How do I find rent to own homes in my area?

Asked by sacramentovegan, Sacramento, CA Thu Jan 24, 2013

We walked from a home about a year ago by choice - the bank refused to work with us. We love where we are renting now, but I do realize the money doesn't go towards anything. Saving up a huge down payment is tough. Rent to own seems like a good option.

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Maria Cipoll…, Agent, Coral Springs, FL
Sat Sep 7, 2013

Your first step should be shopping around for a mortgage broker that can explore all your finances and advice you properly. If he/she can provide you with a pre approval letter for mortgage, you know that now you can be able to buy a home instead of rent to own.

This first step is very important because if you do not qualify for a mortgage now, probably you can not qualify for a mortgage a year from now. Getting into a lease with option to purchase will require that you leave a deposit that it is not refundable if you do not qualify to buy the property at the end of this contract.

If you still decided to do a lease with option to buy, hire an attorney to review and advice you before you sign any agreement.

Best of Luck,

Maria Cipollone
5 votes
Excellent advice! Yes, have a qualified Loan Officer review your financial picture first.
Flag Wed Jan 1, 2014
jsnider39, , 44857
Sun Nov 3, 2013
try zero down government home loan USDA almost all mortgage company's know about programs available to assist you.
3 votes
Did you find a site that didn't require money down from a credit debit or prepaid card did u?
Flag Tue Dec 9, 2014
Did u find any site that u didn't have to put money down on first or at all would be better
Flag Tue Dec 9, 2014
Patrick O'Ha…, Agent, Citrus Heights, CA
Fri Jan 25, 2013
I agree with the questions raised by my fellow agents
A lease opton or rent to own is comparable to sitting down at a card
table at your local casino. You put money up now (and over a period
of time) betting that you can purchase at a future point and the seller
(the house) bets they are making a better deal(the best being you
or more in 4 years, the seller is betting it won't be worth that much---
truthfully the option price they agree to is going to be influenced by
their idea of what it will be worth in 4 years---they aren't going to be
willing to give up all of "their" appreciation.
Just remember the rule for sitting at the table----don't put more money
on the table than you are comfortable in losing.
3 votes
Teri Andrews…, Agent, Auburn, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Rent to own on the surface sounds ideal, but the reality in most cases is quite the opposite. Usually there is non refundable option money involved (thousands of dollars) so if you have that money you probably have a down payment.

I pulled some data off a site that lists "lease to own homes" see what you think:

Lease Option Details Rent = $1,580 Rent Credit Towards Purchase = $260
Option Payment = $8,450
Option Price = $169,000…

Lease Option Details Rent = $1,495 Rent Credit Towards Purchase = $300
Option Payment = $12,000
Option Price = $185,000…

In my opinion the option prices are high for these homes.

You might be able to find an owner financing situation, but usually that requires 25% or more down and they will look at your credit too, seeing as you walked away by choice they too may decide not to take the risk with you.

Save what you can until you can buy again and get a fresh start.
2 votes
Jill LaKomy, Agent, Roseville, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Hi Sacramentovegan,
I can refer you to a great company. I agree with the other agents below, it's good to be cautious as there are many scams out there. I would also exhaust all of your efforts to find out if you have any other options before deciding to rent as you are aware is not the best use of your money. I can recommend a couple of good places to start. Feel free to give me a call and I'd love to help you in finding the best option for you.

Kind Regards,

Liliana Ghiurau
Realtor At Jill Lakomy & Associates
Keller Williams Realty
DRE: 01898915
2 votes
James Tan, Agent, elk grove, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Sue is right, I could not agree with her more. More often than not, lease option benefits the seller/landlord. Because they get a higher rent, the tenants take better care of the property and most of the time, the buyer will not exercise the option, because the strike (purchase) price is higher than the market price.

You should explore outright purchase, nowadays FHA has programs for lower FICOs even in the low 600s.

