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Is a Rent-to-Own Lease Right for You?

Before signing a rent-to-own agreement, it is important to understand how they work in general. These contracts typically include all the usual provisions one might see in a residential lease agreement plus a section or two specifically about purchasing the rental premises. This section will often require the tenant to pay an upfront fee called “option consideration” and in return the tenant receives the option to purchase the premises at the end of the rental term.

Consider Negotiating on the Contract

Next, you need to understand that every rent-to-own agreement is written differently. Some may be missing the standard provisions mentioned above. If this is the case, consider negotiating with the landlord to change parts of the agreement. Although some landlords don’t like to do this, remember your own value. Tenants who sign rent-to-own contracts are great assets for landlords because they are typically agreeing to a longer rental and take better care of the property. Therefore, don’t feel too nervous about insisting on how you want certain provisions to look. After all, this is a big decision for you.

Other Considerations

When determining whether a rent-to-own lease agreement is right for you, consider what your income situation will look like in the future.

  • Do you expect to keep your job, get a raise, or maybe get laid off?
  • Will you be able to consistently make your rental payments on time?
  • How many rental payments will you have to make before you can exercise the purchase option, and are you prepared to live in that location for a long time?

Usually, it is the buyer that will be required to finance the home purchase at the end of the contract term. Will you be able to find financing at that point? What happens if you can’t, and does the agreement say you will get some of your money refunded?