Ignore Steve's reply because the answer is 100% wrong. In a Rent To Own situation, you will be required to sign a contract with the owner / seller which states you will need to pay an upfront deposit (typically 20 - 30% of the purchase price). This is NOT the same as a down payment. A down payment is a payment to the seller to show that you are a serious buyer and where you are buying the home within 1 - 3 months (no renting involved).
In addition to the upfront deposit, the contract will state that you are required to pay a monthly rent + a monthly premium amount which goes towards the down payment. The upfront deposit goes towards the purchase price. The term of the lease is typically 1 - 3 years. When the lease is finished, you will be expected to secure financing and buy the home.
Now for the bad news. Rent To Own is a great deal for the seller and a bad deal for the renter (you). The contract you sign states that if you do not buy the home for any reason, the seller will keep all of your money (no refunds). You will lose thousands of dollars if you can't or don't buy this home. You need to think thru the following: Suppose you find a job where you need to live elsewhere? Suppose you don't like the house and want something different? Suppose you can't qualify for a mortgage loan? Suppose you have a medical crisis and can't afford to buy the home?
For all of the above situations, the seller / landlord will keep your money because that is what the contract says. As much as you want to change the contract to benefit you, the seller / landlord will refuse to sign. Bottom line: continue to rent and stay where you are. Work on improving your credit and save plenty of money. Then in a year or two, you will be ready to buy.... more