The Pros and Cons of Rent to Own Homes: Is It Right for You?

by | Aug 24, 2023 | Finance

Are you tired of renting but not quite financially ready to buy a home?

Rent-to-own homes may be the solution you’ve been looking for. With this unique arrangement, you can rent a property with the option to buy it in the future.

It may be a path to homeownership, especially for those who may not qualify for a traditional mortgage. But it’s also not without its drawbacks.

Let’s explore the pros and cons of rent-to-own homes from the Griffin Real Estate Team. We’ll give you the necessary information to decide whether it aligns with your financial goals and circumstances.

What Is Rent-to-Own?

Rent-to-own is a unique housing arrangement that combines renting and buying a home. Here are the two main types of rent-to-own agreements:

  • Lease-option agreement. This gives you the option to purchase the property at an agreed-upon price after a certain period of time. The lease period ranges from one to three years.
  • Lease-purchase agreement. In this agreement, you are obliged to purchase the property at the end of the lease term. The purchase price is typically locked in at the beginning of the lease agreement.

A rent-to-own setup allows you to live in a home you eventually plan to own, even if you are not currently in a position to qualify for a mortgage.

Pros of Rent-to-Own Properties

Rent-to-own homes offer several advantages that make them an attractive option for many individuals. Here are some of the pros of choosing a rent-to-own arrangement:

1. Opportunity for Homeownership

Rent-to-own homes provide a pathway to homeownership. It’s ideal if you do not qualify for a traditional mortgage. Yes, we’re talking about having a low credit score or a bad credit standing.

This option lets you get your financial standing in check while living on the property. And it ultimately gives you the opportunity to become a homeowner.

2. Flexibility in Renting and Owning

Rent-to-own agreements often offer more flexibility than traditional home purchases.

These arrangements typically allow tenants to negotiate the terms of the contract. These include the purchase price, rent amount, and contract length.

This flexibility can be particularly beneficial if you need more time to improve your credit scores. The same applies to those saving for a down payment.

3. Ability to Test the Property

Renting to own allows you to live in the property before committing to a purchase. This will enable you to:

  • Assess the neighborhood
  • Evaluate the property’s condition
  • Determine if it meets their needs and preferences

If you discover any issues during the rental period, you can decide not to proceed with the purchase. And this can save you from potential regrets.

4. Option to Lock in Purchase Price

The purchase price is typically agreed upon at the beginning of the rent-to-own contract.

If the property’s value increases during the rental period, you can benefit from potential price appreciation.

This can provide a financial advantage when it comes time to secure a mortgage and complete the purchase.

5. Rent Payments May Count Toward the Purchase Price

In some rent-to-own contracts, a portion of the monthly rent payment may be credited toward the property’s purchase price.

This rent credit can help tenants accumulate a larger down payment. It may also help reduce the eventual purchase price.

Cons of Rent-to-Own Properties

A rent-to-own home may seem like an enticing option. But it’s important to consider the potential cons before committing to this type of agreement. Here are some drawbacks to be aware of:

1. Higher Overall Cost

A rent-to-own home often comes with a higher price tag than traditional rental properties or homes for sale. There may also be higher monthly payments compared to just renting.

This is because the seller typically factors in the potential appreciation of the property. They also charge a premium for the renter’s option to purchase.

As a result, you may end up paying more in the long run.

2. Risk of Losing Option Fee and Rent Credits

In a rent-to-own contract, you may need to pay an upfront, non-refundable option fee.

If you decide not to purchase the property or are unable to secure financing, you will lose this fee. And this can be a significant financial setback when buying a home.

3. Limited Inventory and Options

Rent-to-own homes are not as readily available as traditional rental properties or homes for sale.

This can limit your options. Finding a property that meets your needs and preferences may also be more challenging.

4. Real Estate Market Fluctuations

The agreed-upon purchase price in a rent-to-own agreement is typically determined at the beginning of the contract.

If the housing market experiences a decline in property values, you may end up paying more for the property than it’s worth. This can put you in a disadvantageous financial position.

5. Lack of Control and Flexibility

While renting, you have less control over the property than being a homeowner. You may be restricted from making certain modifications or improvements without the owner’s approval.

And if you change your mind about purchasing the property during the rental period, you may face penalties. You may also lose the option to buy altogether.

Entering Rent-to-Own Agreements

The decision to enter a rent-to-own agreement is a personal one. It requires careful consideration of the pros and cons.

It is crucial to assess your financial situation, long-term goals, and personal preferences before committing to this arrangement.

So, weigh the pros and cons and consult a real estate agent. Then, make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and aspirations.

Remember, your dream home is within reach. And with the right approach, you can make it a reality!

Read through our useful guide for more information

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