Is Rent-To-Own A Sure Thing?
The here and now seems to take the front seat as opposed to decisions that are best for the budget for a lot of families.
“We need more space.”
“Our credit isn’t where it needs to be.”
“What is the quickest way to start building for our future and not funding my landlords retirement?”
Rent-to-own is here. But should it be the move you make?
What Am I Agreeing To?
Rent-to-own contracts can be a little misleading. As with any contract you sign, double check that everything makes sense and is conducive for you and your family in the long run.
Remember when you said you were not wanting to fund your landlords retirement? The typical lease a family signs is a 12 month lease. Anything after that is usually month to month or on extended terms. With rent-to-own you are saying that you will lease possibly 2-3 years. At the end of those terms, then you have the option to buy it.
Most rent-to-own tenants have decided this option is best for them because they do not have a lump sum for a down payment or cash on hand.
Read further about a few things you may have not been aware of in the rent-to-own agreements.
What They Don’t Tell You
Although you are leasing the home this does not mean that by the end of the lease agreement you will still be approved. Although you did have the first pick on the home, they cannot guarantee that you are getting approved for the loan. This is no fault to the landlord.
If you were having a hard time getting approved for a loan before due to poor credit prior to the lease agreement and didn’t make any effort to work toward better credit, or something happened to your credit in the few years you were in the home, it won’t matter. Unfortunately, you will still be denied.
You will lose the money you put into the home as well.
Prior to signing your rent-to-own lease, you should still meet with a mortgage banker to know what you will need as far as payment, scores, etc. go to close when it comes time for the lease to end and the loan to kick in.
The Fine Print
There are many things you need to go into detail with the seller on prior to agreeing to a rent-to-own home. As with a lease, there should be other factors taken into consideration prior to signing on the dotted line.
- Are there any liens on the current home?
- What will you do if you don’t decide to buy it?
- How does the home inspection work?
- How much will I buy it for?
Liens On The Home
This is vital! There should be no reason to argue over who owns the title to the home. Speak with someone about all the details, complete research and make sure you have a party involved that knows what they are doing. There are way too many scammers and companies out there that can lie and pull the wool over your eyes and you’re stuck with no where to turn when you thought everything was going to work out just fine.
Taking A Pass
Let’s say you lived in the home for a few years and decide you don’t want to buy it. What then? Double check that the contract has a clear and defined understanding of what will happen if you should choose to not purchase at the end of the lease. The unfortunate part is that the money you did spend is nonrefundable.
As with any normal inspection, the condition of the home should be documented and photos should be taken off interior and exterior and any major concerns.
You and the seller will decide on a price up front. With the purchase price being locked in, this does not protect you from the possibility of the home’s value dropping. If that is the case, it will not save you from the price dropping. You will still be held at the price that was decided on at the time of the contract unfortunately.
Not to mention, if the current landlord is not financially sound and possibly loses the home while you are the current tenant you most likely lose the option to purchase and again, the money is gone with the wind.
There may be some benefits to your family signing a rent-to-own option but this is one to be weary of when walking through the process. There are home loans out there you can apply for that will work for you, especially if you are a first time home buyer. There are also options out there to not only help you improve your credit scores, but also work with you on smaller down payments and lower scores (although your interest rates will be higher). If low credit scores are keeping you from improving your living situation, please contact us today for a free credit consultation. We have helped over 30,000 clients improve their scores. Let us get you back on the path toward financial freedom.
Check out Credit Law Center’s infographic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.