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There’s no standard rate for option money, which can range anywhere from 2.5% to 7% of the total purchase price of the home. If you were buying a home for $250,000 and paid a 3% option consideration, you would pay $7,500 up front. It’s smart to have that money go toward to purchase price at closing so make sure it’s included as a clause in your contract.
Next, let’s talk about the home’s purchase price. In most deals, you will agree to a purchase price upfront, typically current market value or a bit higher. In limited other instances, you may delay that decision until your lease term is up. Whether one or the other will be more beneficial hinges on whether the home’s value rises or falls during that time. A key point in either scenario, however, is that the purchase price is also negotiable — just like you’re buying a house the traditional way.
Foreclosures, rent to own, and "MLS smart buys" are some of the highlights of what home buyers can find on RealtyStore. Over the years, RealtyStore has developed industry-leading technology to gather and present the best real estate deals in the country. With over 2 million listings, you'll be sure to find a real estate bargain that meets your needs.

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.
The cost incurred by consumers in rent-to-own transactions has been the subject of long-term debate and differing opinion. Historically, consumer advocates, some U.S. state attorneys general and some academic researchers have expressed concern that consumers entering into rent-to-own agreements may be unaware of the potentially high long-term costs of rent-to-own in comparison to traditional installment or layaway plans.[11] Often mentioned alongside most critiques is the question of whether prices paid for services of this type are adequate for lower-income individuals who can least afford additional financial outlays.[12] At the same time, other academic researchers and representatives of industry associations have contended that rent-to-own transactions are not comparable to traditional methods of purchasing or financing consumer goods, in that they include services such as delivery, assembly, service and repair, all of which are factored into the higher assessed value and corresponding price charged.[13][14] Also frequently noted by proponents of the unique nature of rent-to-own transactions is the point that they are not obligations to purchase, since the agreement can be terminated by the lessee at any point in time with the return of the property.[15] Research conducted by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in 2003 found that 90% of rent-to-own merchandise is returned with less than 36% of the scheduled weekly payments made, suggesting that transactions of this type are "more frequently used for short-term needs rather than as a method of acquisition."[16]
When you decide that rent-to-own is the right choice for you, you'll have to start looking for places that list RTO homes for sale. It might seem like a difficult thing to find at first, but several websites list them. One thing to note about these types of sites is some of them charge a fee to view information. Be sure to use a credit card rather than a debit card so you can more easliy dispute charges if you keep getting charged after you stopped using the service and contacted the company to cancel any ongoing subscriptions. It is hard to point out gotchas to specific websites while publishing an article like this because businesses can be bought & sold, and new owners may be more aggressive with monetizing customers than the old owner was.
Home Partners of America is committed to making homeownership a reality for more people. The program provides a clear path to homeownership. Our process is easy, transparent, and built on a foundation of choice and flexibility. Home Partners is helping more people get into great homes, in neighborhoods they love, with the opportunity to build a more secure financial future.
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What the buyers and sellers often don’t realize is that the buyer can only receive a credit for any amount of rent paid that is more than "fair market rent" as determined by the appraiser.  For instance, if the appraiser notes that the "fair market rent" for the property is $1000 per month, and rent-to-own contract states the buyers rent is $1000 per month, the buyer cannot receive any credit for rent paid. As you can imagine, this can be a costly technicality that brings buyers no closer to their goal of purchasing the home.
Next, let’s talk about the home’s purchase price. In most deals, you will agree to a purchase price upfront, typically current market value or a bit higher. In limited other instances, you may delay that decision until your lease term is up. Whether one or the other will be more beneficial hinges on whether the home’s value rises or falls during that time. A key point in either scenario, however, is that the purchase price is also negotiable — just like you’re buying a house the traditional way.
Affordability. Renting and RTO are typically cheaper than purchasing a property outright, at least initially. If you simply can't afford a down payment and all of the miscellaneous fees, renting or RTO may give you a chance to put money away for a down payment. Those two options usually have fewer upfront costs. However, if you choose to rent, you won't have much to show for it after years like you would with RTO or purchasing a property.
Price. Asset prices have become inflated by nearly a decade of intervention by central banks since the housing crisis. In many big cities you'll pay a price premium to own your home. The cost of ownership is not just the monthly loan payment, but also includes things like: maintenance, property taxes, homeowner's insurance & the opportunity cost of not investing the equivalent sum of money into higher yielding & more liquid investments. When all these other costs are considered, NerdWallet found that in 2015 the ownership premiums can range from 33% to 93% more per month than it would cost to rent. That said, the NerdWallet data has a skew to it, as some people may buy large opulent homes whereas the common rental dwelling is far more subdued. What matters more than any overall trend is running the numbers on your options. In many neighborhoods rent costs about double what the associated mortgage payment would be for the same exact property, though it is worth noting the property owner also has to pay for maintenance and other costs of ownership.
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A: An experienced Realtor will be able to put together for you a rent-to-own contract (also called a Lease Purchase). Don't hesitate to call your Realtor to ask. If they are uncomfortable doing this type of contract, then ask to speak to their Branch Manager who will have the knowledge to be able to craft a Lease Purchase contract. A Lease Purchase is a GREAT way to lock in on today's home prices, and live in a home to get to know the neighborhood, but be able to obtain the financing later. I would also suggest speaking to a lender now to outline your situation so that you can really be ready in a year to complete the purchase. Good luck!
It’s important to note that there are different types of rent-to-own contracts, with some being more consumer friendly and flexible than others. Lease-option contracts give you the right – but not the obligation – to buy the home when the lease expires. If you decide not to buy the property at the end of the lease, the option simply expires, and you can walk away without any obligation to continue paying rent or to buy.

