Rentals in Raleigh>Question Details

Andrea Foster, Other/Just Looking in Raleigh, NC

what are the pros and cons for rent to own?

Asked by Andrea Foster, Raleigh, NC Fri May 4, 2012

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Margaret Horst Kathryn Krieger’s answer
At first glance, rent to own seems like a win-win proposition. A seller who can't sell his home now gets rent payments to continue making his mortgage obligation, with the eventual goal of selling the house to the tenant. A buyer who can't buy right now - whether because he can't get a loan for some reason or because he doesn't have a down payment now - has a great place to live while he works on whatever the problem happens to be. Sometime in the future - in a year or two - he will just get a mortgage and will own the house without even having the hassle of moving again. Win-win, right?

The reality is that fewer than 10% of rent to own agreements result in a successful sale of the property. Many real estate brokers will tell you that they have NEVER seen it happen. Usually what happens is that at the end of the rental period, the tenant still cannot qualify for a mortgage (or still does not have a down payment), and moves out leaving the seller with an empty (sometimes trashed) house, no sale, and no ongoing rental income. Or the seller pockets all the rent and any other payments made by the tenant and does not make his mortgage payment, letting the house go into foreclosure and leaving the tenant to be evicted by the bank.

Despite these almost overwhelming odds, rent to own CAN be structured to work for both sides, but it must be done carefully, and it won't work for everyone. Call me for a personal consultation if you want more information.

Margaret Horst
Real Estate Broker
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012

Great question.

Seller Financing, Lease Option or rent to own

Seller financing sounds like a great idea, but is it?

A few things to think about and look at.

First the Seller:
Before the Seller can take back a note or Finance the sale of the home, they must OWN IT OUT RIGHT and not have any mortgage on that home. Why? In most cases it is called the "due-on-sale" clause. What this is if the owner of a home has a mortgage he can SELL that home home unless he pays off HIS mortgage.

When the OWNER or Seller does not have a mortgage on the property and has clear title, then they can sell it as they wish. and YES Seller Financing or Owner Financing.

The Buyer:

Selling financing sounds like a wonderful idea. It can be too. This past 3-4 years I have talked a dozen or so seller financed opportunities. Each seller wanted $10,000+ as down payment. For most ppl that is just not possible. no matter what the terms of loan are. Not to mentioned the agreed value or what the seller wanted to sell the house for was WAY over priced.

Lease Option or Rent to Own:

Again sounds like a wonderful opportunity for a buyer. Low down payment and a portion of the monthly rent goes to the down payment of the home. Or so the theory goes.

Here are the challenges: 1) the rent must be fair market value for rent in that area and in a separate check. Not one check and a portion goes to the down payment. When the renter goes to applies for a loan, an appraisal will be done to determine the value of the home. If the Rental value is not fair market the the appraiser may say that additional money that was thought to go to down payment May have to go to rent payment. And if the payment was in ONE check, all of that amount may have to be credited to the rental payment as there was no way to separate the rental portion from the down payment portion of the amount paid.

2) The loan Appraiser will determine the value of the home based on several criteria and if the value is less then what the seller and renter agreed upon, the appeaser wins. SO the seller will have to adjust is sales price so the renter / buy can get a loan. In most cases Seller Finance homes or Lease Option homes are way over priced.

This does not mean that a FSBO and Seller financing can't work out for the buyer. However, our over 15 year experience has shown us this is not the case. Single family homes, the buyer can do better through conventional purchase and finance.

Land, farms and commercial properties are many time sold through Seller financing.

We have great opportunities for buyers. from New Home communities with great financing too 100% financing for homes up to $220,000. ( Of course pre-qualifications are needed)

However if you are looking for an "Owner financed / Lease with Option to purchase" may I suggest the following:


1. Ask the owner if they own the home? If they are the so called Partner of the owner, walk away as the offer may be a scam. A Lic Realtor conducting the offer for the Owner is a BIG PLUS.

2. Is there a mortgage on that home?

3. Agree on a price for the home and understand that price could go up or down at the time you buy.

4. Never go longer then 12 to 18 months before you buy.

5. Understand that you need two checks each month; 1 for the fair market value of rent and 2 for the down payment

6. Get your credit in order. Clean up any deficiencies. To get a bank loan one will need 12 months of three clean lines of credit.


1. Give BIG down payments.

2. Talk to anyone other then the owner or the Realtor. Talking to "Partners" is a RED flag

3. Mortgage and Contract assignments MAY be illegal ( Clause 14 or the due on sale clause ) BIG RED FLAG. Run do not walk away

Contact us for more information. We will be happy to help
Tom 919-434-4100

Read my blog about Lease Options and buying is better then renting…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012
The cons outweigh the pros. If you default on the loan, the seller can foreclose on you without question. If you go with a mortage for a house, you have a greater chance of talking with the bank, and working something out. Very few if any laws to protect you as a buyer in a land purchase contract. Before you do this, contact a real estate lawyer. I am sure you will change your mind once you hear from them. If you decide to not purchase, everything you put down, stays with the seller.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Aug 27, 2012

First you need to find a rental. The the very low vacancy rate, their are few Rentals in Raleigh / Cary Wake Forest.

Second, Mortgage loans interest rates are so low, that renting almost makes no scene.

If your credit challenged, work with a lender who will help you through those challenges.

Good Luck

PS I had three rentals go in under 12 hours with listing them and two more go without being listed, just word of mouth.

( hint Three more rentals coming Up Oct 1 2012. )

1. Mid Town, 1850 sq ft 4 bedroom 3bath home. 2 car car port
2. East Raleigh / Hedingham / Knightdale area 1700 sq ft 4 bedroom 2.5 bath town home.
3. Wake Forest 1600 sq ft 3 bedroom 2.5 bath with one car garage town home. BRAND NEW CONSTRUCTION.

Send me an email with your name and telephone number to get on the list.

Details on each home Early Sept.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 14, 2012
There are many pros to buying - if you want to live in an area for more than 2 years (to avoid capital gains taxes) and really want to have your own space, it's time to buy! There are tons of homes out there marked below their tax value, and if you know of an area or are thinking of a few please send me an email at If you don't have what you feel is a great credit score, you might just be wrong - there are still tons of options about buying and sometimes you only need a 600 credit score! Let me know if you have more questions, and I have answers! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jul 27, 2012
pros you get a house. cons, if you decide not to buy it you loose money and the seller is annoyed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012
Some states do not like this and is not legal.
Why because the original owner can file bankruptcy and you are stuck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri May 4, 2012
Thanks for letting me know. I had no clue it was not legal.
Flag Fri May 4, 2012
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