However, if you are sure about pursuing lease option programs, go with a reputable company. Waypoint homes is such as company, started by hedge fund managers. They bought hundreds or even thousands of homes rehab them and rent them out with a lease option. http://(

Hope that helps,

James Tan
Bethany Real Estate and Investments
2 votes
Ron Rovtar, Agent, Boulder, CO
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Hi sacramentovegan:

There are a number of websites that can be found by googling "rent to own" or "lease to own." I cannot recommend any as particularly good and you should definitely be careful to check out anyone you contact through any internet website. There are lot of scams out there involving real estate! Whatever you do, I suggest you visit no properties unless you have someone to go with you, perhaps more than one person. And always have an attorney look over the lease/own agreement and explain it to you. I will be money well spent. If nothing else, it will give you some peace of mind. I also agree with Ramona that a local property management company may have some ideas or even some listings for you to look at.

Good luck!

2 votes
Sue Archer R…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Rent to own is a good option...for the sellers, in most cases. It consists of three elements- a standard rental agreement, specifying rent, terms and timeframe, A purchase agreement that defines at what price you could purchase the home for, and an option agreement.

The option agreement most commonly lists a nonrefundable amount of money that you give to the homeowner for the RIGHT to buy the home during a specified period of time, and at a specified price. If you do not exercise your option within that timeframe they do not need to honor any purchase agreement and can keep your money. This is similar to a stock option.

If the homes go up in value then you might, as the buyer/tenant, assume that you can buy the home at a less expensive price, having secured the property while trying to save for your downpayment money, or improve your credit. If the homes go down in value, then you probably won't exercise the option and be out the option money. In either case, the seller feels that the tenant/buyer will keep the home in better condition as they hope to own it one day....thus being a better tenant.

If you don't have to put up a significant amount for the option it might be worth the risk, but often is not. There are lots of things you should do to investigate the property, the ownership rights, etc. before you hand them a check.
2 votes
Kylee Roe, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
I am not a fan of rent to own. Not at all! There are some homes on Craigslist that are advertised as rent to own to directly answer your question.

To give you a small, beginners amount of knowledge--rent to own only benefits the seller. The buyer is required to put down an amount of money (called an OPTION) that is NOT refundable, should you not be able to purchase the home.

You will be given an amount of time, 1-5 years--the shorter the better for the seller, so that's what they go for--to refinance the home into a loan in your name. If you can't complete the terms of the purchase, you LOSE your option money and the home is returned to the landlord (i.e., the seller).

Why not contact a reputable lender, like Vitek, and run your credit and see what you qualify for in a purchase scenario. Or, if you don't qualify, at least you'll know what work has to be done on your credit to purchase. Chances are, if you can't purchase in the next two or three years, that rent-to-own seller is going to make alot of money off of you.

GOOD LUCK. Choose smart, and get a Real Estate attorney to review any rent to own contracts.
Web Reference:
2 votes
Harold Lear, Agent, San Diego, CA
Thu Jun 12, 2014
If your looking to purchase and don't have the down payment This just might be an answer that can help...
We have a lease option program we call it Mortgage Alternative Program... This is how ours works...Minimum fico 500, 50% Debt to Income Ratio, 5% to 10% down, determined by your credit score... You find a home up to $2,000,000 that you would like to purchase... We will purchase that home for Cash... The lease payment is based on a 5% interest rate... You will have 6 years to exercise your option to purchase... The purchase price will increase 1% per year... We have a website that has a PowerPoint presentation that will give you all the details. look under services.
or you can reach me at 858-945-1047.
1 vote
Jim Simms, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Louisville, KY
Fri Jan 25, 2013
If you think your last mortgage holder was hard to work with just wait until you try to pay off a rent to own contract. The mortgage underwriter MUST follow the rules and they will NOT match what you and the seller put in a contract. This is one of the reasons I have NEVER paid off a lease to own contract for a “buyer” in the last 20 plus years. See the link below.

