What happens when you find the home of your dreams but aren’t quite ready to take out a loan and accept responsibility for a mortgage and property upkeep expenses? You hope there’s a rent-to-own option. This type of contract allows you to rent the home for a designated period of time with the understanding that you can purchase the home near the end of the contract. This gives you time to adjust to your new neighborhood and shop around for the best lender to service your mortgage application. You can end up in a better financial position for taking that time, and you don’t lose out on the home since you get to move in right away as a renter.
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.

We’re also seeing an uptick in rent-to-own homes now that property values have recovered from the recession. As prices have increased, it has become harder for some homebuyers to save enough for the requisite down payment. Rent-to-own homes provide a built-in mechanism to help people save for the down payment on a home they love but simply cannot afford at the moment. Rent-to-own homes can also help a person rebuild their credit by making timely rental payments during the contract period, thus increasing the likelihood that they’ll be approved for a mortgage to buy the home a few years down the road.
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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.
Because the rent-to-own process is less regulated than a typical buying or rental process, there’s no standard rent-to-own contract. The terms are completely negotiable. If you’re entering into a rent-to-own process, you need to talk to a real estate agent and an attorney on the front end to make sure you understand—and are ok with— the terms of your unique contract.
Maintenance. Usually, there are specifications in the contract concerning maintenance. It isn't uncommon for the person who is purchasing the property to maintain it while they're living there. The tenant can be asked to pay for any repairs, property taxes, insurance, and any homeowner's association fees. Since it is the seller's home, they are technically responsible for taxes, insurance, and homeowner's association fees but they could ask the tenant to pay them. Either way, the tenant will need renter's insurance. It is up to the potential seller to specify what is covered by maintenance and what is not covered. This is very important because if nothing is specified, the tenant could end of doing major repairs instead of basic maintenance.
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Rent to own situations can be structured in two popular ways. One is the lease purchase. A lease purchase usually requires the tenant to commit to buy the home over an agreed to period of time. Terms can be quite flexible to suit the renter's needs. These terms include the time frame, the amount of rent applied to the rent to own purchase, and the price of the property. The second approach is called a lease option. In a lease option, many of the same terms apply as in a lease purchase. The difference is in the lease option, the tenant may not be required to purchase the home at the end of the option time period. However, in each case, the renter usually needs to put up a non-refundable option fee to initiate the rent to own contract.
Because the rent-to-own process is less regulated than a typical buying or rental process, there’s no standard rent-to-own contract. The terms are completely negotiable. If you’re entering into a rent-to-own process, you need to talk to a real estate agent and an attorney on the front end to make sure you understand—and are ok with— the terms of your unique contract.

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The biggest con of rent-to-own for a seller is that if a willing buyer showed up on your doorstep offering full price (or more) for your home, you would have to refuse — your tenant’s lease option gives them that right exclusively during the contract term. If you lock in a purchase price initially (the most likely scenario), you may leave money on the table over a traditional sale if your home’s value climbs dramatically.
I’m a single mom of two. We own our coop apartment but it’s a one bedroom. Rentals in my NY require an income of $100,000 or more for a 3 bedroom rental. My income is to low for us to rent. It seems that ownership is my only option. Is it a bad idea to consider rent to own in my situation? We need more space and need time to sell or sublet our coop. Is there a better option?
One big thing that may be different in this lease agreement: You, the tenant, may be responsible for maintenance costs and general upkeep of the home instead of the landlord. The logic here is that you’ll be motivated to keep the house in top shape if it will be yours in a few years. However, the landlord would still be on the hook for any repairs so major that the home would be uninhabitable without them.
Sometimes, there are issues with the home that you might not be aware of until you go to buy the home. The seller may have issues with the title or may not own the title, or there may be major issues that a home appraiser will not approve in order for you to buy the home. The best advice for this is to treat your rent-to-own agreement like an actual home purchase, so get an inspection and do a title search before signing anything.
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Affordability. Renting and RTO are typically cheaper than purchasing a property outright, at least initially. If you simply can't afford a down payment and all of the miscellaneous fees, renting or RTO may give you a chance to put money away for a down payment. Those two options usually have fewer upfront costs. However, if you choose to rent, you won't have much to show for it after years like you would with RTO or purchasing a property.
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Unfortunately, finding rent-to-own homes isn’t quite as simple as finding properties that are for sale or rent. Online, you can try websites such as HousingList, RealtyStore, or IRentToOwn, but you will have to pay a fee with these before you can view any significant information or contact sellers. Craigslist can be a good free option; searching “rent to own” in the housing section turned up about 50 listings near me.
These consequences should be clearly outlined in the rent-to-own contract. If a tenant misses payments, the seller can choose to start the eviction process, and the buyer will forfeit any payments that they have made so far, including the money that is in escrow. Depending on which type of contract you're locked into, there may be legal consequences. If you've chosen a lease option, you have the choice to opt out of buying the home without any lasting consequences. However, if you've chosen the lease purchase, you are required to buy the home at the end of the contract. If you don't, the seller could start legal proceedings for breach of contract.
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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?

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.
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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.
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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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!
When you rent-to-own, you can target both buyers and renters as potential candidates to RTO the property. A buyer could purchase the property on an RTO basis, and either live in it or turn it into an investment property once the contract ends. A renter may want to purchase a property but doesn't have the means to do so right now. Any RTO property could be a big draw for them because it gives them time to save before purchasing the property. The seller has an increased chance of RTO their property.
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Now if you really want to own a house using a rent to own will be the easiest way. Look for an individual or a company that is reputable and selling homes through a rent to own program is their business. You want to make sure you are dealing with professionals. Have your attorney review the agreement and have him to record the agreement on title. You should also consider buying a home using a land contract or using a wraparound mortgage. Always remember that however you acquire the home if you are making payment to the seller/home owner he or she may not be making payment to his mortgage and you could find yourself with a notice on your door telling you to more out because the owner was foreclosed. If this happens you will lose everything so make sure you discuss all the pros and cons with your attorney.
HousingList.com is a premier resource for rent to own and lease to own homes in Nevada. It allows buyers and sellers to quickly find deals and contact information on rent to own or lease to own houses in Nevada. HousingList.com covers the full range of conventional rent to own homes, lease to own homes, for sale by owner (FSBO) homes, REO foreclosure homes, and pre foreclosure homes. Finding affordable Nevada rent to own homes has never been easier!
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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.  


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.

Visitors often say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but residents of the city prefer to remember the time they spend in Las Vegas. Non-residents automatically think about the Las Vegas Strip when the city is mentioned, but there’s more to this community than the line of casinos and hotels found on Las Vegas Boulevard. While visitors may flock to downtown Las Vegas for the Fremont Street Experience, there are many who make the city their home because they see the beauty of the city beyond gambling, shopping and last-minute weddings. The below results are primarily rent to own homes in Clark County, NV:
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