In the US real estate market, the rent-to-own method has been used since the 1950s’, according to FundingUniverse.com. There are two ways in which a rent-to-own agreement can take place. The first, offering a renter a lease agreement with an option to purchase the home at the end of the lease, or second, the renter will sign a lease agreement with a purchase agreement already in place. This means a price for the residence has already been decided before the lease was signed and both parties are committed to the sell and purchase of the property for a specified price.
Landlords and tenants considering a rent-to-own method for their next apartment or home should consider several factors. How does this all work legally? What are the benefits and the drawbacks? In each scenario, simply put, one is able to build equity in the place they are living, while still only being a renter of that property. In addition, the landlord is given added security that the renter will carry out the terms of the rental agreement.
Trulia.com gives a great example of a rent-to-own situation as follows, “if the price of the home is $200,000, and the landlord agrees to apply 30% of your $1,500 monthly rent payment throughout your two-year lease agreement. This would bring the purchase price (of the home) down to $189,800.”
Some Considerations for tenants:
Are there any available units for a rent-to-own?
These listings are hard to find as they are appealing to a certain type of renter. They are more typical in smaller buildings or with rental homes.
Do you know where the money is going?
Working with a transparent landlord is key and understanding the specified contract and its implications is very important. Important questions to ask are where is the money held? Is there any option to back out? Also, having good legal advice is key here. In addition, an important note to consider is if the home cannot be purchased or financed, the upfront deposit and the rent credits toward the purchase are forfeited.
What are the credit implications for the renter?
According to homeguides.com, tenants who have imperfect credit scores are typically drawn to rent-to-own properties. This is great for potential homeowners“If you have credit repair work that needs to be completed, or if your financing is still a question mark, push for a closing date at least 12 months in the future.”
Considerations for landlords:
Is your legal agreement for this ready to go?
Landlords will need to draft up a new agreement, be aware of how the rental credits are issued and held. Legal ramifications are important on both sides.
How does a landlord handle maintenance and repairs?
In a typical rental agreement all of the repairs are up to the landlord. This may not always be the case and is up to the discretion of the individual landlord.
Are there financial benefits to the landlord?
Usually in a case of rent-to-own the renter is more secure and will carry out the contract, lowering the risk of evictions and break lease scenarios.
With the rental marketing and the home market soaring in today’s market, the rent-to-own option mat be worth exploring. The key is to be informed, study the agreements, and make sure both parties are aware of the outcomes.