The impact of foreclosure goes beyond just homeowners but also expands to towns and neighborhoods as a whole. Cities with high foreclosure rates often experience more crime and thefts with abandoned houses being broken into, garbage collecting on lawns, and an increase in prostitution.[36] Foreclosures also impact neighboring housing sales on two levels—space and time. For any given time frame, foreclosures have a greater negative impact when they are closer to the property attempting to be sold. The conventional view suggested is that the increase in foreclosures will cause declines in the sales value of neighboring properties, which, in turn, will lead to an extension of the housing crisis.[37] Another significant impact from increased foreclosure rates is on school mobility of children. In general, research suggests that switching schools is damaging for children, although this does significantly depend on the quality of the origin and destination schools. A study done in New York City revealed that students who changed schools most often entered a school with lower, on average, test scores and overall school performance. The effect of these moves on academic performance for individual students requires further research.[38] Foreclosures also have an emotional and physical effect on people. In one particular study of 250 recruited participants who had experienced foreclosure, 36.7% met screening criteria for major depression.[30]
Nevertheless, in an illiquid real estate market or if real estate prices drop, the property being foreclosed could be sold for less than the remaining balance on the primary mortgage loan, and there may be no insurance to cover the loss. In this case, the court overseeing the foreclosure process may enter a deficiency judgment against the mortgagor. Deficiency judgments can be used to place a lien on the borrower's other property that obligates the mortgagor to repay the difference. It gives lender a legal right to collect the remainder of debt out of mortgagor's other assets (if any).
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.
Our goal is to help you find the ideal rent to own home. To do that, we’ve had to experiment with a lot of crazy things to make that happen (thus our name!). We’re consistently trying new things, working with new partners, and overall, trying to make your search experience as seamless as possible. At the end of the day, we know how important it is to find the perfect home, and we’re excited to help you find it, and to help you through the entire process.
Watch out for lease-purchase contracts. With these, you could be legally obligated to buy the home at the end of the lease – whether you can afford to or not. To have the option to buy without the obligation, it needs to be a lease-option contract. Because legalese can be challenging to decipher, it’s always a good idea to review the contract with a qualified real estate attorney before signing anything, so you know your rights and exactly what you’re getting into.
In a rent-to-own agreement, you (as the buyer) pay the seller a one-time, usually nonrefundable, upfront fee called the option fee, option money or option consideration. This fee is what gives you the option to buy the house by some date in the future. The option fee is often negotiable, as there’s no standard rate. Still, the fee typically ranges between 2.5% and 7% of the purchase price.
Foreclosure by power of sale, also called nonjudicial foreclosure, and is authorized by many states if a power of sale clause is included in the mortgage or if a deed of trust with such a clause was used, instead of an actual mortgage. In some US states, like California and Texas, nearly all so-called mortgages are actually deeds of trust. This process involves the sale of the property by the mortgage holder without court supervision (as elaborated upon below). This process is generally much faster and cheaper than foreclosure by judicial sale. As in judicial sale, the mortgage holder and other lien holders are respectively first and second claimants to the proceeds from the sale.

It’s important to note that there are different types of rent-to-own contracts, with some being more consumer friendly and flexible than others. Lease-option contracts give you the right – but not the obligation – to buy the home when the lease expires. If you decide not to buy the property at the end of the lease, the option simply expires, and you can walk away without any obligation to continue paying rent or to buy.
Browse our extensive database of listings to find homes in your area. You can click on a listing to view more information about the listing as well as important neighborhood data, nearest schools and more. To access pricing information and to obtain the contact information of the owner, you can register for a trial membership. Our Trial Membership gives you access to many additional features, and we are always working on improving our listings data. You can cancel your membership at any time – simply contact us by email or phone for assistance, and we will be happy to help!
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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