If you are unsuccessful in finding a property on your own, I would suggest contacting an agent that is knowledgeable about rent-to-own transactions.
You can then ask them to help you with the contracts that need to be executed to make the transaction legal and recordeable with the county, as well as the best way to structure your offer so it is appealing to both you and the property owner.
Some agents are not interested in working on this type of sale, since they put a lot of time into working with both sides without seeing a commission for awhile, and possibly never if you do not exercise the purchase option. But, it is possible.
You may also want to consider USDA Rural development financing, which allows for 0% down in some situations with no private mortgage insurance. There are also some programs available through HRDC that may be able to help.... more