(If your property has landscaping, you will receive a notice in the mail with your watering schedule and your group letter. This dictates what days you can water. Your irrigation clock is usually inside the garage. It is your responsibility to learn how to use it. If you want us to come out and set your clock, the charge is $25. If you get a fine for excessive use of water you may get a fine.)
Maintenance. Usually, there are specifications in the contract concerning maintenance. It isn't uncommon for the person who is purchasing the property to maintain it while they're living there. The tenant can be asked to pay for any repairs, property taxes, insurance, and any homeowner's association fees. Since it is the seller's home, they are technically responsible for taxes, insurance, and homeowner's association fees but they could ask the tenant to pay them. Either way, the tenant will need renter's insurance. It is up to the potential seller to specify what is covered by maintenance and what is not covered. This is very important because if nothing is specified, the tenant could end of doing major repairs instead of basic maintenance.
Rent-to-own agreements should specify when and how the home’s purchase price is determined. In some cases, you and the seller will agree on a purchase price when the contract is signed – often at a higher price than the current market value. In other situations, the price is determined when the lease expires, based on the property's then-current market value. Many buyers prefer to “lock in” the purchase price, especially in markets where home prices are trending up.
Be sure that maintenance and repair requirements are clearly stated in the contract (ask your attorney to explain your responsibilities). Maintaining the property – e.g., mowing the lawn, raking the leaves and cleaning out the gutters – is very different from replacing a damaged roof or bringing the electric up to code. Whether you’ll be responsible for everything or just mowing the lawn, have the home inspected, order an appraisal and make sure the property taxes are up to date before signing anything.
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Depending on the terms of the contract, you may be responsible for maintaining the property and paying for repairs. Usually, this is the landlord's responsibility, so read the fine print of your contract carefully. Because sellers are ultimately responsible for any homeowner association fees, taxes and insurance (it’s still their house, after all), they typically choose to cover these costs. Either way, you’ll need a renter’s insurance policy to cover losses to personal property and provide liability coverage if someone is injured while in the home or if you accidentally injure someone.
The real estate market is almost impossible to predict one month from the next, let along one year from the next. If you enter a contract with a tenant for RTO, you can lock in a selling price for the duration of your contract. This means that no matter what the real estate market does when it's time for the contract to end, you may end up getting more for your home than it's worth in the current market.
At the end of your two-year lease term, assuming you exercise your option to purchase, the fixed $200,000 purchase price will be discounted by a) the amount of the option fee and b) the total rent credits. So subtracting the $6,000 option fee brings the price down to $194,000. Then, subtracting $7,680 in rent credits ($320 x 24 months) further reduces it to $186,320.
 You can lose your entire investment if you miss a payment or two. With mortgages, if you miss a payment, your credit score drops and you don’t lose any of the equity on the home. With a rent to own contract, you can forfeit all of the money you’ve put toward the home.If the houses in your area start to decline in value, you risk having bought a home that isn’t worth as much as you thought.
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.

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“This is simply an agreement to transfer ownership of property between a seller and buyer,” he said. “Essentially, it is a purchase contract that takes years to close instead of 30 to 60 days. The buyer may pay the seller a down payment and then pays monthly payments. If the buyer meets the agreement's requirements, the seller then gives the buyer the deed to the property.”
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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.
Let’s say, for example, the owner could rent the home for $1,500 a month. When negotiating the Rent to Own contract, you and the homeowner might agree that you will pay $1,750 a month, with $250 set aside as your rent credit amount. If you have a three-year lease, you’ll end up with $9,000 ($250 x 36 months) in rent credit when the lease ends. You then exercise your option to buy and that rent credit is returned to you at settlement. You can use it as your earnest money deposit or down payment or to pay closing costs.
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.
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Las Vegas, the most populous city in Nevada, is known all over the world for a number of things: gambling, shopping, nightlife, and fine dining. Despite what some people may think of the city, however, it isn't purely a mecca for entertainment, and it is actually a growing choice among retirees and young families. The boundaries of Las Vegas also stretch beyond the visible city limits, taking in the mega resort area around the Las Vegas strip, as well as the Las Vegas Valley, although exactly what is encompassed by the city is a matter of interpretation.
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