How Does Renting to Own Really Work?

by | Housing Information, Rent to Own

 In the years leading up to the financial crisis of 2007-08, the renting to own model — in which tenants/buyers have an option to purchase the house or condo they’re renting from their landlord/seller— was mostly offered by individual homeowners. In the years following the crisis, it became a bigger option for tenants as large real estate investment firms bought up foreclosed homes across the country and implemented the renting to own model on a larger scale.

This helped formalize the renting to own model, whereby tenants can have a portion of their monthly rent payments accrue toward a down payment to eventually buy the home they’re renting.

With the renting to own option now available to more tenants to buy a house or condo, many consumers ask: how does renting to own work? To answer that question, let’s review the basics of renting to own.

 

Tenant/Buyer Perspective for Renting to Own

renting to ownIf you’re looking for a place to live, plan to rent today but eventually want to purchase your own house or condo, and don’t plan on moving from the area you’re targeting for rentals, then renting to own could be an option for you. It’s also a good option if you have less than stellar credit and need time to build up good credit history while renting.

Rent-to-own is when a tenant signs a rental agreement or lease that has an option to buy the house or condo later — usually within three years. The renter’s monthly payments will include rent payments and additional payments that will go towards a down payment for purchasing the home. The lease contract will state the tenant’s rental payment, how much of the rental payments accrue toward a down payment, and how much the purchase price of the home will be.

Before you sign a renting to own lease from your landlord/seller, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage at the purchase price stated in the contract or lease to ensure you can afford the home. If you can’t, renting-to-own may not be the right option, because the contract could inflate the rental price slightly to account for the contribution of the rent payment that’s accruing toward your down payment (more on this below).

For example, let’s say you signed a renting to own lease that had your rental payments at $1,450, with $250 per month accruing toward a down payment, and a purchase price of $250,000. This would mean you’d accrue $9,000 over three years to go toward a down payment, which would be 3.6 percent of the purchase price.

Assuming you didn’t save any more money than that during that time, you could buy the home using a 3.5-percent FHA loan. As long as your pre-approval in the beginning of the process determined you could afford this, it might be a good deal.

What if you couldn’t afford this as a home buyer, but you still wanted to rent the home? You must ask the seller if the home could be rented for cheaper without the renting to own option. Usually this is the case, because most mortgage lenders only allow the down payment accrual to be a sum that’s above the local market rent. So in this example, not having a renting to own option might mean your rent is $1,200.

You should always have an attorney look at a renting to own contract or lease, because there is no industry standard template for writing renting to own contracts or renting to own leases. You need to be clear on who’s holding the down payment funds, as well as specific state regulations and tax considerations.

The obvious benefit of renting to own options is that your housing plans are in place all at once. This works if you don’t want or need to move. But if you do want or need to move, renting to own will limit you to that single property purchase option, and therefore might not be worth it.

Rent-to-own is also a good option for people who might have recent credit trouble that they need a few years to repair. Your credit score plays a big factor in the mortgage rate you’ll get, which can make a big difference in your monthly payments. Your credit score also helps determine whether you’re eligible for a mortgage.

Making your lease payments on time can help improve your credit. Just make sure your landlord/seller reports your rental payment data to the major credit reporting agencies. There are many other things you can do to improve your credit score while you’re in the rental period of your lease agreement. Start by requesting your free credit report. Federal law entitles you to one free credit report once a year from AnnualCreditReport.com, a website set up by the three major credit bureaus.

 

Landlord/Seller Perspective for Renting to Own

The renting to own purchase model can be a good option for sellers whose houses have been on the market for some time and they can’t find a buyer for a variety of reasons: Perhaps it’s more advantageous to rent in your area. Or maybe interested buyers don’t have high enough credit or enough of a down payment to qualify for a mortgage. The renting to own option can attract potential buyers by giving them a chance to slowly build credit and pay their down payments over time. Just make sure your potential buyers can have high enough credit to qualify for a loan when it’s time to buy.

If you’re a landlord looking to sell your home and want to give a renter the renting to own model, you’ll need to consult an attorney to draft a contract or lease for you since (as noted above) there are no standard templates for this kind of lease option for sellers.
The two most common benefits to a home owner for selling their house or condo in a renting to own agreement are:

You can lock in the future sale price of your home now, and not have to worry about market fluctuations.
If you’re renting to a tenant who eventually wants to own the home, the quality of the tenant is likely to be much higher, and they will treat the house or condo with more respect.
One drawback of the renting to own selling option is that you might want to sell your house or condo sooner, and if your contract or lease doesn’t allow for you to do so, you could be locked into the terms you agree to with your tenant/buyer. Consult your attorney on how to make this sale provision of your contract negotiable if you need this flexibility.

 

Institutional vs. Individual Landlords/Sellers for Renting to Own

Individual homeowners offering a renting to own option for their leases usually set up contracts for three years. Institutional homeowners (like real estate investment companies) often have two-year lease contracts that can be extended for up to four more years after the initial lease term. This offers more flexibility for tenants/buyers.

Institutional renting to own companies are often publicly traded, so they’re subject to a whole host of regulatory scrutiny, which means they’ll be more stringent about consumer protection. This means your contracts will be very clear about the rules of engagement, who holds the down payment funds, and how disputes are resolved.

Big renting to own companies also have consumer help resources to help you with credit counseling and repair. In fact, some companies required their renters to go through credit counseling. If you need credit help, this might be a great resource for you.

