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A rent-to-own transaction differs from a traditional lease, in that the lessee can purchase the leased item at any time during the agreement (in a traditional lease the lessee has no such right), and from a hire purchase/installment plan, in that the lessee can terminate the agreement by simply returning the property (in a hire purchase the buyer has a limited time, if any, to cancel the agreement).[1]
When you lock in a purchase price up front, you also risk watching the home’s value drop during your lease. If that happens, you could be stuck paying an inflated price for the home simply so you don’t lose your option fee and rent credits. Be sure to research home prices and do a home inspection before signing — these things will help you be more confident that the home is actually worth the price.
For maximum personal protection it is best for renters to keep the lease & purchase options as 2 separate contracts if possible. This protects the tenant from being liable to pay for unknown & expensive property maintenance while also making it clear what the costs are for each aspect of the agreements. A leaky roof seen during the first rain is easy enough to spot, but it might not be easy to know there is a problem with a septic tank until you lived in the house for a while.
The rent-to-own market segment of the real estate industry is not particularly regulated, nor are these transactions carefully tracked. However, a number of horror stories have made their way into the headlines. Most pertain to landlords who took advantage of low-income or unsuspecting renters by structuring the agreements to make tenants responsible for maintenance and repairs, but not disclosing to the renters that the homes were riddled with code violations.
Think about it, what if you were able to pick an area that you would like to live in but may not be able to afford right now or just no ready to make that big purchase. With the Rent to Own process, you can get into that house without the 30 year commitment. You can even have a portion of the rent credited to the sales price or closing costs, that’s instance equity at closing for you.
Q: It has been almost a year since the short sale of our previous home. We don't believe we will be able to qualify for a mortgage for a while yet. Do Realtors assist buyers in finding a situation where we could rent a home for a period of time (say, a year), with the intention of purchasing it at the end of that time period? Or is that not really something Realtors do?
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For maximum personal protection it is best for renters to keep the lease & purchase options as 2 separate contracts if possible. This protects the tenant from being liable to pay for unknown & expensive property maintenance while also making it clear what the costs are for each aspect of the agreements. A leaky roof seen during the first rain is easy enough to spot, but it might not be easy to know there is a problem with a septic tank until you lived in the house for a while.
At the end of your two-year lease term, assuming you exercise your option to purchase, the fixed $200,000 purchase price will be discounted by a) the amount of the option fee and b) the total rent credits. So subtracting the $6,000 option fee brings the price down to $194,000. Then, subtracting $7,680 in rent credits ($320 x 24 months) further reduces it to $186,320.
Both renters and sellers need to be very clear about the contract they draw up before they agree to this arrangement. Renting-to-own has advantages and disadvantages for both parties. Sellers who have already bought a new house will have relief from paying two mortgages at once, and in a slow housing market with many homes for sale, this may be their best option. Buyers who can't yet afford a house may be able to get one more quickly.

An important thing to consider that many buyers forget to include in their contracts is home maintenance responsibilities. Your agreement should state who is responsible for routine maintenance and extensive repairs. Local laws may complicate things, because in some areas, landlords are required to perform certain duties regardless of what your agreement states.


Zillow.com allows potential tenants to search by zip code for houses. Once you've searched, you'll be able to filter the home results by type from RTO and foreclosures to auctions and broker-owned. You'll have to create an account to get seller information, but there are email forms you can fill out to contact a broker directly to ask about the property. Be warned that Zillow has a history of cross-selling user information to third party brokers rather that choosing to connect interested parties with the real property broker. The button to contact the correct broker may be grayed out and their contact information may be hidden below the fold after many screens of other information.
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.
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.
Owning a home is truly the American Dream. Buying a home can be a difficult process, especially for those with poor credit, no credit and/or a limited amount to invest. A Lease to Own, also known as Rent to Own, Option may be just for you! Based on your individual criteria, we can be very creative with financing and fit it to your needs. We are not loan brokers, bankers, real estate agents or selling homes for someone else, we are the owners or we have a legal equitable interest in the property.
Next, let’s talk about the home’s purchase price. In most deals, you will agree to a purchase price upfront, typically current market value or a bit higher. In limited other instances, you may delay that decision until your lease term is up. Whether one or the other will be more beneficial hinges on whether the home’s value rises or falls during that time. A key point in either scenario, however, is that the purchase price is also negotiable — just like you’re buying a house the traditional way.

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It’s critical to sign an agreement that is in your best short- and long-term interests. The rent-to-own option will cost more than a traditional home rental because there are other costs baked into the monthly amount. The good news is these “other costs” such as the initial option fee and monthly credit will go toward the final purchase price. Nevertheless, a rent-to-own contract should always include the length of the rent-to-own lease agreement (usually anywhere from 12­ to 70 months), the amount of initial option fee (usually 35 percent of final purchase price), the final purchase price at the end of the term, and the amount of the monthly payments that will go toward the purchase price. These figures are all negotiable.
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