http://rentownhomelistings.gq | Learn more about the rent-to-own model, whereby tenants can have a portion of their monthly rent accrue toward a down payment to eventually buy the home …
In the years leading up to the financial crisis of 2007-08, the rent-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 rent-to-own model on a larger scale.
This helped formalize the rent-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 rent-to-own option now available to more tenants to buy a house or condo, many consumers ask: how does rent-to-own work? To answer that question, let’s review the basics of rent-to-own.
If 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 rent-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 rent-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 rent-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 rent-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 rent-to-own option might mean your rent is $1,200.
You should always have an attorney look at a rent-to-own contract or lease, because there is no industry standard template for writing rent-to-own contracts or rent-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 rent-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, rent-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.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel for more great informational videos.