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How do rent-to-own contracts work?

Clients come to us with many different types of real estate issues. They may be buying a home for the first time or they may be trying to divide a home after a divorce. One topic that may be of interest to our readers and those considering buying a home is the choice of renting to own.

A rent-to-own option basically gives a renter time to secure financing and possibly save up some money for a down payment on the house. At the same time, the property owner is able to get his or her mortgage payments paid in full or partially using the rent payments. This can be a good way to sell a house when the market is full of houses that are for sale.

The renter may decide to rent for the next few years and then buy the property in the end. There is a difference between a lease option and a lease purchase. A lease option means the renter has the option of buying the house later on but there is no agreement set. A lease purchase is when the renter has signed an agreement with the property owner that says he or she will eventually buy the property.

It’s important to understand the contract that you are signing no matter what side of the sale you are on. If a renter is not able to buy the property at the end of the rental period, he or she may lose the deposit on the house. A real estate attorney can make sure the contract between the seller and renter is solid so that everyone can come out of the process with a positive outcome.

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