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Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

I bought my house that way, but it was structured so there were huge incentives to buy and equally huge disincentives not to buy.  I bought, the market went up dramatically during the time I was renting, and the contract had the seller adding a big chunk to increase my non-refundable earnest money every month.  And it meant we were paying way below market rent while we were tenants. It worked out a lot better for us than it did for the seller!

Aug 22, 2016 07:32 AM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Solutions - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Run, Forrest, Run


Aug 22, 2016 06:03 AM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

These hardly ever close. Not the best course for either party.

Aug 22, 2016 08:00 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Chrissi Chapman Topoleski When I see a lease-to-own, I think of a lease purchase contract agreement. This is where a contract is written on a property with a specific closing date on a specified future date. The terms are such that the purchaser pays the owner on a monthly basis with a negotiated amount can be applied to the downpayment, etc. There is no backing out of this offer because it is a ratified contract.

The other case is a rent with an option where the property is leased for a specific period of time and at the end of this period, the tenant has the first right of refusal to purchase the property. Should the option be exercised, the additional funds are applied to the purchase. Should the tenant not exercise the option, they will lose the negotiated option funds.

Under certain circumstances, both can work and benefit the seller/landlord or a seller/tenant.

Aug 22, 2016 05:44 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

I do not recommend it.  Some clients I have nearly screamed and stomped my feet (total exaggeration) ... NO ... don't do it. 

Aug 22, 2016 05:25 AM
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
The most important home I sell is YOURS!

NO!  Don't do it!  No matter which side you are on!

Aug 22, 2016 05:18 AM
Harry Norman, REALTORS® - Atlanta, GA
Associate Broker

Not very popular in my area.

Aug 22, 2016 09:57 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

That it's not in their best interests to pursue it.

Aug 22, 2016 05:54 AM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

I seldom do since they don't want to listen

Aug 22, 2016 10:30 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Be very careful and know there are risks. It sounds good on the front end but so many questions need to be addressed like repairs, property tax, time delays, penalties, etc. 

Aug 22, 2016 01:38 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Can work as in Patricia Kennedy 's example, and Michael Setunsky also gave you a good answer.  You have to really know your numbers, and I would recommend that they would have someone like an accountant review it.  A

Aug 22, 2016 12:58 PM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

Don't do it unless you're serious. Lay all your cards on the table face up and explain to seller why you want or need to do a lease to own. That means meeting with a loan officer, and having a letter from the loan officer explaining how and when buyer will be qualified to get a mortgage when it's time to actually buy. Show your credit report, bank statements, job history, etc. There are legitimate reasons to lease to own, like maybe you did a short sale and need to wait another 6+ months to get a mortgage. Maybe you need more time at your current job?, etc.

Aug 22, 2016 07:49 AM
Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Chrissi - The NY Times ran a very interesting story on this yesterday and highlighted many of the ways scammers have moved into this market. Our advice has always been against it.

Aug 22, 2016 07:42 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Run away!

Aug 22, 2016 06:43 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

I do not recommend these transactions.

Aug 22, 2016 09:53 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I do not like them much. I advice them to make sure they know what they are doing and to have an attorney draw up th agreement so as to protect them.

Aug 22, 2016 09:23 PM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

It's risky

Aug 22, 2016 08:38 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

I have never experienced a success story.  Interesting and happy to read of the "happily ever after" story of Patricia Kennedy.   

Aug 22, 2016 08:07 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

I get inquiries on this with my rentals all the time.

Just out of curiosity I ask about their financial position thinking that I may be able to introduce them to my banker and make homeowners out of them.

Then they all reveal that they are not only not only not qualified to buy, but cannot even scrape together enough resources to pay rent and a deposit.

Aug 22, 2016 10:33 AM
Teri Pacitto
Compass - Westlake Village, CA
Real Estate, Your Style...Your Home...My Specialty

It doesn't work for either side.  Rarely would they close.  Not worth the time and effort. 

If they can't afford to buy...they lease.  Have them save their money and when the time comes, they buy what they can afford.  

