Mac and David have provided you exceptional guidance.
There are many reasons people consider Lease to Own as a viable pathway to homeonwership. Often the prevailing reason is exactly like yours.....poor credit score.
Now, let me be frank with you. I have represnted investors whose business plan IS lease/options.
I've represented home owners who found lease options provided a true solution for their situation.
Other sellers find portional seller financing another option. All of these are real solutions to home seller and buyer obstacles. Each also are highly profitable to the OWNER. Did I mention HIGHLY PROFITABLE?
Too many buyers see lease options as a means of circumventing the protections that are in place for their benefit. Rather than investing in the disapline required to fix their credit,,,they think they see a short cut. This temptation will prove to be costly if you suscumb to the siren call. Don't do it!
The entire business plan of an advertised lease opton is the seperate you from that big chunk of cash and allow you to make their mortgage payment, maintain the home, even update the home, while the investor/owner insure you maintain NO control or equitable interest in the property.
Lease/options CAN be a solution to some situations. However, you would be well advised to consult with a multi-dimensional real estate professional who can assess your situation and MATCH you to the right solution. If you blunder into these agreements unrepresented, you will be pillaged and plundered.
As Mack and David suggest, if at all possible, you should choose to develop the disapline of controlling your expenses, increasing your income, reducing your debt and making timely payments. In the long run (18 months) you willl be a much better and authorative position. The outcome will be worth the effort.
Consider contacting a local lender who has a track record of investing in the community through small business and home loans. With their guidance, you can be put on a credit restoration plan that will have you 'Good to Go' with a home purchase sooner rather than later. You will notice all the "F" graded lenders are the Big Banks. Choose a local lender to consult.
Best of success,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL