The rent-to-own purchase model can be a good option for sellers whose houses have been on the market for some time and they can’t find a buyer for a variety of reasons: Perhaps it’s more advantageous to rent in your area. Or maybe interested buyers don’t have high enough credit or enough of a down payment to qualify for a mortgage. The rent-to-own option can attract potential buyers by giving them a chance to slowly build credit and pay their down payments over time. Just make sure your potential buyers can have high enough credit to qualify for a loan when it’s time to buy.
Watch out for lease-purchase contracts. With these, you could be legally obligated to buy the home at the end of the lease – whether you can afford to or not. To have the option to buy without the obligation, it needs to be a lease-option contract. Because legalese can be challenging to decipher, it’s always a good idea to review the contract with a qualified real estate attorney before signing anything, so you know your rights and exactly what you’re getting into.
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Renters also have to pay an option fee and then a rent premium. The option fee is a set amount that the renter pays the seller. If, at the end of the lease period, the renter buys the house, the option fee becomes part of the down payment. If the renter doesn't buy the house, the option fee becomes income for the seller. Rent premiums are an amount slightly above the typical rent, with a portion of that money going toward a down payment.
Closing process. You’ll need to secure financing at the end of the lease term if you plan to purchase the house. At that point, the lender will set a closing date where you’ll be given ownership of the property as the buyer. Depending on the terms of the agreement, the percentage of rent money set aside for your purchase and/or option money will be credited to you.