Verna, those are all great questions. As a landlord, we always charged an upfront fee of 1% of the sales price. The fee was nonrefundable, but went toward the purchase price if the tenant exercised the option. The sales price was always fixed. And about 15% of the rent went toward the purchase price if and when the tenant decided to purchase. However, our lease option terms were always tenant-friendly, in my opinion. I’ve seen agreements that favored the landlord (e.g., no stated purchase price, much higher upfront fee, etc.). A lot comes down to what you can negotiated. In terms of the value of the home, I never rely on Zillow. In my experience it is highly inaccurate.
Gary, you make me laugh. Been doing this for years, and one thing amazes me deal after deal. Renters pay the rent to own option fee and then never buy. I’ll never understand it. Anyway, I think the arrangement is very fair, and when you factor in savings of 6-8% in fees we don’t have to pay when we sell, the profit is quite good. However, you always have to keep your market in mind. I buy real estate in Ohio. This is not a market where prices will jump 30% in three years. Won’t happen. Anyway, thanks for your entertaining comment.
Our goal is to help you find the ideal rent to own home. To do that, we’ve had to experiment with a lot of crazy things to make that happen (thus our name!). We’re consistently trying new things, working with new partners, and overall, trying to make your search experience as seamless as possible. At the end of the day, we know how important it is to find the perfect home, and we’re excited to help you find it, and to help you through the entire process.
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To set market rate rent, then add the lease-option fee monthly, that is fully deducted from the future purchase price provides *some* compensation to me in the event that they don’t buy the house. If I am interested in selling – but someone wants ME to shoulder the financing for YEARS, there should be *SOME* benefit to me, or they can keep looking, or keep renting. I know you are trying to help people avoid traps, and I started the article hoping to find something that the potential buyer, and myself as the seller could read together to come to a fair and equitable rent-to-own agreement, but the outline above is no different to me than continuing to rent the home to them exactly as our lease is structured. When the term is up, if they want to buy the house, they can proposition me then.
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My father has a house that my husband and I are interested in purchasing, but won’t have the down payment. Although we do have excellent credit, we just want to pay off some other obligations before starting to save for a down payment. I know my dad would be open to other options, would you recommend the lease to own, my dad acting as the lender, or a installment land contract? Additionally, what type of outside party would we need to facilitate this, if any (i.e. real estate agent, attorney, etc.)?

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One of the interesting things about the rent to own financing option is that it is often home owner financed. Meaning, in many cases the bank plays no role other than administrator in the entire financing of the home. While this article will outline some of the basic closing costs associated with the typical rent to own contract, it is important to be aware that the home seller can create closing costs of their own.
Forty-two year old Joshua Leventhal was arrested on claims that he billed more than $100,000 from individuals and families looking for a rent to own home from 2010-2011. Potential home buyers would find a home on the market that they wanted to live in and inform Leventhal, who would then agree to purchase the property and sell it to the potential… to read the full article Click Here.

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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!
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I have a question if ya don’t mind. We are in a lease with option to buy. We love the house and everything however it was never disclosed to us that it floods from the run off of the other communities. We have lived here for 2yrs and have had over a foot of water with having to chase my kids toys to keep them from floating away. We gave them $6500 towards the purchase of the home but we really dont want to be dealing with this issue all the time. Is there any thing I can do we live in Pennsylvania. She wants too much for it with the flooding issue and the township says its been ongoing for the past 30yrs.
Because rent-to-own homes is still not very common and not tightly regulated (as stated earlier), both buyers and sellers must obtain assistance of a real estate attorney (on either side) while making a deal. Both parties should be fully aware of their inherent responsibilities and rights concerning the property in question. Overall, while there are many pitfalls to this process, there are plenty of benefits to avail for everyone concerned as well. Sellers get to earn money off the otherwise unsaleable or vacant properties, and buyers are provided with an affordable housing option to become homeowners in near future.
My father has a house that my husband and I are interested in purchasing, but won’t have the down payment. Although we do have excellent credit, we just want to pay off some other obligations before starting to save for a down payment. I know my dad would be open to other options, would you recommend the lease to own, my dad acting as the lender, or a installment land contract? Additionally, what type of outside party would we need to facilitate this, if any (i.e. real estate agent, attorney, etc.)?
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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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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.

While rent-to-own agreements have traditionally been geared toward people who can’t qualify for conforming loans, there’s a second group of candidates who have been largely overlooked by the rent-to-own industry: people who can’t get mortgages in pricey, non-conforming loan markets. “In high-cost urban real estate markets, where jumbo [nonconforming] loans are the standard, there is a large demand for a better solution for financially viable, credit-worthy people who can’t get or don’t want a mortgage yet,” says Marjorie Scholtz, founder and CEO of Verbhouse, a San Francisco–based start-up that’s redefining the rent-to-own market.
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