Good luck,

Jim Simms
NMLS # 6395
Financing Kentucky One Home at a Time
1 vote
Karen and Pa…, Agent, Cameron Park, CA
Mon Dec 7, 2015
I have always looked at the seller taking more risk but it looks like it goes both ways after reading a few of the post here. Personally I see lease options as a lose - lose game anyways. Usually I hear buyer wanting to rent to own because they don't want to throw aways their hard earned money but they don't know how it really works. Buyer/seller agree on a sales price. That sticks even if the market goes up or down. There is a hefty non refundable deposit given to the seller. $8000-$12000 as stated below. The entire rent does not go to the down payment, only a portion of it. $200-$300 depending on the agreement. After a year that is only $2400 -$3600. That's not much. I deal with plenty of investment properties and every tenant wants to buy the property and not once has any of them come through. In reality they don't have the money, credit or even interest to own. They usually just don't want to have to move. I can see the ambition to want to own but unless you are living well below your means and can save a lot of money in a short time lease options are just flat out risky. If the buyer walks the seller is out of a sale but gets the deposit. If the market went up they can sell for more $$$. If it goes down they lose $$$ or re rent it out. Buyer loses the deposit, seller hasn't sold the house, ect.
0 votes
Annrose Vire…, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Mon Mar 2, 2015
Can you hepl i need a realtor in rancho cordova ca who deals in rent to own.need a contact number for them.
0 votes
strawboss1, Home Buyer, Rogue River, OR
Sat Feb 14, 2015
1429 AVE D Snohomish, WA 98290 MY PHONE IS 509-860-0472. This is the first time we have been looking for a rent to own. I'm James G. Straw father and he's not sure how or who to contact My name is James W. Straw and I'm just trying to help him and his lady find a fixer upper my phone is 360-580-3739 and I live in Congress, Arizona.
0 votes
Kevin Johnson, Agent, Orlando, FL
Sat Jan 17, 2015
I couldn't disagree more with my fellow agents. Yes, there are many programs out there that don't benefit the tenant/prospective buyers. However, just like with anything, there are good ones and bad ones. At Century 21 Roo Realty, we partner with a very reputable investor who helps people like you transition from renting back into owning. We get you approved through the program first. Then, we go house shopping! Once we find the house you like, our investor will buy it and lease it back to you with a right to purchase option. It is an amazing program and I have helped over two dozen families get back on the path to homeownership with this program. If you want to learn more, give me a call at 407-579-7878 (cell) or 321-250-5222 (direct office). You can also email me via kevin(at)

Whatever you do, do your research and find a trusted partner in a REALTOR.

0 votes
Do you have any colleagues who have similar programs in southern New Jersey?
Flag Wed Jun 21, 2017
papagolf65@y…, Home Buyer, Palmyra, PA
Thu Jan 15, 2015
would like to speak with a realtor about renting to own a home and see what we can do.
0 votes
Paul Davidson, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Wed Jan 7, 2015
Just in case you need to fill out Lease Agreement form, I found a blank form in this link This site PDFfiller also has several real estate forms that you might find useful.
0 votes
Bramaraonec, Home Buyer, Sacramento, CA
Sat Dec 13, 2014
0 votes
Shelly Long, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Sun Jun 29, 2014

I just had clients ask about this and I always recommend they speak with a Real Estate Attorney before considering something like this. It is EXTREMELY RISKY for you, with little risk for the Seller/Owner. You can easily locate Real Estate Attorneys online or on Yelp. It is always BEST to know this laws and how you are (or aren't!) protected when it comes to these types of business deals.

A better idea would be to work with a loan officer, or a local credit repair company, and work towards repairing your credit so that you can buy with a traditional mortgage.

Good luck,
Shelly Long
0 votes
Kellie glenn, Home Owner, Cleveland, OH
Fri Jun 6, 2014
I am going through a foreclosure and a bankruptcy currently, what is my best bet to find housing?
0 votes
julielotten, Both Buyer And Seller, Reno, NV
Thu May 8, 2014
Yes, it is a good option for many people.

You can try www rentownhomelist dot com .

They are mostly on the West coast in CA, NV, WA and ID . And some in other parts of the US.
0 votes
Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Thu Feb 27, 2014
So Mike & Lucy, I am curious - putting your personal assumption "Top 5 Reasons, blah blah List" aside, just who you are trying to educate by resurrecting this 1+ year old question????

Is it the agents below who, according to you "mean well" but don't really know what they are talking about, as it is "way outside their box"????? (not too condescending).........., or........the consumer who asked the question in the first place, over a year ago?

I don't think you accomplished either of those potential objectives.........

Wonder if the poster tried the "rent/option" route and, if so, how well it worked for him.