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HousingList provides buyers with a full database of rent-to-own, HUD Homes, and Foreclosure real estate in their area. Visit our library to learn more about what a rent-to-own home is, how to rent-to-own, and other common questions buyers have asked over the years. We work hard to keep this area updated with all the information you will need throughout the entire rent-to-own process. You can also get up-to-date news, tips and more on our blog.
Rent to own, which is also known as a lease purchase, is a contract between you and the seller to buy a house at a future closing date. This can be anywhere from one to three years after the contract is signed. Only 1% of first-time home buyers were renting to own last year according to the 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers published by the National Association of Realtors.

Reasons to enter into a lease option include the better use of a buyer's time and money by allowing a renter the time to secure financing, save money, reduce debt and acquire financing. Additionally, since the purchase option price of the home is usually fixed when the lease is signed, another plus in an up market can be when home values increase over the term of the lease while the fixed option price remains constant, a buyer/renter can actually be earning equity while renting. Done properly, a lease option can be quite a good deal for a buyer. On the down side, if the value of the property decreases over the term of the lease the buyer has lost nothing since he can simply walk away at the end of the lease term.
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In a rent-to-own agreement, you (as the buyer) pay the seller a one-time, usually nonrefundable, upfront fee called the option fee, option money or option consideration. This fee is what gives you the option to buy the house by some date in the future. The option fee is often negotiable, as there’s no standard rate. Still, the fee typically ranges between 2.5% and 7% of the purchase price.

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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“You will need to ask the attorney about specific state and local laws, including usury limits,” he said. “Also, to avoid payment disputes and have a third-party document your payment history, use an escrow service to handle all payments including making the taxes and insurance. Escrow companies will also hold the documents related to the transaction.”
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.
There’s no standard rate for option money, which can range anywhere from 2.5% to 7% of the total purchase price of the home. If you were buying a home for $250,000 and paid a 3% option consideration, you would pay $7,500 up front. It’s smart to have that money go toward to purchase price at closing so make sure it’s included as a clause in your contract.
If you’re looking for a place to live, plan to rent today but eventually want to purchase your own house or condo, and don’t plan on moving from the area you’re targeting for rentals, then rent-to-own could be an option for you. It’s also a good option if you have less than stellar credit and need time to build up good credit history while renting.
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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A rent-to-own transaction differs from a traditional lease, in that the lessee can purchase the leased item at any time during the agreement (in a traditional lease the lessee has no such right), and from a hire purchase/installment plan, in that the lessee can terminate the agreement by simply returning the property (in a hire purchase the buyer has a limited time, if any, to cancel the agreement).[1]


Renting-to-own a home is the new alternative path to homeownership. In today's housing market, the challenges of buying a home through traditional methods have increased drastically. The rent-to-own process allows potential buyers with poor credit scores, or who simply lack the large down-payments required to own a home, the opportunity to live in their home while working on improving their credit and saving funds. What could be better?
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Rent-to-own homes will typically cost a bit more than the fair market value of other home rentals in the area. That’s because a portion of the monthly rent-to-own payment will be designated as a “rent credit” -- up to 20 percent of the monthly amount due -- will go toward the purchase of the home when the agreed-upon term expires. It’s important to make these monthly rent-to-own payments on time and as scheduled.


Conversely, if you decide not to buy the house – or are unable to secure financing by the end of the lease term – the option expires and you move out of the home, just as if you were renting any other property. You’ll likely forfeit any money paid up to that point, including the option money and any rent credit earned, but you won’t be under any obligation to continue renting or to buy the home.

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