If your credit is perfect, you’ll want to avoid a company with this option, or maybe stick to working with an individual landlord/seller.

 

The World of Federal Grants
Welcome To The Wonderful World Of Federal Grants Federal Grants - If you are planning to go to college or university but know that you would never be able to afford it on your own, or with the help of your family for that matter, one of the first places...
How A Home Warranty Will Save You Money
A Home Warranty Will Save You Money Owning a home can be expensive. Appliances break down, and air conditioners tend to quit working in the middle of the summer. In fact, most home have a major mechanical breakdown twice each year. Usually, these breakdowns occur at...
Natural Healing Options for Arthritis
Arthritis comes in various forms, but it's always painful. The typical medical approach is to take some sort of pain medication (usually non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NASDs) that might result in various side effects, such as stomach pain. Thankfully, there...
Getting The Most Out of Your Dental Insurance
If you have dental insurance, it is imperative to know how to get the best out of it. There are several things that you need to understand to maximize the cover for the betterment of your teeth. Your dentist is the most resourceful person to advise you on how to get...
Feeling Lost? Free (Or Cheap) Career Assessment Tools
In today's world, more people are struggling to pay/find for housing, medical bills, education, and other aspects of life. As a result, embarking on a new career is becoming a popular option to better themselves and their families. However, when choosing a new career,...
Step By Step Guide To Debt Repair & Rebuilding Credit
Step By Step Guide To Debt Repair & Rebuilding Credit A severe debt situation is a huge financial misfortune that can ruin your ideal credit scores. If you are bothered by this excruciating condition, never worry. You are not alone in this regard. During the...
Section 8 Vouchers Less Likely to be Accepted
 About 300 less, that is the number in Nashville, TN. Since 2010 there has been 300 fewer Section 8 vouchers accepted throughout the Greater Nashville Area. Families are being kicked out of their apartments and housing because the owners have just decided...
History of St Patrick’s Day
 St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated annually on March 17, the anniversary of his death in the fifth century. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years. On St. Patrick’s Day, which falls during the Christian season of Lent,...
Social Security Disability Benefits
Sometimes in life, events occur that prevent people from working in order to make a living. Accidents occur and illness strikes at the most inopportune moments. The Social Security Administration may be able to help. They provide disability benefits to...
Best Credit Cards for Questionable Credit
Life does not always work out as planned. Sometimes, a gap in employment leads to a few missed payments, and eviction, or a repossessed vehicle. These things happen to most people. In order build credit back up, a credit card may help. Making regular...
Are Discount Stores Really A Bargain?
It seems like dollar stores and other various discount stores are becoming a common retailer in most areas. Can these discount stores really offer you a bargain or do they just sell poor quality items? In my opinion, there are plenty of great bargains to be found in...
The Facts You Need to Know About Payday Cash Advances
If you need money, it can feel as if there is no one to help you. It may feel like you're up a creek without a paddle. Luckily, you can get payday cash advances to help you out. Research all companies that you are considering. Find a lender that fits you...
Which Student Loan Repayment Options Work for You?
Which Student Loan Repayment Options Work for You? The student loan process can be tricky and difficult to understand. Students often overlook the process from the beginning of college until graduation, never realizing the impact of the loans until payment become due...
Government Grants Exposed
You and I have heard it all before, the man with the funny jacket on late night TV telling us that the United States government gives out over 30 Billion dollars in grants every year. And if we want any of that for ourselves, all we have to do is send him...
Budget Tips for Today’s Family
If you are in charge of creating the family budget, chances are, you’ve had the unfortunate experience of having a brilliant budget plan that isn’t executed well. This happens to many families and couples, and with a little attitude tweaking, you can solicit the help...
Which Protection Is Best?
Keep Your Information Safe! Makes A Great Christmas Present! Credit card numbers are sacred these days. We’d never give them out to a stranger because credit card fraud and stolen identities are never more than one mistake away. But what if I told you that somebody...
Public Assistance Study
 According to a new public assistance study conducted by the University of Illinois and the University of California-Berkeley, a overwhelming majority of fast food worker's families are enrolled in one or more public assistance programs. These programs...
How to Manage Credit Card Payments
Do you have issues paying off credit cards? Sometimes the interest itself can be an overwhelming monthly payment. We have gathered some information below from credit experts that can hopefully help you manage your payments and find a way out from under...
Affordable Housing Problems
On 1st Street in Santa Ana — not far from where authorities recently cleared a tent encampment along the Santa Ana River near Angel Stadium — developer Caleb Roope wants to build nearly 1,000 apartments that will be affordable for low-income seniors and...
How Do I Get FHA Refunds?
Although FHA refunds are for people who have FHA-insured mortgage loans, not everyone is entitled to a refund. Various factors are considered to determine who can receive a refund. FHA refunds are available for those who finance their homes within three...

Subscribe

Family Picnic

Enter Your Email for Best Results

Due to the overwhelming response, please enter your name and email to ensure the proper search results.

You Are On Your Way!

Family Picnic

Enter Your Email for Best Results

Due to the overwhelming response, please enter your name and email to ensure the proper search results.

You Are On Your Way!

Family Picnic

Enter Your Email to Receive New Assistance Updates

Due to the overwhelming response, please enter your name and email to ensure proper results.

Thank You! You will now receive the latest assistance updates!

Family Picnic

Enter Your Email for Best Results

Due to the overwhelming response, please enter your name and email to ensure the proper search results.

You Are On Your Way!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This