There are many sellers who want to get rid of their property but haven't found a buyer and would now consider a Rent-To-Own scenario. This is a free service that any real estate agent would provide. There is no reason to go to a service company that would charge an upfront fee of $2,000. Working with a good buyer's agent, perhaps an ABR (Accredited Buyers Representative) you would find the place you're looking for with the terms that suit you best without paying upfront fees. The buyer never pays. Get yourself a good agent, specify your needs and get the home of your dreams-- even if you want to rent to own, it saves you time and money to trust this to an expert who has your best interest at heart.
The purpose of the TU/TD is to allow readers to rate your answer as either 'useful' or 'not useful'.
Once in a while we will get a random 'TD Bandit" who takes pleasure in giving a TD for apparently no good reason, even to the seemingly best and most useful answers.
Other times the question asker just may have not found your answer helpful, and will just give a TD without providing a reason.
As to your specific answer that was thumbs-downed, I can provide a guess as to why it may have occurred: Trulia's guidelines prohibits 'self-promotion'. In this case, your answer not only did NOT answer the question-askers specific question; you instead offered to preapprove her for a mortgage.
I did not thumbs-down you, but somebody else may have for the reason I gave above.
Either way, it might behoove you to read Trulia's guidelines so you can better understand one's possible motivation for TD-ing you.
There are several avenues you can take, i.e., search Craigslist and other local classifieds, work with a Realtor who can approach long-market time homes on the MLS to see if the sellers would be willing to strike a rent-to-own deal.
I have to advise you that you should be very careful about what type of lease/purchase situation you get yourself into. There are 2 types: Lease Option and Lease Purchase. They both will require to you pay above-market rent so a portion of your monthly payment can go towards your down payment, they both will require some initial money upfront (i.e., 3 months rent), but the lease OPTION is just that: You have an OPTION to purchase. Per your agreement, if you choose not to exercise the option to purchase by the date set forth in your agreement, you just lose your initial deposit money but are not subject to any other penalties.
With a lease PURCHASE, you actually enter into a lease and purchase agreement at the same time, with a sales price agreed-upon upfront and a closing date set for sometime in the future to actually consummate the purchase. With this type of rent-to-own agreement, you had better make sure you are qualified to obtain a loan when the time comes, because should you back out, you will be in default.
Either way, be aware that should you consummate the purchase whether through a lease option or lease purchase, make sure you work out the numbers in advance. In Chicago, rents are usually cheaper than ownership, since they do not take into account taxes and assessments and other ownership operating expenses. Know that when the lease part of your agreement expires, it is very likely your monthly payment will go up. Be sure you qualify for it and are capable of paying it by proactively speaking to a mortage broker prior to getting into any agreement.
And one last word of advice: Make sure you have an experienced real estate attorney drafting the agreements/contract for you, or at the very least reviewing the documents drafted by the seller/owner.
I agree with Patti that local classifieds such as Craigslist, Chicago Reader, Tribune, etc are the best options to pursue proactively . Whether listed with an agent or "for sale by owner", at least start the conversation by bringing up a lease option.
With today's slower market especially, sellers are eager to generate some income, and even more so if the property is vacant. So you might be surprised how many good responses you get by showing interest. The contracts supplied by a listing agent are pretty straight forward, but as always, just make sure an attorney looks over anything you are signing first.
Your best approach to find a property that you can do a lease with option to buy is to speak with Deborah Server at Rubloff Residential Properties as she and I have teamed up to lease and sell properties at the same time, a service that investors and sellers really like as they are concerned about their cash outlay. Most of these people are condo sellers and given the current market they are more apt to do a lease/option situation. Sheldon Salnick
Contact a local Real Estate office as they will be able to direct you to listings that may are willing give you an option to buy. Also you can research the newspaper as many people advertise lease options in the newspaper.
Century 21 Infinity