This post is correct in that a rent to own can be a great deal for both the buyer and seller however I would just like to caution anyone considering a lease option to be particularly careful in reading the entire agreement and understanding the contracts they are signing. I would strongly recommend you have your own attorney review the agreement so it can be properly explained before you turn over your hard earned money to anyone. You will want to protect yourself from any surprises down the road.
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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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.
"rent-to-own agreements reside in a gray area of the law. An examination by The New York Times of contracts and court filings, as well as interviews with housing lawyers and more than a dozen of Vision’s customers across the country, found that these deals are risky, lack consumer protections and may not be enforceable in some states. Most tenants walk away with nothing, having sunk money for rent and repairs into homes they had once hoped to own. Others faced surprise evictions, having signed a contract that did not disclose what repairs were needed, yet set a deadline for making sure the home was up to local housing code. As different tenants move in and out of the same property over the course of years, many homes fall further into disrepair."
Repairs and maintenance: This is where many landlords get hung up with rent-to-own properties. Some forget to include language in the agreement about which party is responsible for R&M. This can cause major, deal-threatening disputes down the road. Be explicit about who is responsible for what, and to what extent. For instance, maybe a tenant is responsible for all routine repairs and property maintenance up to a certain dollar amount each year, at which point the costs are covered by the owner (or shared between both parties). Capital improvement costs should be included in this provision.
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.

Buying the Property. Once the term is up if the potential buyer decides or isn't able to buy the home, the RTO offer expires. The buyer will forfeit any money they have paid in, including option money and rent. If there is a legal obligation to purchase the property and the buyer forfeits, court proceedings may begin. At the end of the RTO term, if the tenant wants to buy the property, they usually apply for a mortgage. They may deduct the option money and any rent they have paid in so far from the total purchase price.
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Home Partners of America is committed to making homeownership a reality for more people. The program provides a clear path to homeownership. Our process is easy, transparent, and built on a foundation of choice and flexibility. Home Partners is helping more people get into great homes, in neighborhoods they love, with the opportunity to build a more secure financial future.
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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HousingList provides buyers with a full database of rent-to-own, HUD Homes, and Foreclosure real estate in their area. Visit our library to learn more about what a rent-to-own home is, how to rent-to-own, and other common questions buyers have asked over the years. We work hard to keep this area updated with all the information you will need throughout the entire rent-to-own process. You can also get up-to-date news, tips and more on our blog.

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You will usually pay higher prices with a rent-to-own arrangement. These inflated prices are due to your rent money going for two different things, as well as miscellaneous fees that the tenant will be responsible for. You could also start out paying a slightly lower price and have it go up each year. Some clever buyers have paid inflated rents for a short period of time before coming into a "sudden windfall" to buy the property early, though contracts are typically created by the seller with the seller's interests first.
Income Tax Benefits. As a homeowner, you can enjoy the ability to deduct mortgage interest paymets from your income when calculating income taxes. However, these deductions only make sense if they are above the standard deduction levels, as those who do not have mortgage debts are entitled to take the standard deduction. Most people purchasing a home through a (relatively) high-interest rent to own loan likely have a limited amount of debt associated with the purchase, which is unlikely to exceed their standard deduction. Given how low interest rates are on traditional mortgages, if the homebuyer had a high income and could qualify for a large loan they would probably use a traditional mortgage rather than a less certain rent-to-own option.
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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.

Buyers see benefits—but not without some big potential roadblocks. In many cases, they are counting on being able to rebuild their damaged credit rating while living in the rent-to-own home and paying above-market rent. To benefit, they must be able to get their financial house in order and qualify for a home loan before their lease option expires. Should the market drop significantly, the renter might end up owing a lot more on a house than it's worth. And it's harder to move out should your lifestyle change.


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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