can be negotiated by the buyer and seller. Traditionally, it is between 2% and 7.5% with 3% being a popular option of the purchase price. You may also negotiate to have the consideration price onto the purchase price when you close the deal and buy the property.

While a lease option gives you first dibs to purchase the home you’re renting, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be approved for a mortgage at that time. If you are unable to boost your credit or save enough for a down payment during your lease, you could still be shut out — and you’ll lose all the money you paid toward the purchase, too. To help protect against this scenario, experts recommend meeting with a mortgage lender before signing the deal to know exactly what you’ll need to qualify at the end of the lease.
Having a brand-new house built requires you to shell large sums to cover for contractor payments, purchasing materials and many other things. Buying a house without renting also entails paying a huge down payment. If shelling our money for a brand-new house or giving down payment are not options with your limited budget, rent to own might just be fit for your income.
The concept of rent-to-own transactions first emerged in the United Kingdom and continental European countries under the hire purchase model. One of the first rent-to-own retail stores established in the U.K. was Lotus Radio, which began operating as a radio rental business in 1933.[4] Within the United States, the practice of retail-based rent-to-own businesses began to develop in the 1950s and 1960s.[2] Individuals cited as key figures in the history of the rent-to-own transaction and application as a business model include Charles Loudermilk, Sr., who in 1955 began renting out Army surplus chairs and later founded Aaron Rents, and J. Ernest Talley, who started Mr. T’s Rental in Wichita, Kansas in 1963, and later helped establish Rent-A-Center.[2][5]

The lease option gives you dibs to purchase the home you’re renting, typically valid for a term equal to the lease term set forth in your rental agreement. So if the rental agreement specified a three-year lease term, the lease option will usually give you three years to buy the house without worrying about anyone else swooping in and snatching it out from under you.
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Before entering into an agreement, sellers have to decide the sale price and rent they'll charge for the house. Both amounts are subject to negotiation, just as a regular sale would be. But sellers and buyers need to remember that once they sign an agreement, the sale price of the house is locked in until the end of their rental term, between one and three years. Even if other housing prices rise or fall during that time, the original agreed-upon price is final.
Here's a typical example: The house is worth $200,000, and typical rent would be $1,000 a month. Someone who's renting to own might pay $1,200 a month in rent and then receive a $200 rent credit each month. Add the option fee, in this case $5,000. On a three-year lease, the renter would earn $7,200 in rent credits. Adding the earned rental credits to the option fee, the renter has accumulated $12,200 for a down payment.
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Committed to giving our clients great real estate options, we only hire highly knowledgeable and friendly realtors who are ready to discuss all the ins and outs of every property you are interested in. Our agents are licensed professionals who take the time to know you and recommend homes that fit your standards. Speaking of homes, we offer great deals to help you comfortably settle into a property you like.
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This is a valuable alternative for buyers who otherwise wouldn't have the credit score or money saved to acquire their own home. And the sellers, eager to relieve themselves of the burden of the old home, earn this money whether or not the house sells once the leasing period expires. If, at the end of the contract the renter can't or chooses not to buy the house, the seller keeps all the money.
First, let’s talk about rent. A certain percentage of your rent will usually go toward the purchase price of the home. This is something you can, and should, negotiate with your landlord. One thing to keep in mind when you negotiate: Because of this credit, you will likely be paying more to rent the home than you otherwise would. For instance, a house that would normally go for $1,000 a month might go for $1,250, with the extra $250 saved as credit toward the home’s purchase. So if you seek a higher credit, your rent may rise accordingly. Also note that your lease will probably specify that if you’re late paying rent, you’ll lose that month’s rent credit.
You've just bought the home of your dreams, signed the contract and packed the moving van -- you're all set, right? Not if you haven't sold your current home first. So you put it on the market and you wait. And wait. And wait. In many cities where it makes more financial sense to rent than own, buyers may simply not be interested. In others, buyers do come along, but they don't have enough money saved for a down payment or their credit isn't good enough. How will you ever sell this house?

Renting-to-own a home is the new alternative path to homeownership. In today's housing market, the challenges of buying a home through traditional methods have increased drastically. The rent-to-own process allows potential buyers with poor credit scores, or who simply lack the large down-payments required to own a home, the opportunity to live in their home while working on improving their credit and saving funds. What could be better?
At HousingList we believe home-ownership should be accessible to everyone. We work to spread awareness around alternative, non-traditional routes to home-ownership such as rent-to-own and HUD properties. These alternative paths to owning a home can help people who don't have enough funds saved for today's rising down-payments, people who need to improve their credit scores, or any number of factors that prevent today's buyers from the dream of homeownership.
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Rent-to-own housing can be tricky because the landlord might decide the potential homeowner is responsible for repairs and property taxes during the lease period, said Rich Verrillo, a senior housing partnerships manager for Navicore Solutions, a Manalapan, N.J.-based member agency of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Working out all the details before the contract is signed is vital.
Tenants who rent-to-own are often individuals who would have trouble buying a house through the traditional route because of poor credit, low income, or lack of a down payment. Rent-to-own gives them an opportunity for home ownership while living in the house they will eventually purchase and it also gives them a chance to discover flaws in the house before committing to purchasing it.
Details of the sale: Some landlords assume that they can coordinate the details of the eventual sale at a later date, but this is a big mistake. It’s in the interest of all parties to be abundantly clear about the terms and conditions of the sale in advance, including an agreed-upon purchase price. Yes, the property may appreciate in value over time. Conversely, it may depreciate. In fairness to both parties, the price should be set in advance nonetheless.

If you think this is just like renting, you are wrong. The problem with renting is you are paying a monthly fee without having anything to show for it after the fact. Imagine living in that place for years and years! You are potentially paying thousands of dollars for the years to come. With rent to own homes, your money goes towards ownership. Meaning, it is just like renting but working towards actually owning the property yourself instead of throwing your hard earned money down the drain.
It’s important to note that there are different types of rent-to-own contracts, with some being more consumer friendly and flexible than others. Lease-option contracts give you the right – but not the obligation – to buy the home when the lease expires. If you decide not to buy the property at the end of the lease, the option simply expires, and you can walk away without any obligation to continue paying rent or to buy.
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