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.
First and foremost, while these agreements tend to favor the landlord, they are not foolproof. A landlord truly hoping to sell risks a tenant walking away from the property at the end of the contract period, and thus having to put the property on the market all over again. Landlords often find themselves in hot water if tenants were responsible for repairs and maintenance, but then walk away from the deal without taking those duties seriously. Finally, landlords risk agreeing to sell the property for a set price, only to see the home appreciate in value during the contract period.
I have seen many people find a home with a Realtor, get to the 11th hour and then be told by the mortgage people that there is a “blip” on the credit that will not allow them to close. Never happens with Rent To Own, since I am the bank and property owner, their cash allows them to live as if they are buying and over time, the credit improves as they pay me to live in the house. Sure my interest rate is 7% versus another bank, but I have more risk with this person, as their credit is not as good.
Buying a home is relatively straightforward. You find a home, you make an offer to the seller, the seller accepts your offer, and the agreement is signed at closing. In this process, typically before you make an offer, you’ll get a preapproval letter from a mortgage lender approving you for a mortgage loan in order to buy the home. After closing, you agree to pay the lender monthly payments until your mortgage loan is paid off.
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In response to a growing desire to share information, develop uniform practices and procedures and cultivate a positive public image within the growing rent to own industry in the United States, rent to own dealers established a trade association—The Association of Progressive Rental Organizations (APRO) in 1980. The association began with approximately 40 original member companies and elected an initial board of 16.[6] Today the association has approximately 350 member companies representing approximately 10,400 stores in all 50 states, Mexico and Canada. Rent to own serves 4.8 million customers at any given time in the year.[7]

While a lease option gives you first dibs to purchase the home you’re renting, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be approved for a mortgage at that time. If you are unable to boost your credit or save enough for a down payment during your lease, you could still be shut out — and you’ll lose all the money you paid toward the purchase, too. To help protect against this scenario, experts recommend meeting with a mortgage lender before signing the deal to know exactly what you’ll need to qualify at the end of the lease.


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Is Rent to own or Lease Option for everyone? No, some won’t pay the higher interest rate, they’d rather have a landlord fix stuff and never have equity, content to pay stuff in cash and never need a mortgage, but others see value in the house and with banks being in charge of credit, they don’t care about blips or blemishes. These are good deals for people who cannot qualify with a bank.
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Unfortunately, rent-to-own is not always a good deal. If the tenant decides not to purchase the house at the end of the rental term, none of the extra money that he paid to the seller comes back to him. So he would have paid above market value for a rental and have no extra cash to show for it. Furthermore, unlike in traditional rental scenarios, the tenant is often responsible for repairs and maintenance during the lease term, and any money or sweat equity you put into the rent-to-own property will not be reimbursed.

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.
Units are typically leased out at market rates with an additional rent-to-own fee tacked on each month. That fee varies, but it’s usually anywhere from 10 to 15% of the monthly rent. For instance, a unit that would rent for $1200 on the open market may cost a rent-to-own lessee $1350 per month, with the $150 difference put aside in an escrow account. Any funds collected in the escrow account can usually then be used toward the purchase of the home if the tenant decides to exercise their option to buy. Otherwise, the funds are forfeited to the owner at the end of the lease term. Using the same example as above, this would result in $5400 collected over a 3-year lease period, which the tenant could put toward closing costs or a down payment on the home.
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The first website on our list is getrenttoown.com. With this site, you simply put in your desired zip code and click search. It'll show you houses that are for sale because of foreclosure, owner financed, pre-foreclosures, auctions, for sale by owner, and RTO. Once you sign up for the site, you'll get access to contact information, information about the listing, area demographics, and a property summary. The site also has an RTO buyer's guide, overviews, and resources.
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A rent-to-own agreement allows would-be home buyers to move into a house right away, with several years to work on improving their credit scores and/or saving for a down payment before trying to get a mortgage. Of course, certain terms and conditions must be met, in accordance with the rent-to-own agreement. Even if a real estate agent assists with the process, it’s essential to consult a qualified real estate attorney who can clarify the contract and your rights before you sign anything.
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If you have a lease-purchase contract, you may be legally obligated to buy the property when the lease expires. This can be problematic for many reasons, especially if you aren’t able to secure a mortgage. Lease-option contracts are almost always preferable to lease-purchase contracts because they offer more flexibility and you don’t risk getting sued if you are unwilling or unable to buy the home when the lease expires.
Buying a home is relatively straightforward. You find a home, you make an offer to the seller, the seller accepts your offer, and the agreement is signed at closing. In this process, typically before you make an offer, you’ll get a preapproval letter from a mortgage lender approving you for a mortgage loan in order to buy the home. After closing, you agree to pay the lender monthly payments until your mortgage loan is paid off.
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.
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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First and foremost, while these agreements tend to favor the landlord, they are not foolproof. A landlord truly hoping to sell risks a tenant walking away from the property at the end of the contract period, and thus having to put the property on the market all over again. Landlords often find themselves in hot water if tenants were responsible for repairs and maintenance, but then walk away from the deal without taking those duties seriously. Finally, landlords risk agreeing to sell the property for a set price, only to see the home appreciate in value during the contract period.
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.  
Pre Holdings, LLC, Pre Property Solutions and affiliated or subsidiary companies are not real estate brokers or agents. Pre Property Solutions is a real estate investment company. All properties are either owned by Pre or the company has a purchase contract and/or option with the owner of the property, which Pre may assign to third parties. Pre Property Solutions is not a real estate brokerage and does not provide realtor services to the public, or to any of the parties to which it has contractual relationships.
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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.
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.
Traditionally, the lower your credit score is, the more likely you are to either get denied for a mortgage or get charged higher interest rates. You want to get the best rates possible because this will reduce the amount you pay back in interest over the life of your mortgage. An RTO contract can help you strengthen your credit by giving you a history of on-time payments. It can also add diversity to your credit history, which can improve your score over time.
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.
Rent-to-own is when a tenant signs a rental agreement or lease that has an option to buy the house or condo later — usually within three years. The renter’s monthly payments will include rent payments and additional payments that will go towards a down payment for purchasing the home. The lease contract will state the tenant’s rental payment, how much of the rental payments accrue toward a down payment, and how much the purchase price of the home will be.
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