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.
At HousingList we believe home-ownership should be accessible to everyone. We work to spread awareness around alternative, non-traditional routes to home-ownership such as rent-to-own and HUD properties. These alternative paths to owning a home can help people who don't have enough funds saved for today's rising down-payments, people who need to improve their credit scores, or any number of factors that prevent today's buyers from the dream of homeownership.
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).
For a developing country, there is a high rate of foreclosures in South Africa[citation needed] 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.[52][53][undue weight? – discuss]

Both mortgage (re)possession and foreclosure are quite similar, with the main differences being the treatment of any funds that exceed the amount borrowed and liability for any shortfall. In the case of mortgage possession or repossession, if the home is sold or auctioned for a price that exceeds the loan balance, those funds are returned to the consumer. If the proceeds from a mortgage possession are insufficient to cover the loan then the debtor remains liable for the balance, although in most cases this will become an unsecured debt and the mortgage company will be treated on an equitable basis with the debtor's other unsecured creditors (particularly if the debtor simultaneously or subsequently becomes bankrupt or enters into a voluntary arrangement with creditors). By contrast, in the case of foreclosure the mortgage company retains all rights to proceeds from a sale or auction but the debtor is not liable for any shortfall.
Several U.S. states, including California,[17] Georgia,[18] and Texas[19] impose a "tender" condition precedent upon borrowers seeking to challenge a wrongful foreclosure, which is rooted in the maxim of equity principle that "he who seeks equity must first do equity", as well as the common law rule that the party seeking rescission of a contract must first return all benefits received under the contract.
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.[22]
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).

Several U.S. states, including California,[17] Georgia,[18] and Texas[19] impose a "tender" condition precedent upon borrowers seeking to challenge a wrongful foreclosure, which is rooted in the maxim of equity principle that "he who seeks equity must first do equity", as well as the common law rule that the party seeking rescission of a contract must first return all benefits received under the contract.
In 2009, the United States Congress tried to rescue the economy with a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry; however, there was a growing consensus that the deepening collapse of the housing market was at the heart of the country’s acute economic downturn. After spending billions of dollars rescuing financial institutions only to see the economy spiral even deeper into crisis, both liberal and conservative economists and lawmakers pushed to redirect an economic stimulus bill to what they saw as the core problem: the housing market. But beneath the consensus over helping the housing market, there were huge differences over who should benefit under the competing plans. Democrats wanted to aim money directly at people in the greatest distress; and Republicans wanted to aim money at almost all homebuyers, on the theory that a rising tide would eventually lift all boats.[32]
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.[9] The same happened in a Colorado district court case in June 2008.[10][11]
Once you fully understand all the terms of the rent-to-own agreement -- and have had an attorney look it over and provide feedback -- it’s time to finalize the deal. Of course, signatures from both parties will be required at this time, as well as upfront payments such as the agreed-upon “option fee,” the monetary consideration that is necessary to make the rent-to-own contract binding.
×