Before entering into an agreement, sellers have to decide the sale price and rent they'll charge for the house. Both amounts are subject to negotiation, just as a regular sale would be. But sellers and buyers need to remember that once they sign an agreement, the sale price of the house is locked in until the end of their rental term, between one and three years. Even if other housing prices rise or fall during that time, the original agreed-upon price is final.

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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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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.
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.
In April of 2000 the FTC released the results to a survey of 12,000 randomly selected U.S. rent to own customers. This survey represents people who purchased any type of product rent to own industry. Most of the purchases were for home electronics, furniture & appliances. While the purchase prices are far smaller than the cost of a home, many of the concerns are similar to those who are renting a home.
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Housing StatisticsProperty prices in Las Vegas aren't as high as people might think, largely because the city extends far beyond the glossy and abundantly wealthy areas of the Vegas Strip. Las Vegas proper has houses for sale at an average of just over $360,000, with median prices much lower than that at only $161,500. The population in the city stands at about 600,000, with an almost exact split between men and women, with average income per household of $47,000. A recent study from the University of Nevada has also shown that roughly 40,000 homes, or eight percent of the total homes in the city, are vacant. As such, people looking for homes for sale or rent to own properties should have a fairly easy ride finding a few potential options in the city.
According to a Federal Trade Commission survey on the rent-to-own industry in the United States conducted in 2000, consumers reported that they chose to engage in rent-to-own transactions for a variety of reasons, including “the lack of a credit check”, “the ability to obtain merchandise they otherwise could not”, and “the convenience and flexibility of the transaction”.[1] The most common reason cited for dissatisfaction within the survey was high prices. In addition, some survey respondents reported poor treatment by employees in connection with late rental payments, problems with repair services, and hidden or added costs.[1]

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You also want to be sure your landlord is on solid financial ground before closing a rent-to-own deal. If he or she falls behind on the mortgage or loses the house for some other reason while you’re renting, you probably also lose the option to buy and all of the money you’ve put toward the purchase price. To help protect yourself, do a title search before signing anything so that you can make sure the property is actually your landlord’s to sell.
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.

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.
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.
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It’s normally not necessary to commission a home inspection on a traditional home rental, but remember that rent-to-own is not a traditional home rental. This is a short- and long-term investment that requires the utmost attention to detail. And the small upfront cost of a home inspection could save you literally thousands down the road. Therefore, hire an independent home inspection professional to uncover any problems the house may potentially have. It’s important to do this even if the current homeowner furnishes a disclosure statement that attests to the condition of the home. If the independent home inspector points out problems, it’s important to determine whether or not the issues will prevent you from getting a future home loan once the rent-to-own term ends. Therefore, make sure the contract specifies who is responsible for making the necessary repairs discovered during the inspection prior to finalizing the rent-to-own agreement. The homeowner might offer a credit off the final purchase price at the end of the rent-to-own in lieu of payment for damages. Either way, be sure to get everything in writing before finalizing a rent-to-own contract.
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