Hello Candace. You basically buy an option to buy the property at the end of a set period of time (typically 1-2 years) and in the meantime you are leasing the property. The upside is that you can test the house so-to-speak and use the time to repair your credit if necessary to position yourself to buy at the end of the option period. The downside is that you have to set a price in the beginning without knowing what the value will be at the end. Obviously, you won't exercise the option if the purchase price turns out to be too high. The other potential problem that I see is that you may end up losing your option should the house go into foreclosure during the lease option and I would be cautious and reluctant to put down any sizeable amount. I hope this helps.
I hope this helps!