There are a lot of sellers that are open to a long term lease, it is a way for them to meet their cost while waiting to see if the market makes a dramatic change later, plus some are upside down on their loans. Rental payments will vary according to property type and location. If you call an Agency within the area that you are looking to rent they most offten have a rental agent that is willing to help you locate a property that will fit your needs. They can send you property listings from the local MLS that will give you additional information on the property and allow you to sort through what you feel is best for you.
Hope that this is of some help.
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To add to the last answer, the rental rate will also vary depending on size, location and what is included in the rate. For example, I have a single family home off Carmel road with 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths, an office & a bonus room which is fully furnished. All utilities are included at $2600 per month. There is a discount if you eventually use my services as a Buyer's Agent when you get ready to buy.
Also, some sellers are willing to rent a home that has been on the market for some time in order to offset the mortgage payments. This circumstance will vary from seller to seller and a REALTOR can ask the listing agent about this possibility.
Are you sure you need to rent? I have helped many 1st time buyers get into a home who have taken advantage of the $8000 Tax Rebate. This Rebate comes to you at no charge in the form of a check. You can use it any way you desire - pay down a car loan, student loans, buy furniture, etc. You do not have to pay it back as long as you stay in the home at least 3 years. There are other details I'd be happy to explain to you. If you need additonal information or assistance, just let me know.
Marsha Gillis RE/MAX Executive Realty email@example.com
I have a condo in Southpark for rent, $775/month, which you may purchase now or later. The MLS has houses listed for rent. If you send me your email address, then I will send you the listings. Also, you can look on TR Lawing's website for rentals. I think that the Charlotte Observer publishes rentals- used to on Saturdays. Sometimes a seller has lease purchase listed in the MLS indicating that they would rent to buy. The rental price is based on the seller's mortgage and the market rate for rentals in that neighborhood.