“Anything unusual – in income, for example – tosses good income earners into an ‘outlier’ status because underwriters can’t fit them neatly into a box,” says Scholtz. This includes people who have nontraditional incomes, are self-employed or contract workers, or have unestablished U.S. credit (e.g., foreign nationals) – and those who simply lack the huge 20% to 40% down payment banks require for nonconforming loans.
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.
This will ensure that you are not getting into a contract to purchase a home that you can’t afford. It’s important to give yourself a decent head start on the mortgage loan application process to see where you stand, as well as give yourself time to repair and/or fix any credit-related issues that might prevent you from obtaining a home loan. That’s because you need to be ready with an approved mortgage loan on the date specified in the rent-to-own contract.
Many people who want to purchase their own homes might not have the money on hand for a 20% down payment or money to cover the miscellaneous fees that come with buying a home. An RTO contract gives them a period to save up for a downpayment, and a portion of their rent money will also go toward their down payment or earnest money once the contract is up. This can act as a cushion, and they won't have to worry about paying such a high down payment amount.

Rent-to-own agreements are based on a weekly or monthly rental term. In the structure of this type of transaction, the consumer (lessee) - at the end of each week or month - can choose either to renew the lease on a weekly or monthly basis by making renewal payments, or to terminate the agreement with no further obligation by returning the tangible property.[8] Though not obligated to do so, the consumer can choose to continue making interval payments on the merchandise for a pre-specified period of time, at which point they would own the good outright.[9] An alternative purchase option is commonly provisioned for, allowing the consumer to pay off the remaining balance on the agreement at any point in time in order to obtain permanent ownership.[10]

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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.

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Read your contract closely and be sure you can handle the terms. The rent-to-own real estate contract should include the home price, the cost of rent, and the deadline for you to exercise your option to buy. It should specify what portion of the rent payment is credited toward the home purchase—or if you need to write two checks each month, for the rent and for the home payment—and under what circumstances the contract can be voided.
There is no shortage of buyer options with RealtyStore. Look for Smart Score as you look through MLS, foreclosure, rent to own, for sale by owner (FSBO), and other real estate deals. Smart Score is an indicator to show how well the home is priced compared to other homes in the area. Higher scores mean it is a great deal, and a low score means you should negotiate aggressively when you make an offer.

Location. Your location will play a vital role in whether you choose to rent, buy, or rent to own your next home. In some areas, you may see rent prices that are double and triple the typical rate in the area because of demand. So purchasing a home or finding an RTO option may be a smarter option. It all depends on what you're willing to pay, and what you can afford.
To find a lease-to-own or other type of property, simply click on one of the popular states/cities, or enter your city name, state name or even a zip-code into the search bar. We will then search through our records of active rent-to-own homes near you and display a list of all properties within that location. To view a specific property, simply click on the property itself to view detailed information such as images, community information, local amenities and more. The rent-to-own property market is heating up and we recommend contacting owners of these homes quickly to make a deal.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of RTO scams that any potential buyers have to watch out for. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. If you don't' trust the seller, or if they're asking for a lot of money upfront, leave it. There are legitimate RTO options available. You don't have to take the first one that comes along. Ensure you read the fine print and have a Realtor and/or a real estate lawyer verify the contract is fair. Many deals are fair - particularly those offered by local nonprofits like SHOP - but dishonest companies who do not disclose major issues can destroy people's lives:
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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.
Receiving credit for downpayments is one of the biggest appeals of rent-to-own homes. Quite often, buyers and sellers will write up the rent-to-own contract that specifies that the buyer will get a certain dollar amount of the rent that is paid each month that gets credited towards the eventual home purchase. For instance, the seller may specify that $200 of each month's rent payment will be credited to the buyer at the time they purchase the home using a mortgage loan.
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At HousingList we believe home-ownership should be accessible to everyone. We work to spread awareness around alternative, non-traditional routes to home-ownership such as rent-to-own and HUD properties. These alternative paths to owning a home can help people who don't have enough funds saved for today's rising down-payments, people who need to improve their credit scores, or any number of factors that prevent today's buyers from the dream of homeownership.


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.
The more times a person tries to obtain a mortgage and gets turned down, the harder an impact this will have on their credit. It could even lower their credit score. If a lender pulls their credit report and sees multiple failed attempts in a short amount of time, they'll be less likely to work with them. A rent-to-own contract usually doesn't require a credit check, and the tenant can give their credit score time to recover.
There is an alternative, however: a rent-to-own agreement, in which you rent a home for a certain amount of time, with the option to buy it before the lease expires. Rent-to-own agreements consist of two parts: a standard lease agreement and an option to buy. Here’s a rundown of what to watch for and how the rent-to-own process works. It's more complicated than renting and you'll need to take extra precautions to protect your interests. Doing so will help you figure out whether the deal is a good choice if you're looking to buy a home.
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