When some owners put their property up for sale and is having a hard time selling the home because of the current market, they may offer a potential buyer the option to rent the property for a 1 or 2 years and then decide if they want to purchase it. A case in point would be, several new Condo developments in Manhattan where some of the developers are offering potential buyers the option to rent for 1 year and if they decide to buy their or any other apartments in the development, the developer will credit the buyer with 6 - 9 months of their rent as a down payment.
The great thing about this is if you are not sure whether you want to buy or wait to see where the market is, you have some time to think about it. It also allows you the flexibility to make sure you are happy and comfortable with the price they are asking, the neighborhood (crime or lack thereof), transportation, etc. It also gives you time to shop aroud for a mortgage and save for a larger deposit. Each seller is different, so before you commit to this, have you attorney review it carefully.
Licensed Real Estate Agent