Aug 22, 2016 08:45 AM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

It rarely, if ever, ends well for buyers.  They pay above average rent so their landlord can "hold" money aside for a down payment.  If they are eventually unable/unwilling to buy that particular property, then they have lost that money.  Why not put the difference in a savings account?  

I have found that people who ask about doing this have poor credit and instead of doing the hard work of getting their credit cleaned up and working with a lender who can help them get there, they want an easy out, which they see in the form of a rent to own.  They still have to get a mortgage at some point. 

Aug 22, 2016 07:15 AM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

See an Attorney.

Aug 22, 2016 06:39 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

Don't do it.  It rarely works out in their interest.

Aug 22, 2016 06:11 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

I'm often asked, but I've never had anyone actually go for it in residential real estate. 

Aug 22, 2016 06:06 AM
Mike Bjork
Evolve Bank & Trust - Redondo Beach, CA

I don't see a lot of these in my area; but those that are done, I believe are done by the Private Investor and Buyer/Leasor.  I think it can be a great way for some to attain purchasing a home, but it can be difficult to explain and for both parties to comprehend because it is used so little.  Essentially, it's another tool in the toolbox for somebody to potentially own a home.

Aug 24, 2016 04:02 AM
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

I say seek legal advice talk to your attorney lease to own is a hot mess to think about. Suggest talk to your attorney 

Aug 24, 2016 12:09 AM
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Not to do it...

Aug 23, 2016 01:17 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

don't do it.

Aug 23, 2016 11:18 AM
Amanda Christiansen
Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843 - Fort Wayne, IN
Christiansen Group Realty

Good luck.  

Aug 23, 2016 10:46 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Generally, not to do it. Rarely see these come to fruition.

Aug 23, 2016 03:01 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

It can work, but lots of caution needs to be exercised.

Aug 23, 2016 02:42 AM
Greg Large
ERA Real Solutions - Grove City, OH
A Tradition of Trust

Not for everybody, but I use all the tools available to me, a matter of knowing when and how to use the tool. Upside and potential pitfalls need to be explained to both parties. Have used it successfully many times. a few times has not worked out as originally planned, things happen.

Aug 23, 2016 12:39 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Get legal advice to start with.  I am not a fan of it but in Patricia Kennedy case it worked out.

Aug 23, 2016 12:07 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Many risks! Have the counsel of a good real estate attorney!

Aug 22, 2016 11:15 PM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Get legal advice and be very careful.  Might be smarter to save for a conventional purchase.

Aug 22, 2016 11:00 PM
Jessie Cochran
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Panama City Realty Group

I tell them to speak with a lender - usually they don't listen and I stop wasting my breath

Aug 22, 2016 10:52 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

I tell them to go see a real estate attorney.

Aug 22, 2016 10:15 PM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Just say no....If the Seller COULD sell they would....and they can't..most starting out upside down is a baaaad place to be.

Aug 22, 2016 10:09 PM
Kathleen Luiten
Resort and Second-Home Specialist - Princeville, HI
Kauai Luxury Ocean Home Sales

If the market is going up it can pay to lock in a price with a lease option, but only if you are very likely to buy.

Aug 22, 2016 07:09 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Chrissi Chapman Topoleski - Why? Why do you want to leave everything to God?

Aug 22, 2016 03:26 PM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

In a seller market I do not see this option.

Aug 22, 2016 01:03 PM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

I ask them if they have ever considered buying a home. Then go from there.  Ours is a Seller's Market and Sellers do not want to delay their payment.

Aug 22, 2016 12:38 PM
Boyd J Campbell
Silver Spring, MD
Managing Broker Century 21 New Millennium

40 years in business 1'000's of transactions and in court once in conjunction with a lease option. Hate em! My advice, buy OR lease as rarely do RWO pan out as intended except in some cases when the seller gets to keep your $$$ wehn you fail to perform. 

Aug 22, 2016 12:26 PM
J.R. Schloemer, CRS
Kentucky Select Properties - Louisville, KY

I just had a client ask about this last week. I told him it is a great way to lose all of his money. I advised he not even think about it to save himself quite a bit of risk that is beyond his control. He decided to to rent.

Aug 22, 2016 12:08 PM
Melissa Jackson
Century 21 Alliance Properties - Azle, TX
Helping You Make The Right Move

Can be a win/win if the contract is properly written & carried out.  

