Tenants who rent-to-own are often individuals who would have trouble buying a house through the traditional route because of poor credit, low income, or lack of a down payment. Rent-to-own gives them an opportunity for home ownership while living in the house they will eventually purchase and it also gives them a chance to discover flaws in the house before committing to purchasing it.
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.
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.
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Consumer advocates and plaintiffs testifying in legal proceedings have at times alleged that rent-to-own stores routinely repossess merchandise when a consumer is close to acquiring ownership. At the time of a 2000 FTC survey, individuals who engaged in rent-to-own transactions reported a “low incidence of late-term repossessions,” which the FTC suggested might be due to the reinstatement rights mandated in most states, as these rights allow consumers to reinstate this type of contract after repossession.
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.
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However, for some owners, a rent-to-own contract can be a great option. This tends to be the case when an owner is relocating from a cool market and wants to buy in a new market, but they cannot afford to carry two mortgages at once. Renting the home they’re trying to sell will help to offset their debt-to-income ratio and make it more likely that the sellers will qualify for a mortgage on a new home once they relocate.
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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.
Rent to own housing contracts is especially attractive to sellers when the real estate market is slow, and the homeowner worries that their house won’t sell quickly at an appropriate price. So, instead of listing the house for sale, the seller offers the rent to own option to attract a potential buyer who wants to buy the house but isn’t in the financial position to purchase the property at that moment.
The contract will also indicate how long you’ll rent the home before you have to decide whether to buy it and how much you’ll pay in rent each month. The contract should state, too, how much of your monthly rental payment will go toward reducing the final sales price of the home. It should also list what happens to any extra rent money you pay each month. In most rent-to-own agreements, that extra money is also nonrefundable.
What happens when you find the home of your dreams but aren’t quite ready to take out a loan and accept responsibility for a mortgage and property upkeep expenses? You hope there’s a rent-to-own option. This type of contract allows you to rent the home for a designated period of time with the understanding that you can purchase the home near the end of the contract. This gives you time to adjust to your new neighborhood and shop around for the best lender to service your mortgage application. You can end up in a better financial position for taking that time, and you don’t lose out on the home since you get to move in right away as a renter.