The mortgage holder can usually initiate foreclosure at a time specified in the mortgage documents, typically some period of time after a default condition occurs. In the United States, Canada and many other countries, several types of foreclosure exist. In the US for example, two of them – namely, by judicial sale and by power of sale – are widely used, but other modes are possible in a few other U.S. states.
There is an alternative, however: a rent-to-own agreement, in which you rent a home for a certain amount of time, with the option to buy it before the lease expires. Rent-to-own agreements consist of two parts: a standard lease agreement and an option to buy. Here’s a rundown of what to watch for and how the rent-to-own process works. It's more complicated than renting and you'll need to take extra precautions to protect your interests. Doing so will help you figure out whether the deal is a good choice if you're looking to buy a home.
Depending on the terms of the contract, you may be responsible for maintaining the property and paying for repairs. Usually, this is the landlord's responsibility, so read the fine print of your contract carefully. Because sellers are ultimately responsible for any homeowner association fees, taxes and insurance (it’s still their house, after all), they typically choose to cover these costs. Either way, you’ll need a renter’s insurance policy to cover losses to personal property and provide liability coverage if someone is injured while in the home or if you accidentally injure someone.
Unlike in the United States, where a foreclosure means the end of the line, the foreclosure hearing in Spain is just the beginning of the homeowner’s troubles. They will have to work for the bank for many years and will be unable to ever own anything—even a car. Spanish mortgage holders are responsible for the full amount of the loan to the bank in addition to penalty interest charges, and court fees. Much of this can be attributed to Spain having the highest unemployment rate in the “euro zone.” Unlike in the US, bankruptcy is not an adequate solution since mortgage debt is specifically excluded. Unlike other European countries, you cannot go to the courts for any sort of debt relief. There has been much contention over these policies in the Spanish Parliament but the government is convinced that keeping these policies will prevent Spanish banks from ever experiencing something similar to the US mayhem.[50] With repossessed real estate properties on their books worth about €100 billion the banks in Spain are eager to get rid of foreclosures.[51]
Depending on the terms of the contract, you may be responsible for maintaining the property and paying for repairs. Usually, this is the landlord's responsibility, so read the fine print of your contract carefully. Because sellers are ultimately responsible for any homeowner association fees, taxes and insurance (it’s still their house, after all), they typically choose to cover these costs. Either way, you’ll need a renter’s insurance policy to cover losses to personal property and provide liability coverage if someone is injured while in the home or if you accidentally injure someone.
A further rationale is that under the principle of freedom of contract, if debtors wish to enjoy the additional protection of the formalities of judicial foreclosure, it is their burden to find a lender willing to provide a loan secured by a traditional conventional mortgage instead of a deed of trust with a power of sale. Courts have also rejected as frivolous the argument that the mere legislative act of authorizing or regulating the nonjudicial foreclosure process thereby transforms the process itself into state action.[13]
As the end of the rent-to-own contract nears, it’s a smart idea to address any minor problems that the home inspection turned up. It’s also a good idea to make small cosmetic improvements and upgrades as needed, if possible, to help increase the value of the home prior to applying for a mortgage loan. It’s called sweat equity … and it can make a big difference when it’s time to negotiate favorable mortgage loan terms.
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