A lease-to-own house purchase (also "rent-to-own purchase" or "lease purchase") is a lease combined with an option to purchase the property within a specified period, usually 3 years or less, at an agreed-upon price. The borrower pays an option fee, 1% to 5% of the price, which is credited to the purchase price. The borrower pays rent, and an additional rent premium that is also credited to the purchase price. If the purchase option is not exercised, the buyer loses both the option fee and the rent premium.
Contract Features of a Lease-Purchase
A lease-purchase has 5 major provisions. The sale price of the house and the rent are market-determined, yet subject to negotiation just as in a straight purchase or rental transaction.
Buyers generally prefer a long option period because it provides more time to build equity and repair credit. A long period can boomerang on them, however, if they are never able to exercise the option, since they lose the rent premium they have been paying all the while, in addition to the option fee. Sellers generally prefer a short option period, but if it is too short, the house won’t be sold.
The option fee and rent premium are viewed differently by buyers and sellers. To the buyer, they are part of the equity in the house they will soon own. Fully anticipating that they will exercise the option, the only cost is the interest they would otherwise have earned. To sellers, however, these payments are the best guarantee that their houses will sell; if they don’t sell, the payments are retained as income. That the benefit to the seller generally exceeds the cost to the buyer makes the lease-to-own deal a possible win-win.
Using a Lease-Purchase to Buy
The lease-purchase offers homeownership opportunities to consumers with little cash and/or poor credit, who are prepared to bet on themselves. The bet is that before the option period expires, they will qualify for the mortgage they need to exercise the purchase option. During the option period, they have the opportunity to rebuild their credit and accumulate equity while living in the house.
The development of the sub-prime market, in which consumers with poor credit or no cash can obtain loans, does not seem to have lessened interest in lease-purchase. It is very likely that those who succeed in exercising their option under a lease-purchase do better than if they had financed a conventional purchase in the sub-prime market. The savings in finance costs will more than offset a higher price on the house.
Consumers who need to rebuild their credit rating during the option period should understand that just paying their rent on time won’t do it. Rent payment information is not used in compiling credit scores. While Fair Isaac, the company that developed credit scoring, has recently unveiled an “expansion” score based on “non-traditional credit data,” it does not yet include rent payment information from individual home owners. Lease-purchase buyers who need a higher credit score must focus on their credit cards and loans.
Even though it is costly, the right not to exercise the option is of value to buyers. If there is something seriously wrong with the house, neighborhood, or neighbors, the money left behind on a lease-purchase is much smaller than the cost of an outright purchase followed by a sale.
SOLD--contact Mario for all available Lease-to-own properties on the MLS Lehigh Acres Lease-to-Own 33971
The home is brand new, never lived in 3/2 home with plenty of upgrades. Three bedrooms/two baths. Ceramic Tile and carpet. Plant shelves. Nice tile work in the bathrooms. Two car garage. Great area of Lehigh, loads of new houses, with convenient access to Fort Myers via Daniels Pkwy, and close to Rt 82.
The owner is seeking $5000 for the lease option, $1100 per month rent, with $100 going towards the purchase price. Owner is willing to go short term or up to three years. Great time to lock in a price before the prices start to go back up.