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Asked by Jojogreer07, Columbus, GA Fri May 24, 2013

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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Sat May 25, 2013
With all due respect to the answers here (from very good, knowledgeable people on Trulia), I disagree.

First, what you'd be paying is not a downpayment. It's an option fee: The right to buy the property at some point if you choose. That fee might be credited to the downpayment or to the purchase price...if you choose to buy. You generally lose it if you don't buy.

Second, it might or might not be large. I've done lease-options with no money. Really. More often, the amount is in the range of 2%-5% of the purchase price of the home. Any more than that, and you're risking too much money. Besides, you probably have enough for a conventional downpayment. If you're within about 6 months of sufficiently cleaning up your credit, it makes more sense to buy conventionally.

Bill is correct (and you can see it in the recommendations of the others) that agents generally don't like lease-options. It's a lot riskier for the seller who really wants to sell. Only about 30%-50% of all lease-options ever result in sales. (The numbers are difficult to come up with, but I've never heard anyone suggest it's above 50%.) And from an agent's financial standpoint, they often don't get paid until the sale occurs. So--understandably--if you tell an agent: "There's only a 30% chance you'll get a commission from this transaction. And if you do, it may be 3-5 years," most won't be happy.

So why would a seller agree to a lease-option, especially with little down? Lots of reasons. They were thinking about renting, but now might be able to get even more in monthly income plus some cash up front. Or they'd really like to sell, but can't find anyone to buy. (That worked better a few years ago, but still applies in some areas to some properties.) They want to keep renting the property, though they're open to selling, but they're tired of plain renters not taking care of the property. And there are plenty of other reasons, too. I wrote a blog on how to find lease-options; some of it explains the situations in which sellers are willing to consider lease-options. See

Hope that helps.
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Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Sat May 25, 2013
Not only will a downpayment be required, it will be sizable!
The downpayment is the secret ingredient that makes 'lease/option' work.
You may find great benefit in consulting with a few profesionals in this business to idetify what your options are and the situations that would best accomidate your needs and resources.

Attempting to circumvent the protections integrated into the home buying and selling process can prove costly.

Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, Fl
727.420. 4041
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Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Sat May 25, 2013
Lease purchase or rent to own usually includes placing a deposit for the purchase part along with the first month rent and a 1 month security. Lease purchase is for someone who can get a loan now, but needs to time to save the down payment and closing costs or for some one who needs a year to clear something for their credit under guidance of a loan officer. You may have trouble finding a lease purchase without any money.
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Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sat May 25, 2013
Gerald is on the mark with his response! Most agents wouldn't refer their customer a potential lease to own buyer with little to no money down. You are expecting the seller to embrace a great deal of risk with nothing to fall back on should things go sour.

Additionally, since attorneys normally draw up these legal documents, I can't imagine one advocating for the seller recommending this arrangement.

Keeping it real....

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Davidson Sau…, Agent, Columbus, GA
Sat May 25, 2013
You place yourself in the shoes of an owner and ask those questions. Would you as the owner lease your home to a stranger with little to no money down? There's just too much risk there for any owner to consider this as a valid offer. An offer needs to be fair on both sides of the deal in oder to make it happen.
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