Basically, they are one in the same thing with slight differences.
A lease to purchase option holds the buyer to an obligation to buy the home at the end of the predetermined lease period. One drawbrack is that the predetermined price may be higher than the value of the home when it comes time for the purchase. Also, lease to own generally requires a large downpayment that is forfeited if the purchase is not completed at the time determined. However, lease to own is a good, viable option for someone whose credit is not good enough to qualify for a standard type mortgage loan.
A rent to own agreement has a bit more flexibility. Generally, a predetermined amount of the rent per month is credited to the future buyer as a "down payment" towards the purchase when the time comes to purchase. However, if the purchase does not happen, the renter is not refunded any of the credited amount.
As to better or wiser, it all depends on what the terms of the agreement are to be as to whether or not it is a good and viable option for you. I always advise my clients who are considering either of these as a home purchase option, to hav the contract reviewed by a real estate attorney to determine any legal recourse the buyer/renter may have. I have seen this save my clients thousands of dollars down the road.
If I may be of further assistance, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lauren Rodriguez is licensed in Florida for real estate. Van Wert Real Estate Services, LLC