There is a common thread that runs through all of the forums online where consumers ask about these kind of "rent to own" arrangements.....they usually share similar situations:

1. they are desperate to own a home and stop "paying rent"......they want to buy, even if they can't currently buy in the traditional way

2. they are on some kind of financial thin ice - maybe have little or no savings, or more often, poor credit...too much debt, etc......and cannot qualify for a loan

3. they are misinformed and think that rent-option simply means they pay rent and then, at the end of the lease, all the rent is applied to the purchase..... they buy the home, and all is right with the world.

Very few of them understand, when they first ask about it, that they could possibly, and very likely, lose that option money and "extra" rent they will be asked to pay over and above the normal rent. .
They also don't realize they will have an extremely limited number of homes from which to choose as most sellers who want to sell, and CAN sell, sell now not later.

The companies or individuals who offer these kind of (schemes) I mean arrangements, are not looking to help humanity - they are looking to help themselves make money. my humble opinion, consumers NEED the agents - who responded below with advice and caution - to spell out exactly what the potential dangers and pitfalls might be with arrangements like that!

Thumbs up to them from me!
0 votes
Debbie, I'll answer what I can but I don't expect you to change your opinion.
I answered the question because it's relevant, and a client had read it.
It was written to whoever feels it applies to.
It may be taken as condescending but that's not the intention. If an agent knows what they are doing, they won't feel that way. If they don't know and are willing to learn or feel the need to learn, they won't feel that way.
I didn't address the "why's" so I'll just say that that is a hugely inadequate list of reasons. Also, any client that is "misinformed" or don't understand anything, that's on the agent.
The terms you state are no longer standard. Often the rent is market rent. The Option Consideration can be protected by negotiating specific terms/contingencies such as appraisal. There are so many things that can be negotiated, so to put a lease option in a "box" is inaccurate.
I do agree that they NEED the agents!
I only hope to enlighten others on the possibilities IF it fits them.
Flag Fri Feb 28, 2014
Mike & Lucy…, Agent, Folsom, CA
Thu Feb 27, 2014
There are a lot of good agents that mean well in advising against lease options. I commend them for trying to help but there are some comments that just don't add up.

Top 5 Reasons Agents Don't Recommend Lease Options:

1. It's way outside their box of how a real estate transaction should look like.
2. They hear the horror stories (never the whole story) and believe them all12 to be true.
3. They want to protect their client but don't know how to in a Lease Option. To be fair, IT IS RISKY and
no one is teaching them!
4. They don't know how to get paid with a lease option. They should get paid, it's their license and their
brokers license on the line.
5. They don't know how to qualify a buyer/seller as a good lease option candidate.

Again, they mean well and they are right, BE CAREFUL!
0 votes
Simardlyne33, Home Buyer, Sacramento, CA
Tue Sep 3, 2013
Looking to rent to own in the Edmonton, AB area
0 votes
alicehardin94, Home Buyer, Beloit, WI
Sat Jul 27, 2013
I need to rent own where I live there black mold landlord kicked us out because I said what abut the carpet so really fast 30days have 2 small kids
0 votes
ariellonny91, Home Buyer, Sacramento, CA
Mon Jul 15, 2013
is here any rent to own homes is houma
0 votes
Jazz0007, Renter, Jay, OK
Sat Jun 29, 2013
All these answers are good. I get why lease to own is a risky but when renting you're knowingly throwing away tens of thounds of dollars with absolutely no chance of eventually purchasing.
0 votes
Keisha Mathe…, Agent, Elk Grove, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
You can also check and search your city and desired area with key words "rent to own".

Hope that helps!

Keisha Mathews, REALTOR®
CDPE®, HRC®, HAFA® Certified
"The Short Sale Lady"
Century 21 Landmark Network
(916) 370-1803 cell/direct
(916) 405-3886 fax
lic#: 01439130
0 votes
Jed Setzer, Agent, Sacramento, CA
Thu Jan 24, 2013
Hi Sactovegan. give me a call or send me an email. I enjoy working with families. Rent-to-own may be a good option for you, but it may not be the best. Lets meet and look at all of the variables and develop a strong plan together.
0 votes
Ramona Miley, Agent, Dothan, AL
Thu Jan 24, 2013
In some areas you can check with the property management division of a Real Estate company or just check under Property Management for your area on line.
0 votes
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