Lease with Option is one of the questions I often get from first time buyers with limited down payments. They can work, but I seldom recommend them.
First, the buyers is very much at risk from several directions: if the seller defaults on their mortgage and the house is foreclosed on the buyer is just plain out. What ever they have paid for the option (money down or increased rent) is lost AND they have no place to live; and you are absolutely at the mercy of the market during the option period. If the market goes down then you pay the higher price, and with the lower value you may not be able to finance the purchase.
Second, you are counting on being qualified next year. Good intentions aside, if interest rates go up, or prices go down you may not be able to qualify. If something happens and your income is temporarily reduced you may not qualify. You may not get the tax return you were counting on, you may have a baby and be on maternity leave. It's really an unknown.
Finally, there are any number of "scams" that have been very popular in this area.
I am not saying that you shouldn't do a lease option, just that it is not nearly as rosy as some of the answers.
Regency Real Estate