Elaine and Barry have summed it up. Most Sellers aren't going to even consider it....they want to sell. Those that do, are usually preying on the person with poor credit or no down payment, either demanding non refundable money up front or a much higher than usual rent price with a small portion going to down payment. Either way they are coming out ahead, getting their money up front, knowing the likelihood of the tenant ever being able to buy is low.
There are 2 types "lease option" where you pay now for the "option" of buying later. The price is not necessarily determined now. It merely means the Seller can't sell to anyone else until your option runs out. Then you either buy and the lump sum up front goes towards your down payment (not your monthly rent). The other is a "lease purchase" where you agree now on a price and when you have to buy (usually 6 mos. to a year) Again they may ask for money up front or a higher than normal rent with only the additional amount going towards down payment.
If you had the money up front it would be better to save it and work on your credit score or in the second case pay an average rent and start saving the additional amount you would be paying in a "lease purchase" and work on your credit.
If Credit is not the issue, and down payment is, I suggest looking into the First Time Home Buyer programs. There is some grant money or interest free loans to help with down payment in some areas. It's important to speak with lenders that are familiar and approved for these programs. You should be working on getting some down payment saved. Going into a home with no down payment and no funds for repairs is what got many into their housing problems.
First Step speak with a lender to see what you can comfortably qualify for or how to fix your credit. Second step interview full time professional agents and find one you are comfortable with and willing to work with you long term. This way you can be learning and following the market so that you will be ready when all your "ducks are in order."
I feel an informed client makes the best decisions regarding their real estate needs. Let me know if I can be of assistance.
Broker Associate, GRI, SFR, NHS
Real Estate Consulting, Marketing & Sales
Prudential Tropical Realty
2539 Countryside Blvd #3 Clearwater, FL 33761