Dan Green

Dan Green

Since 2003, Dan Green has been a leading mortgage lender and respected industry authority. His unwavering commitment to first-time home buyers and home buyer education has established him as a trusted voice among his colleagues, his peers, and the media. Dan founded Homebuyer.com to expand the American Dream of Homeownership to all who want it. .

Beach Home - Rent-To-Own

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What is Rent-to-Own?

Rent-to-own is a real estate agreement where a tenant leases a home with an option or obligation to purchase it at the end of the rental period.

A Longer Definition: Rent-to-Own

Rent-to-own is a contractual agreement between a renter and a landlord where a renter pays rent monthly while the lease is in effect and has an option or obligation to buy the home when the rental period concludes.

Rent-to-own agreements typically consist of two parts: a standard lease agreement and an option to purchase. The terms of the agreement, including rent amount, length of the rental period, and purchase price, are agreed upon at the outset. The renter and owner may also agree for a portion renter’s monthly payment to be applied toward a down payment for the eventual purchase of the home.

Rent-to-own may appeal to first-time home buyers because it allows them to “test” a home before committing to buy it, while also allowing time to build credit, save for a down payment, and improve their financial situation. However, rent-to-own contracts are often balanced in favor of the landlord.

Before entering a rent-to-own contract, home buyers should review the agreement with a real estate attorney and be aware that payments or rent credits towards the home’s eventual purchase price may be forfeited after a single late payment and for other reasons.

Rent-to-Own: A Real World Example

First-Time Home Buyer Stories: Rent-to-Own

Imagine a first-time home buyer interested in a home but unable to get pre-approved for a low-down payment mortgage because of a recent bankruptcy.

Instead of buying a home outright, the buyer enters a rent-to-own agreement with a willing home seller, setting a future purchase price and agreeing to rent the home for two years with a portion of the payment applied toward the purchase.

After 24 months, the home buyer re-applies for a mortgage, gets approved, and their contribution gets deducted from the agreed price as part of a successful purchase.

Common Questions About Rent-to-Own

What are the benefits of a rent-to-own agreement for first-time home buyers?

Rent-to-own agreements offer first-time home buyers an opportunity to live in a home before buying, save towards a down payment through rent payments, and lock in a purchase price at a pre-determined price.

What are the risks of a rent-to-own agreement?

The risks of a rent-to-own agreement include losing the money invested towards the purchase if the option to buy is not exercised, higher monthly payments compared to standard rental agreements, and an obligation to buy the home even if its property value decreases.

How does a rent-to-own agreement affect a buyer’s credit?

A rent-to-own agreement does not affect a home buyer’s future credit score unless the landlord reports on-time rental payments to the three major credit bureaus.

Can a buyer negotiate the terms of a rent-to-own agreement?

Yes, terms like rent amount, duration of the rental period, and purchase price are negotiable in a rent-to-own agreement, similar to other real estate transactions.

What happens if the property’s value changes during the Rent-to-Own period?

If the property’s value increases, the buyer benefits by having locked in a lower purchase price. However, if the value decreases, the buyer might end up paying more than the market value unless there are terms in the agreement allowing for renegotiation.

How do I find a rent-to-own home?

To find a rent-to-own home, start by filtering online real estate listings for “rent-to-own” and ask a real estate agent to help identify available rent-to-own properties. Research and verify the legitimacy of any rent-to-own arrangement before proceeding.

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       Rent-to-own is a real estate agreement where a tenant leases a home with an option or obligation to purchase it at the end of the rental period.

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