Hey Tony,, yup,, there are still sellers out here that will offer a lease purchase option. There are 2 basic contracts; one is a Lease PURCHASE and the other is a Lease OPTION to Purchase. The difference between the two is with the first, the buyer(s) are signing a purchase contract with a close date 6-12 (or longer) months out vs. the traditional within 30 days close. Buyer will normally put down a specific amount up front as escrow. If they choose to back out of the deal, they lose these funds (provided the contract is written that way). The second is where the buyers put up a Non-refundable (usually under a "no matter what the circumstance" type clause) and lease the home for a specific period of time. If at the end of the lease period, the buyer chooses to move forward with the purchse, the funds put down are credited toward the purchase price. If they choose NOT to purchase, then they forfeit those funds without any recourse of recouping. It protects the seller in the sense that they've taken their property off the market for the lease period time and the option consideration fee guarantees them a compensation for doing that, regardless of whether the buyers purchase or not. At the end of the lease period, in an Option consideration agreement, the buyers have a choice, where in the first agreement, they don't.
In today's current market, some sellers will strongly consider either of these two options in order to keep themself from falling behind in payments and having to be put into a postion where they're forced to sell either as a short sale or even as a foreclosure...
It all comes down to how well the contract is written and how well your realtor understands these buyer options.
Hope this answers your question.
Tina Evans, Broker
Luna Realty Group