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.
Personally, I feel that they are an exceptionally bad deal for the "buyer", and should be avoided at all cost. Unfortunately, they target people who have bad credit and no options to purchase a home through conventional means. People in this situation are often in love with the idea of owning their own home, and out of desperation get involved in these "deals"
When you enter an RTO contract, you agree to rent the property for a set amount of time and purchase it once the contract term is up. There is more flexibility in this option, and you usually won't need a large down payment like you would if you were purchasing a home. Many RTO contracts have a term of one to three years. This means that after that set term is up, the tenant will purchase the property from the seller. You'll usually pay a higher rent amount because your rent will be split into two categories. The rent portion of your monthly payment will go toward the seller's mortgage payment on the home, and the rent premium portion will go into an escrow account and be used for the down payment when it comes time to purchase the property.
Rent to own is different than a lease option, which gives you the option to buy a place you were renting before it goes on the market, but there’s no obligation to do so. When you rent to own you usually make a deposit, which can also be called “option money,” and the contract stipulates your obligation to buy. The deposit goes to the seller and is a non-refundable fee.
Making your lease payments on time can help improve your credit. Just make sure your landlord/seller reports your rental payment data to the major credit reporting agencies. There are many other things you can do to improve your credit score while you’re in the rental period of your lease agreement. Start by requesting your free credit report. Federal law entitles you to one free credit report once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com, a website set up by the three major credit bureaus.
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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. 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.
There are actually two types of contracts: a lease-purchase and a lease-option. With a lease-purchase contract, you're locked into buying the home by the conclusion of the contract. If you don't, you will forfeit all the money you’ve supplied to the seller over those years and could also face legal action. If you choose this route, you should be absolutely clear on your long-term plans and financial outlook. Plenty can happen to your life and livelihood that could affect whether you can (and want to) own this house.
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At homestarsearch.com, you start by typing in the zip code of the area you want to search RTO listings in. It'll pull up any RTO homes within a certain mile radius of your desired zip code, and you can click on each one to get more details. Once you've registered for the site, you'll get in-depth information about each property including pricing, the number of bedrooms or bathrooms, and how big the property is. There is also seller contact details so you can talk to them directly.
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This is your safest option, and likely the one most financial experts will recommend. If you’re truly committed to saving up and building your credit, there may be little reason to jump the gun with a rent-to-own deal. After all, if you can afford the option fee and higher rent that these deals require, then put all that money you saved in a high-yield savings account or money market account. Continue to add to it by finding a place with lower rent, and give yourself the freedom to obtain a mortgage the regular way in the future.
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.
If you want to see different types of homes for sale in your area including RTO listings, housinglist.com is a great resource. When you pull up the site, it'll ask you for your desired zip code. When you enter this information, a list of different houses will come up along with how they're being sold. There are foreclosures, for sale by owner, real estate listings, and RTOs. You click on 'get more details' to see more about the houses. You register for the site to get access to contact information and additional house information.
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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.
Our goal is to help you find the ideal rent to own home. To do that, we’ve had to experiment with a lot of crazy things to make that happen (thus our name!). We’re consistently trying new things, working with new partners, and overall, trying to make your search experience as seamless as possible. At the end of the day, we know how important it is to find the perfect home, and we’re excited to help you find it, and to help you through the entire process.