In some US states, particularly those where only judicial foreclosure is available, the constitutional issue of due process has affected the ability of some lenders to foreclose. In Ohio, the US federal district court for the Northern District of Ohio has dismissed numerous foreclosure actions by lenders because of the inability of the alleged lender to prove that they are the real party in interest. The same happened in a Colorado district court case in June 2008.
Occasionally, borrowers have raised enough cash at the last minute (usually through desperate fire sales of other unencumbered assets) to offer good tender and have thereby preserved their rights to challenge the foreclosure process. Courts have been unsympathetic to attempts by such borrowers to recover fire sale losses from foreclosing lenders.
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.
Rent to own housing is a popular choice for home buyers who may not qualify for a traditional mortgage, or lack the funds needed for a large down payment the lenders require. Rent to own properties help to overcome these situations for those who are ready to commit to a purchase. Buying a rent to own home can provide an easier approach to purchasing a home because it starts with a familiar lease agreement. Buyers of rent to own homes will rent, or lease, the home for a designated period of time. The great benefit for renter-buyers is that over time, a portion of the monthly rent payments are applied toward the ultimate purchase of the home. Plus, the final purchase price is determined up front in a lease option agreement, so there is no risk that the purchase price will rise later.
Rent to own situations can be structured in two popular ways. One is the lease purchase. A lease purchase usually requires the tenant to commit to buy the home over an agreed to period of time. Terms can be quite flexible to suit the renter's needs. These terms include the time frame, the amount of rent applied to the rent to own purchase, and the price of the property. The second approach is called a lease option. In a lease option, many of the same terms apply as in a lease purchase. The difference is in the lease option, the tenant may not be required to purchase the home at the end of the option time period. However, in each case, the renter usually needs to put up a non-refundable option fee to initiate the rent to own contract.
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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.
For a developing country, there is a high rate of foreclosures in South Africa because of the privatisation of housing delivery.[neutrality is disputed] One of the biggest opponents of foreclosures is the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign which sees foreclosures as unconstitutional and a particular burden on vulnerable poor populations.[undue weight? – discuss]
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).
While rent-to-own agreements have traditionally been geared toward people who can’t qualify for conforming loans, there’s a second group of candidates who have been largely overlooked by the rent-to-own industry: people who can’t get mortgages in pricey, non-conforming loan markets. “In high-cost urban real estate markets, where jumbo [nonconforming] loans are the standard, there is a large demand for a better solution for financially viable, credit-worthy people who can’t get or don’t want a mortgage yet,” says Marjorie Scholtz, founder and CEO of Verbhouse, a San Francisco–based start-up that’s redefining the rent-to-own market.
Be sure that maintenance and repair requirements are clearly stated in the contract (ask your attorney to explain your responsibilities). Maintaining the property – e.g., mowing the lawn, raking the leaves and cleaning out the gutters – is very different from replacing a damaged roof or bringing the electric up to code. Whether you’ll be responsible for everything or just mowing the lawn, have the home inspected, order an appraisal and make sure the property taxes are up to date before signing anything.