i had a presentation at an office sales meeting one month ago where we were pitched on this investor group that buys REO foreclosures, improves the property and streamlines the rent to own scenario. They only buy in well regarded school districts and have 5 year contract in which at any time you can do the buy out option at a predetermined price. i beleive it had a 5% escalation every year so there is incentive to buy it at your earliest convenience, but you can treat it as a straight rental or exercise the option. I can check to see what they have going on in Gurnee. Plus if they know they have an interested party, they will act as the buyer on the house you like and rent it back to you.
Before the presentation never heard of such a thing and would have agreed with other agents, that rent to own on a case by case basis is hard, seller has no incentive and seller not sohisticated as to figure out what to price it at for a future 1-5 years hence. They are doing this in Las Vegas and CA, expanding to IL and most havent heard of them, but seems legit.