Aug 22, 2016 09:25 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate Agent Retired

It's a hoax & benefits the landlord only when the tenants can't exercise the option to purchase it. Most people can't get their credit in good enough shape in a short time (even a year). So why not just rent? 

Does it make someone more special? more serious? Tenants seem to think so.

Aug 22, 2016 08:12 AM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

Hire a n experienced attorney before signing anything.

Aug 22, 2016 07:01 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

OMG...I adore Mimi Foster 

Aug 22, 2016 06:39 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist


Aug 27, 2016 11:51 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I LOVE Mimi Foster's answer and totally agree with her!

Aug 25, 2016 01:49 PM
Anna Hatridge
R Gilliam Real Estate LLC - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with R Gilliam Real Estate LLC

Use a buyer's agent!

Aug 25, 2016 03:34 AM
Scott W. Johnson
Marindependent Insurance Services LLC - Mill Valley, CA
Insurance Broker-Agent

Dont do it

Aug 25, 2016 01:50 AM
Adam Feinberg
Elegran - Manhattan, NY
NYC Condo, Co-op, and Townhouse specialist

I occassionally get requests from buyers looking for these- though they don't exist in my area (Manhattan). Even if they did exist- I rarely have heard of a lease to own that benefited the buyer.

Aug 24, 2016 08:20 AM
Steve McRory
Pro Option Mtg. 888-662-4404 - Tampa, FL
Mortgage Loan Originator

If it were me, knowing what I know about how to refinance property into borrowers name after 12 to 18 months, using the New Value and structuring with seller concessions, I'd make sure the Lease Option is recorded on the title.

There are multiple reasons for this

Aug 24, 2016 07:17 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Make it happen and it will...

Aug 22, 2016 05:50 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have not heard a good program for the renter as of yet

Aug 28, 2016 02:14 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Had clients looking for a 3 year lease-t- own scenario. Found a seller willing to do it and it closed. It isn't for everyone, only those who are sincere about the final outcome, otherwise don't do it!

Aug 24, 2016 07:26 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

I would say ...Use a an attorney.  Save your money!  Danger Will Robinson, Danger Will Robinson!   Would discourage family and friends... Did my point get made here?

Aug 23, 2016 04:31 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

I think they are completely silly. Isn't liken to seller financing? It is fraught with red flags for both the tenant-prospect-buyer by the landlord-prospect-owner. In my experience, I have learned that all tenants proposing this deal have never made good on their promise to buy as it is a ruse to attempt get a better lease deal. I see them coming a mile away with a BS story.

When I represent a landlord-prospect--owner I usually tell the other side that this is a tenancy agreement, period. When you are ready and willing to buy, let me know and we'll work the details. But for the time being, it's a lease.

Lets call it for what it is.

Aug 23, 2016 12:12 AM
Paul Durry
National Mortgage Field Services - Lawton, OK
Former Broker Associate, CDPE, CIAS, CHMS

I had one mid 2000's, the seller was moving out of the area, the the buyer a lease to own. The buyer moved in ( all was well until) I receive a call one night from a neighbor saying did you know that those people that moved in next door have not been around for a week. They had left in the middle of the night, taking only a few personal items. The seller had bought a new home and thus could not afford 2 mortgages, and had to let the property go back to the bank. So as several have advised RUN, do not walk away!

Aug 23, 2016 12:06 AM
Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

I love rent to own if done correctly. First, the person must see a mortgage professional to determine a plan to get that person ready to obtain financing. Next, negotiate the terms of the rent to own. Do not miss one payment or their will be consequences. Finally, keep tabs with mortgage pro to ensure one is on track to obtain their own financing. What is the buy out price?

Aug 22, 2016 10:47 PM
Marco Giancola
Beachfront Realty - Miami Beach, FL
Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida

Usually "go for it!" Same with owner financing.

Aug 22, 2016 11:07 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

I think you are wasting your precious time.


I worked with a family I had 4 listings from. They can not get any mortgage because of bankrupcy.  A couple of years later I found one and she did not even take any interest.


Aug 22, 2016 09:05 AM