Nice article and very informative. I wish I had read it a few years ago. I’m in a 3 year lease to own contract and the option to buy expires in a few months. The locked selling price is $250,000 after paying a down payment of $30,000 (the original price was negotiated at $280,000, so less the down payment up front). My monthly payments are $2400 and we are using a 30 year mortgage amortization chart with an 8% APR to determine what % of the monthly payment actually pays down the cost. Since the fallout of the housing market, the house will never sell for the price we agreed to in 2007. From research, it seems that similar homes in the area have been reduced by as much as $100,000.
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Rent Premium – The term used here is “rent premium” and not simply rent. This is because in a lease to own option, the buyer has to pay a slightly higher amount than the typical rent for a property. The extra percentage of each monthly rent payment (called rent credits) goes toward the down payment for the property, if the buyer chooses to ultimately buy it. If at the end of the lease, the buyer cannot or does not choose to buy the property, the seller keeps all the money.
I thought you said in your article you didn’t believe in rent premiums, that you heard “horror stories” of people paying higher rent? You said “rent should be whatever reasonable market rent the home justifies. The rent should not be higher because of the lease option component of the deal”. Which is it? You said “rent is rent”. Well, premium means just that, a premium above the market rent to be applied toward the purchase price. PLEASE, any renters reading this, PLEASE take it with a grain of salt. Do some real research.
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I was wondering if I pay 386 rent and my lease to own contract is for 10 years. How much of the 386 actually gose towrds the purchase price of the home. I payed 1000 for a a chance to be able to purchace the property. I’ve been here for 4 years it will be 5 Nov 2015 than I ill have the option to by and than agiin at the last five years or the end of my last five years i pay all the property taxes and i do all the repairs and matienace on the property and the property was considered comdemmedmed before I moved in it which I did not know before I moved in. Please Help. I dont want tolose all the money I put into this property. Blessings, Sandra Riggs
Great article, Rob! Thank you so much for spelling it out like you did. My husband and I are about to enter into a RTO agreement and we are both terrified. We’re both young with young kids and this is a huge decision to make. I’ve talked to a few smart friends and relatives and Ive googled until my hands hurt. Maybe you can answer a few of my questions.
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Option Fee – It is a fixed amount that the renter (or the prospective buyer) needs to pay to the seller. It is a one-time, usually non-refundable amount which provides the buyer an option to purchase the house in future. Note that paying the option fee does not constitute any obligation on the buyer’s part, but merely grants him the “right” to purchase the property when the contract expires.
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Rent to own home sales are usually done between two private parties, often without legal or professional assistance on the part of the buyer. For anyone who doesn’t have extensive knowledge in real estate deals, renting to own can put you at the mercy of a less-than-honest homeowner. One such Easton, MA landlord recently plead “not guilty” to accusations that he swindled over $100,000 from potential home buyers in a rent to own scam.
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The first website on our list is getrenttoown.com. With this site, you simply put in your desired zip code and click search. It'll show you houses that are for sale because of foreclosure, owner financed, pre-foreclosures, auctions, for sale by owner, and RTO. Once you sign up for the site, you'll get access to contact information, information about the listing, area demographics, and a property summary. The site also has an RTO buyer's guide, overviews, and resources.
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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This option allows renters to build income as well as increase their credit score while simultaneously living in the rental property. Some rent-to-purchase contracts allow the buyer the ability to walk away if they find something wring with the house. This is a huge advantage for most potential buyers as it allows them to sort of test-drive the home before buying (only if the contract allows). Typically, when a buyer does walk away from the home in such a circumstance, they usually lose their option fee and any rent credit they have built up. However, when compared to the alternative of buying the house outright and leaving it at a later date, the cost is considerably less.
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I had a question on lease to own homes. So lets say the rent is $2,000 month and $300 is put aside to be used a potential down payment as you plan on purchasing the home. Who is collecting that $300? The bank? The homeowner? On the other end, what if at the end of the term you decide you actually don’t want to purchase the home, what happens to that $300 that had been saved every month, lets say for the past 4 years? Do you get that $14,400 back? Also, when you enter the contract with the option to buy later, is the purchase price the same as at the beginning of the lease? For example, the lease is 4 years and the option to buy the home will be $300,000. So 4 years has past and you now want to purchase the home, however the home prices in the area have raised significantly and the home is now valued at $550,000. If you want to purchase the home, can the price of the home be raised by the homeowner to the purchaser? I appreciate any advise you can give me, thanks.
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