When the entity (in the US, typically a county sheriff or designee) auctions a foreclosed property the noteholder may set the starting price as the remaining balance on the mortgage loan. However, there are a number of issues that affect how pricing for properties is considered, including bankruptcy rulings. In a weak market, the foreclosing party may set the starting price at a lower amount if it believes the real estate securing the loan is worth less than the remaining principal of the loan. Time from notice of foreclosures to actual property sales depends on many factors, such as the method of foreclosure (judicial or non-judicial).

Conversely, if you decide not to buy the house – or are unable to secure financing by the end of the lease term – the option expires and you move out of the home, just as if you were renting any other property. You’ll likely forfeit any money paid up to that point, including the option money and any rent credit earned, but you won’t be under any obligation to continue renting or to buy the home.

Determine whether you're the type of person who can easily take advantage of a seller's misfortune under these circumstances and/or put a family out on the street. Oh, critics will argue it's just business and sellers deserve what they get, even if it's five cents on the dollar. Others will feign compassion and trick themselves into believing they are "helping" the homeowners avoid further embarrassment, but deep inside yourself, you know that's not true.


Acceleration is a clause that is usually found in Sections 16, 17, or 18 of a typical mortgage in the US. Not all accelerations are the same for each mortgage, as it depends on the terms and conditions between lender and obligated mortgagor(s). When a term in the mortgage has been broken, the acceleration clause goes into effect. It can declare the entire payable debt to the lender if the borrower(s) were to transfer the title at a future date to a purchaser. The clause in the mortgage also instructs that a notice of acceleration must be served to the obligated mortgagor(s) who signed the Note. Each mortgage gives a time period for the debtor(s) to cure their loan. The most common time periods allot to debtor(s) is usually 30 days, but for commercial property it can be 10 days. The notice of acceleration is called a Demand and/or Breach Letter. In the letter it informs the Borrower(s) that they have 10 or 30 days from the date on the letter to reinstate their loan. Demand/Breach letters are sent out by Certified and Regular mail to all notable addresses of the Borrower(s). Also in the acceleration of the mortgage the lender must provide a payoff quote that is estimated 30 days from the date of the letter. This letter is called an FDCPA (Fair Debt Collections Practices Acts) letter and/or Initial Communication Letter. Once the Borrower(s) receives the two letters providing a time period to reinstate or pay off their loan the lender must wait until that time expires in to take further action. When the 10 or 30 days have passed that means that the acceleration has expired and the Lender can move forward with foreclosing on the property.

If a property fails to sell at a foreclosure auction or if it otherwise never went through one, lenders — often banks — typically take ownership of the property and may add it to an accumulated portfolio of foreclosed properties, also called real-estate owned (REO). Foreclosed properties are typically easily accessible on banks' websites. Such properties can be attractive to real estate investors because in some cases, banks sell them at a discount to their market value, which of course, in turn negatively affects the lender. (See more on this here: Buying a Foreclosed Home).
It’s critical to sign an agreement that is in your best short- and long-term interests. The rent-to-own option will cost more than a traditional home rental because there are other costs baked into the monthly amount. The good news is these “other costs” such as the initial option fee and monthly credit will go toward the final purchase price. Nevertheless, a rent-to-own contract should always include the length of the rent-to-own lease agreement (usually anywhere from 12­ to 70 months), the amount of initial option fee (usually 35 percent of final purchase price), the final purchase price at the end of the term, and the amount of the monthly payments that will go toward the purchase price. These figures are all negotiable.
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