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6 min read Apr 28, 2023

Rent-to-Own Homes: Your Path to Homeownership

Rent-to-own homes are popular for those who want to own a home but can’t afford it through traditional financing. It’s a contractual agreement between a tenant and landlord that allows renting with an option to buy. 

To pursue a rent to own home, you must understand the agreement’s terms, including the option fee and rent credits. We will discuss the pros and cons of rent to own and the types of contracts available in this blog post.

By understanding rent to own homes, you can evaluate whether this type of agreement is right for you.

What is Rent to Own?

A rent-to-own property is one that tenants can rent and later purchase. It works by a tenant paying an option fee upfront, allowing them to buy the property at a set price after a specific rental period. 

Rent payments may include a rent credit, which applies toward the purchase price. Rent-to-own can be an attractive option for those who want to become homeowners but don’t have the means to do so through traditional financing.

Pros and Cons of Rent to Own Homes

Rent-to-own can be an attractive option for those who want to own a home but can’t secure a mortgage. However, like any financial decision, there are pros and cons to consider before deciding if rent-to-own is right for you.

A. Benefits of Rent-to-Own

Some potential benefits of rent-to-own include:

  • Building Equity Over Time: Unlike renting, a portion of each rent payment goes towards building equity in the home.
  • Locking in a Purchase Price: By signing a contract, the home’s price is locked in for the duration of the agreement, protecting you from potential price increases.
  • Test-Driving the Home: Renting the home first can allow you to see if the house fits your needs before committing to a purchase.
  • Time to Improve Credit Score: The rent-to-own period allows time to improve your credit score, improving your chances of obtaining a mortgage loan.

B. Risks of Rent-to-Own

Some potential risks of rent to own include:

  • Potential for Losing Option Fee and Rent Credits: If you don’t exercise the option to purchase the home at the end of the agreement, you could lose the option fee and rent credits you’ve paid.
  • Responsibility for Repairs and Maintenance: While renting, you’re typically not responsible for repairs and maintenance. However, with rent-to-own, you may be responsible for these costs.
  • Higher Overall Cost: Rent-to-own agreements often come with higher overall costs than a traditional mortgage due to fees and interest rates.

Before deciding on rent-to-own, carefully consider both the benefits and risks.

How Does Rent-to-Own Homes Work?

Rent to own is an alternative way of buying a house, where the tenant has the option to buy the property at a later date. Here’s a breakdown of how Rent to own works:

Rental Period and Option to Purchase

  • Tenant and landlord agree on a rental period and a purchase price for the property
  • The tenant pays an option fee upfront to secure the right to buy the property
  • The tenant can buy the property at any time during the rental period
  • If the tenant decides to purchase the property, the option fee will contribute towards the down payment

Explanation of Option Fee and Rent Credits

  • An option fee is a non-refundable fee paid upfront by the tenant, typically ranging from 1-5% of the purchase price
  • Rent credits are a portion of the monthly rent that is applied towards the purchase price, typically ranging from 10-20%

Types of Rent-to-Own Homes Contracts

Rent to own contracts come in different types, each with unique features. Here are the most common types of rent to own contracts:

Lease-Option Contracts 

A lease-option contract is an agreement between the tenant and landlord that allows them to buy the property at a specified price after the rental period ends. This allows the tenant to choose to buy the property.

Lease-Purchase Contracts 

A lease-purchase contract is an agreement between the tenant and landlord that requires the tenant to purchase the property at the end of the rental period. The tenant has no option not to purchase the property.

Contract for Deed Agreements 

The tenant and landlord sign a purchase agreement. The tenant pays rent at a specified price during the rental period. Property ownership passes to the tenant after the payment. This type of rent-to-own contract is also known as a land contract or installment sale agreement.

👉 The type of rent-to-own contract you choose depends on your preference and financial situation. It’s essential to carefully review the contract before making a decision.

Statistics on Rent-to-Own Homes

Rent-to-own contracts have become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly among those who struggle to qualify for a traditional mortgage. Here are some key statistics on rent-to-own:

  • According to a report by ATTOM Data Solutions, rent-to-own home agreements increased by 5% in 2020 compared to the previous year.
  • The same report found that the average rent-to-own agreement lasts for 23 months before the tenant exercises their option to purchase the property.
  • A study by the National Association of Realtors found that roughly 40% of rent-to-own tenants eventually own or purchase the property they are renting.
  • Another report by the Urban Institute found that while rent-to-own agreements often result in a successful purchase, the cost of these agreements can be higher than traditional mortgages, with interest rates that are 1.5 to 2 times higher than the prevailing market rates.
  • In 2018, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a report highlighting concerns about the transparency and fairness of rent-to-own contracts, particularly regarding the disclosure of fees and the risk of eviction for tenants who default on payments.

Despite these concerns, rent-to-own contracts continue to be a popular alternative for those who may not qualify for traditional mortgages or who are otherwise unable to purchase a home through conventional means.


In conclusion, rent-to-own contracts provide a flexible option for those who want to own a property but may not have the resources or credit to do so immediately. By understanding the different types of contracts and their components, renters can make an informed decision and take a step towards homeownership.


Can you provide another term for rent-to-own?

Rent-to-own is also known as lease-to-own or lease-purchase.

What is meant by rent-to-own investment?

Rent-to-own investment involves buying a property to rent it out with a rent-to-own option.

Which is more economical, renting or owning a home?

It depends on various factors, such as location and housing market conditions, but owning a home can often be cheaper in the long run compared to renting.


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