Finding homes to rent are pretty easy. And, of course, there is a huge selection of rent to own homes to buy right now. However, finding homes that are rent to own can be very difficult. We’ve gotten more questions about rent to own homes in the past 5 months than we have in the 5 years before that. These are also sometimes called lease to purchase homes or lease with the option to purchase. All of these names can be used interchangeably, since they are referring to the same kind of basic set up.
In rent to own situations, the sellers are willing to lease the home for a certain amount of time. When that rental time is up, the renter has the option to buy the home. Usually the money spent on rent during that time is deducted from the purchase price of the home – a price which is usually negotiated when the rental time is up and market statistics are as up to date as possible. But, if you’re interested in a lease to purchase, know that all of these factors are flexible and depend on the situation. For example, in some cases the purchase price is negotiated well before the renter moves in. So, no two cases will be exactly alike.
A lot of buyers look for rent to own homes in order to have time to get their credit in order. Or, sometimes buyers find a home that they really like, but they’re simply not ready to buy yet. So, renting with the option to purchase gives buyers a lot of flexibility and ensures that they will get the home they want if they decide to purchase it. It’s similar to test driving a car. But instead of trying it for a couple of days, you actually get to move your stuff in and stay for as many months as you can negotiate. There are a lot of benefits for buyers in a rent to own situation.
For sellers, rent to owns can become sticky situations. Because the renter/buyer has so much flexibility, the seller loses a lot of control in the process. After all, there is no guarantee that the renter will buy the home after the specified time frame. So, a seller may have taken his home off the market for nothing and may have lost other potential buyers (who are actually willing and able to buy real estate) in the mean time. Depending on how the contract is written, the seller gets to keep all of the money from the rental period regardless of whether the renter buys. Some sellers are willing to risk taking their home off the market for the chance of the sale, and they may view the money earned as income they would not have gotten if the home had sat vacant instead. Sellers who are desperate and willing to try anything may want to consider listing their home as a rent to own – since some interest (even if it’s not serious interest) is better than no interest at all.
For buyers and sellers, finding a real estate agent who is willing to work with rent to own homes can be difficult. So, if you’re considering a rent to own situation, be sure to tell your agent upfront. If he or she is not able to work with you, find another agent who has experience with these transactions. Since there are a lot of factors to take into consideration with rent to own properties.