Rent to own housing contracts is especially attractive to sellers when the real estate market is slow, and the homeowner worries that their house won’t sell quickly at an appropriate price. So, instead of listing the house for sale, the seller offers the rent to own option to attract a potential buyer who wants to buy the house but isn’t in the financial position to purchase the property at that moment.
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.

Think of it just like renting, except there is an additional non-refundable deposit and the rent is higher than normal. As long as you go through with the purchase, the non-refundable deposit and a portion of your rent is applied toward the purchase. If you don’t go through with the purchase for any reason, the non-refundable deposit and the extra high rent is gone. You will probably also be responsible for all maintenance. Make sure that when the option comes due, you will be able to qualify for the loan. If market value dips while you’re renting, it might mean that the appraisal comes in low, requiring that you pay the difference in cash or walk away from the additional monies you’ve paid. In fact, since you’re in Las Vegas, you might want to think of it more like gambling!
Making your lease payments on time can help improve your credit. Just make sure your landlord/seller reports your rental payment data to the major credit reporting agencies.  There are many other things you can do to improve your credit score while you’re in the rental period of your lease agreement. Start by requesting your free credit report. Federal law entitles you to one free credit report once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com, a website set up by the three major credit bureaus.

You don’t have to qualify for a mortgage right away. You may be drawn to a rent-to-own program because you can’t afford to buy a home yet. Maybe you’re still paying off debt or you don’t have a down payment saved. Moving into a house without qualifying for a mortgage may seem like the answer, but here’s the truth: The chances of your rent-to-own agreement falling through go way up if you’re already in a financial mess.


Example: Jane falls in love with a lovely cottage in her desired neighborhood and is eager to buy it. However, she hasn’t saved any money for a down payment and is worried that her bad credit won’t allow her to get a home loan. The owner of the cottage offers to let Jane rent to own the property. Jane agrees to pay a monthly base rental of $1,500 plus an added $500 to go towards a down payment. The rent to own contract specifies that Jane can purchase the cottage in 36 months for $90,000.  

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As a result of the mortgage foreclosure crisis, banks have increased borrower scrutiny. On one hand, interest rates are still near record lows. On the other hand, mortgages have been difficult for some people to secure. Banks are requiring people to have better credit and longer employment histories than in past years, decreasing the possibility of homeownership for people who experienced job loss, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and other credit ailments as a result of the Great Recession.
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Trust us; it’s worth it to buy a house the smart way. If you need time to clean up your finances, that’s okay. There’s no shame in renting while you pay down debt and save an emergency fund. In fact, that’s the best thing you can do! After your finances are in order, you can start putting money aside for a hefty down payment. Don’t buy a house—or sign an agreement to buy a house—when you’re broke!

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While rent-to-own agreements have traditionally been geared toward people who can’t qualify for conforming loans, there’s a second group of candidates who have been largely overlooked by the rent-to-own industry: people who can’t get mortgages in pricey, non-conforming loan markets. “In high-cost urban real estate markets, where jumbo [nonconforming] loans are the standard, there is a large demand for a better solution for financially viable, credit-worthy people who can’t get or don’t want a mortgage yet,” says Marjorie Scholtz, founder and CEO of Verbhouse, a San Francisco–based start-up that’s redefining the rent-to-own market.

This can be a win-win for both seller and tenant. Many sellers offer this option if they are having trouble unloading the house and can no longer afford the mortgage payment. Often, you will find that sellers offering rent-to-own as an option are individuals who have already moved into a new home and are trying to avoid paying double mortgages for the long term.
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If your budget can’t tolerate the mortgage in those communities, you can still enjoy a pleasant living environment in neighborhoods like Aliante. This is a family-friendly community with a suburban feel, and you have access to multiple parks and schools within close proximity of residential areas. Henderson and Summerlin are larger neighborhoods that offer similar suburban living environments with reasonable housing prices.
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